10 Mar 2011

Farmer's Stew

My Farmer's Stew is something designed to be healthy, hearty, and downright delicious! This requires a large saucepan, and if you're skiddish about things overflowing then by all means use a LARGE stock pot. Ok so what do you do to make this extremely hearty dish? Thought you would never ask!

This is a time investment meal but its worth it! About 20-30 min prep (depends on how fast you can peel and chop) and about 1 hour cooking.

First you will need what I call 3 preparation bowls (soup bowls work).
Please note that "chopped" means semi-uniformly pieces, but to be honest it doesn't need to be perfect. This is a rustic stew.

Into bowl 1 put:
1 1/2-2 leeks chopped roughly
3 scallions chopped
1 red onion chopped

Into bowl 2 (in this order):
1 bell pepper chopped
1 head of garlic chopped finely
A handful of fresh green beans chopped into 1/4in pieces
A carton (yes a whole one) of chestnut mushrooms chopped

Into bowl 3:
4-5 small potatoes chopped slightly larger and rinsed in cold water

Have off to the side these ingredients:
1/4 lb (125g) of mince meat (this is optional, if you're a vegetarian take out the meat).
Cream cheese (vegans please leave out this as well)
1 veggie bouillon cube
Onion soup (I use Lipton's but since that is not available in the UK, generic onion soup is fine).

Rissotto rice (or any rice/pasta, you're only putting a little bit in. You can even leave it out.)
1 can butter beans
1 can corn

Seasoning (these will be put in all together):
2tsp Red pepper powder
1tbs Garlic granules
1tsp Ground black pepper (I used a grinder but normal pepper will work)
2tbs Worcestershire Sauce (This contains fish but can be left out if it doesn't fit your dietary restrictions)
1tsp each Dried herbs (I like basil and oregano and mixed herbs)
Of course all seasonings are to taste.

Now here is the preparation for the cooking. If you have your three bowls at the ready it makes life go a lot faster:

  1. Spray the pan with oil (I use sunflower seed oil) about 1tsp of oil will do.
  2. On high warm up the oil for about 2 minutes
  3. Put Bowl 1 into the pot and stir constantly for about 5 min. The point is to get the onion and leek slightly warmed.
  4. Put in the meat and everything under the seasoning heading above.
  5. Stir constantly until meat is browned, about 4-5 minutes.
  6. Now you should have some nice liquid in the bottom. Put in the mushrooms only from Bowl 2 (why you needed to put them in order). You don't have to put all the mushrooms in at this time just most of them.
  7. Stir until mushrooms shrink slightly, about 4-5 minutes.
  8. Put in the rest of Bowl 2. Stir and let bubble for about 2-5 minutes, until there is liquid about 1/4 the way up the veggies. Stir when you think is needed but don't over stir.
  9. Now add Bowl 3 to the top of the veggies. Let sit for a few minutes while you prepare the stock.
  10. In a measuring cup, put in the veggie cube and about 1tbs of onion soup. Pour in hot or boiling water to fill the measuring cup (2 cups or 500mL at most). Let sit.
  11. Stir the pot so the potatoes are evenly mixed through. Add corn. Let bubble for 2-5 minutes again stirring when needed.
  12. Now give the stock mixture a stir and put it in the pot. Now put more hot water into the measuring cup, swish it around (so put about 1/4 cup about 75mL in the measuring cup) and then put that into the pot. This is the reason there is no added salt in the recipe.
  13. On medium heat let the pot simmer, uncovered for about 15-20 minutes.
  14. Add risotto (as much or as little as you like), cook for about 10 more minutes.
  15. Add butter beans, about 2 tbs of honey and 1 tsp of vanilla. I know this is a hard thing to get your head around but the honey and vanilla truly makes the soup. Stir and cook for another 10-12 min until the rice is ready.
  16. Drain off the liquid. Enjoy with a bit of cream cheese mixed in.
This makes 8 servings! For vegetarians it is 4 servings, due to the nutritional needs of the dietary choices.

So what does it look like?

That would be a vegetarian sized portion. And the cream cheese is at the bottom
of the bowl and hasn't been mixed yet.
So yummy.

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