The Art Of The Stew

stewWinter time is stew season around here.  Stew is actually one of my favorite meals, along with sandwiches and salads, I could eat only that stuff all of the time and be perfectly satisfied, I’m a low maintenance kind of gal 🙂  Today I am going to tell you how I make three of my most favorite stews!

 

First is what I call “Mexican Chicken Stew”

To begin I put a big dutch oven on the stove and heat it on med.-high heat.  I add a bit of fat to the pot, preferably bacon grease or rendered chicken fat but in a pinch I’ll use butter.  And to that I had chopped peppers and onions and minced garlic (in winter when I don’t have access to fresh veggies from the garden, I will use frozen peppers and onions from the store).

I let that saute for about 5 minutes, until it’s mostly cooked through, and then I’ll add in chopped already cooked chicken meat, usually leftovers from a roast chicken from our flock.  I stir fry that a bit and let the chicken soak up all the yummy flavors and get a bit crispified.

Then I add 1-2 cans of corn and 1-2 cans diced fire roasted tomatoes, juices and all.  I say 1-2 cans because it really depends on how big of a pot of soup I am making.

I stir that around a bit and then add a few handfuls of already cooked brown rice.  (Each week I make up a BIG POT of brown rice, cooked using homemade broth, and store it in the fridge to be used for quick stews like this or for stir-fries or for making fried rice or rice “side dishes” like a creamy rice using our goat’s milk and fresh peas, fava beans, or lima beans from the garden).

Then I pour in a good amount of homemade broth, preferably chicken but venison is fine too, until all the ingredients are just barely covered.  I bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat to a strong simmer and let it cook for about 10-20 minutes, adding more broth if necessary.

When it is done, I then taste it and adjust the flavorings.  Adding unrefined grey sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste, maybe a dash of mesquite smoke flavoring, a pinch of cumin, a couple of pinches of homemade homegrown chili powder, and LOTS of chopped fresh cilantro from the garden, and if it seems to need a bit of sweetness I’ll add a squirt of raw agave nectar.

I stir that all up and then serve it up in bowls and top it with a bit of sour cream and set out homemade homegrown dried hot pepper flakes or homemade homegrown hot sauce for those of us who like things on the spicy side.  Sometimes I also top with a bit of crushed up tortilla chips.

The next recipe is “Venison Stew”

For this stew, I begin by sauteing chopped onions, garlic, celery and carrots (and sometimes mushrooms too) in a bit of bacon grease on med.-high heat until it starts to cook through.

Then I add in a bunch of chopped venison meat, if it’s raw then I stir fry all of this until the venison is cooked to about medium rare…if the venison is already cooked then I just saute until it’s heated through and has soaked up all the yummy bacon fat.

I then turn the heat to low and let all the veggies and venison simmer together a bit while I chop up the potatoes, which I add to the pot.

Then I pour in a hefty amount of venison broth, add a couple of bay leaves, and about 1 cup of red wine, and bring it all to a boil and then turn down the heat to a simmer and let it cook for about an hour.

After the soup is done I remove the bay leaves and then season to taste with unrefined grey sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and lots of chopped fresh parsley from the garden.

Finally there is “Creamy Potato Stew”

I usually like to make this with potatoes from the garden that have grown deformed or imperfect in some way or that have gotten a bit old and past their prime.

In my big pot, I saute chopped onions, celery, carrots, and garlic in 5 tbsp. of butter on med.-high heat.  When everything is most of the way cooked through I then add 4 tbsp. of flour and stir everything around a bit until all of the butter is absorbed by the flour.  About 2 minutes cooking time.

I then add about 1 1/2 cups of homemade chicken broth, 1 1/2 cups of our homegrown goat’s milk, and 3-4 medium potatoes (skin on) thinly sliced into 1/4 in. slices.

I stir that all up and then add the seasonings.  We’re talking about just veggies for this soup so it needs LOTS of flavor!  I add a couple of dashes of worcestershire sauce, about a tsp. of mustard powder, a pinch of ground allspice, about a tsp. of celery seeds, lots of chopped fresh lemon thyme from the garden, a glug or two of white wine, a pinch of homemade homegrown smoked paprika powder, and of course, unrefined grey sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

I then allow to simmer on med.-low heat until the stew thickens and the potatoes are cooked through and falling apart, making sure to stir frequently because this stew likes to burn if left to it’s own devices for too long!  It only takes about a 1/2 hour till the soup is cooked through though.  Sometimes it’ll get too thick, then I just add more milk to thin it out a bit.

I then serve it up in bowls and garnish with lots of fresh chopped parsley from the garden.

And since, these stews obviously use A LOT of broth, here is the link to my post about how I make broth:

The Beauty Of Broth  😀

2 thoughts on “The Art Of The Stew

  1. Both are super easy!
    For sauce, just take a bunch of hot peppers, chop them up, put them in a pot, add enough white vinegar just to cover and simmer till peppers are soft and falling apart (watch out! it lets off toxic steam) let cool and sit like this in a jar on the counter or in the fridge for a couple of weeks, then strain out the peppers, add salt if you’d like, and bottle the sauce.
    For flakes, chop peppers coarsely and dry the out in a dehydrator, then grind in a spice mill or by hand in a mortar and pestle till the “flakes” are the size that you desire.

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