There is nothing that satisfies me like a bowl of hearty, rich stew on a cool, drizzly Fall evening. Or a freezing winter one for that matter– This concoction that I came up with hits the spot in every possible way. It has a rich, flavorful broth, tons of harvest root vegetables, savory beans, and unbelievably tender chunks of meat. And on top of it all, thanks to the magic attributes of the crock pot (which I didn’t even want to register for, but Nick insisted) it takes about 5.5 minutes to prepare.
This hasn’t been the easiest of weeks, thanks to days on end of rain, and dreary, chilly mornings. When the sun doesn’t come out, and the clouds threaten to break open at any moment, its hard to be cheerful…Its a lucky thing that I work with 36 wonderful children every week, because its hard to stay blue when I see their smiling faces, and hear them laughing over some ridiculous story I made up about cheerful C major and his dreary cousin A minor. Anyway. Today, after a long day, I came home to a quiet house (minus my dog who was racked with guilt because she had been sleeping on our couch which is strictly forbidden) since my husband is in class late tonight. I helped myself to a warm bowl of this stew, read my book, listened to Mumford and Sons’ new album, sipped a rum and spiced cider, and fixed the hole in Nicks dress pants. At the same time. Just kidding. But anyway. The night wasn’t all that bad.
So. If you’re craving some healthy, homey comfort food, read on.
To start with, you’ll need about four small turnips, three small potato’s, one sweet potato, one onion, one large carrot, and three cloves of garlic. Chop the roots veggies thick, and the onion and garlic slim. Put them all in your crockpot or your dutch oven.
Next, boil a quarter cup of fresh kidney beans. If you don’t have the time, or don’t have them on hand, canned ones will do in which case you’ll want an 8 0z can of them.
While the beans boil, pour two 32 oz containers of beef broth over the veggies in the crockpot. I used Trader Joe’s variety which is SO DELICIOUS and organic to boot. Sprinkle in a half teaspoon each of sage, thyme, rosemary, and herbs de provence (or oregano if you don’t have any). Put in a whole teaspoon of salt, because beans need salt.
Add a half teaspoon of black pepper and three crumbled up pepperoncino’s…or a quarter teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes.
Then, the most luxurious part of all. Nick bought two chunks of Pork Butt from Becky and Phil at Brandmoore Farm in Rollinsford, NH. They just slaughtered a pig, so we nabbed up some of the fresh meat. Of course, you don’t have to use pork butt. a sliced up thick cut pork chop will do too. Pork butt is exceptionally tender and flavorful though, so if you can get your hands on it, do.
Slice up the meat into bite sized chunks and throw it in the pot along with the bones of the butt/chops you used.
Then put the crock pot on high and let it cook for about eight hours. When you get home from a long days work, dish up a bowl of it and sprinkle some Swiss cheese on top. Then pretend that you live in 1875 in a cabin and that you just made it over a fire. With the bear meat your husband brought home.
1 medium sized onion
3 cloves garlic
1 medium sized sweet potato
3 small russet potatos
4 small turnips
1 large carrot
2 32 oz containers of beef broth
1/2 teaspoon each: rosemary, sage, thyme, herbs de provence
1 teaspoon: sea salt
3 pepperoncino’s crushed
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 lb Pork Butt or Pork Chop
Slice onions and flatten garlic. Chop up vegetables into bite size pieces. Place in pot and cover with beef broth and spices. Add in pork pieces and cook on high in crock pot for at least 6 hours. And Dig In!
Finally, just to bring a smile to our humpday Almost-Maybe-Done-With-The-Work-Week faces…has anything EVER been as adorable as my darling nephew in his dapper Sailor duds? I think the answer is…no.