This week’s recipe is a little different. It’s not for a specific dish, but rather a basic lesson on how to use extra veggies from the pantry and fridge to make a tasty stew. This recipe is very flexible, and you can use it to cook up some extra veggies that might otherwise go to compost. Thanks to customer Rebecca N. for suggesting this idea.
Basics for the stock:
Bones from whole chicken (broken up if possible)
1 bunch carrots cubed (1 inch pieces)
4 medium potatoes cubed (1 inch pieces)
1 stalk of celery (the whole thing, not just one piece of it)
2 medium onions diced
2 leeks diced
32 oz. veggie broth
2 cups barley
2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 fennel root diced (1/2 inch pieces)
*you can add any veggies you have lying around to bolster your stew. Any root veggie or winter squash will make a great addition and if you want to add greens (kale recommended) add it about 15 minutes before serving.
The basis of any great stew is the stock. If you decide to roast a chicken or have a bunch of bones left over from a rack of ribs, definitely make stock for a stew. You can freeze it for later or make a delicious, nutritious stew to keep in the fridge and eat throughout the week!
To make the stock, break up left over bones and place in large pot (breaking the bones is not required, but it will help extract nutrients and flavor). Cover with water and bring to a boil. After water begins to boil, turn heat down to low and leave for 4-12 hours to extract the nutrients and flavor from the bones (a minimum for 4 hours for chicken and a minimum of 6 for larger bones). Keep heat at the lowest possible setting and cover pot, the longer it cooks the better. About 1-2 hours before you will want to eat, strain the broth to remove bones and add about 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Chop all veggies and add barley, onion, leek, and bay leaves and pour additional veggie broth over ingredients. Bring stew back to a higher heat and let simmer for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes add potato, carrots, fennel, and cayenne. Let simmer for additional 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a warm baguette or corn bread. Enjoy!