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Sunday, March 06, 2005

Whatever Stew

Looking for a recipe? Go away. This isn't a recipe but a description of a process and some ingredients. If your OCD is outa control and you absolutely have to have a recipe for Whatever Stew, go away. I wanted to make some stew. Here's what I had. Some leftover dregs of a moderately good chili. I'd already gotten all the solids (whatever beans and meat were left) out of the bottom of a pot of chili and made burritos. Since it'd been a "wetter" pot of chili than usual, I was left with a buncha juices. Beef, bean and even pork (from the beans which were leftover pintos cooked with ham hocks) juices with delicious Anaheim chili and cummin and all the other good chili stuff. I also had plenty of garlic, onion, celery, canned (diced) tomato, red potatoes and other odds and ends. I dug some frozen "Italian" meatballs outa the freezer, cos I wanted at least a little meat in it and I didn't have any roast beef handy--well, I had a little left over from chili makings, but not enough. See how this is shaping up? 5-6 medium potatoes chopped into big pieces. Half a yellow onion (it was left over from garnishes to a couple of different meals, slices for hamburgers, etc.). One large clove of garlic. Rabbit trail: One of the times when I'll abandon mincing garlic with my chef's knife is when I'm making stew. A garlic press really "juices" the thing nicely, really bombing the stew with LOADS of garlic flavor. Nice. Carrots? Chunk 'em in. LOTS of chopped celery. No, more than that. No, use more. :-) All that other stuff mentioned above. Just dump it in and add water to where you'll have enough. How much? Don't ask me; this is NOT a recipe; it's a process. Rest of the process? Oh, brought it to boil in an 8-quart "waterless" pot. Turned the burner down to "it this thing still on?" and let it stay warm for a couple of hours. Went back and added a can of whole green beans I'd noticed sitting all on its lonesome in the pantry. Cranked in a little freshly-ground pepper. Black and pink. (The pink is halfway between green and black in "ripeness" and has a kinda flowery overtone. Nice.) Don't ask me how much pepper. It's not a recipe; it's a process. (Actually, if you have to ask how much pepper, just use more. You'll grow to love it. Or not.) I guess that's it. I suppose I ought to pop some corn muffins in the oven or dump the fixings for a loaf of wheat bread in the bread machine, now. I've already tasted this rendition of Whatever Stew and it passes muster. Yum.