Monday, February 04, 2013

winter vegetables

yes, i know you are all asking the question "how can i cook more like flask?"

because flask is an awesome cook.

anyway, yesterday i made a thing that is delicious and filing and lovely to look at and oh, so nutritious, so of course you will want some.

i got my first slow cooker recently, so i'm learning how to use it. this represents a bit of a challenge for me, because when i'm thinking about making dinner it is not usually eleven in the morning.

so it's a discipline.

i had a bunch of things in my fridge that i wanted to use up and i thought a little winter vegetable stew would be just the thing.

so here is how you make it:

take inventory of the things you have to use up. in my house that was half a butternut squash, some spinach, some cabbage, two carrots, two parsnips, and a sweet potato. i also wanted to use up potatoes and onions because while they keep a while, they don't keep forever and i try to use what i have.

toas a tablespoon or so of olive oil (or whatever) into a pan and hot it up. drop your cut up onions (i used one large one) in there and cook them down until they;re translucent and maybe browning just a little at the edges. make a space in the middle of that and toss your spices in. stir it around and coat the onions with that mixture. cook it for a minute or two until the spices smell nice and fragrant.

just in case you're curious, i used some red curry power, a pinch of garam masala, some smoked paprika, a little allspice, some ground black pepper, some cayenne pepper, and a wad of minced garlic. it's not an authentic any national cuisine, but that's what struck my fancy at the moment.

use some wine or vegetable stock or even water to deglaze the pan so you get all the flavors out of there and dump all that in the slow cooker.

then add around a quart of vegetable stock (really any kind of stock will do, but i use my own vegetable stock which is cheap and delicious) and toss in the toughest of the vegetables in the kind of sized chunks you would like to eat.

in my house on this day, i knew the parsnips were going to take by far the longest to cook, so i put them in the pot a full forty minutes ahead of everything else.

after a while toss in the next hardest of the vegetables. carrots and then maybe twenty minutes later put in the sweet potato and potato.

toss in a can of beans if you feel like it. i waffled over this for a while but in the end i decided to put in a can of black beans. if you are using both beans and tomatoes, though, save the tomatoes until later because tomatoes will stiffen those beans right up.

let it cook a while - an hour or so? because you're cooking that stuff for four honkin' hours, maybe five and there aren't any real critical values here- and then add the cut up squash and cabbage. squash doesn't take nearly as long to cook as parsnip, so you'll want to put it in relatively late so it doesn't get all mushy.

all along the way (every hour or so) you may wish to stir and adjust seasonings. i did. i added a tablespoon or so of miso (umami and salt), a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste (umami and sweet), and some umeboshi (umami, salt, sour).

cook it until the vegetables are tender.

the spinach gets added gently just at the end, and cooked down until it just wilts.

then you toss it into bowls and eat it.

it's good.

1 comment:

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

the best thing about winter is soups!!


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