Friday, October 22, 2010

Slow Cooker Veggie Stew

You know what the ultimate problem with my mad-scientist cooking ways is? I just can't seem to leave well enough alone. Many a dish has been saved from the brink of disaster with a timely addition, only to be sent screeching over the precipice and through the ground like Wile-E Coyote because I decided that if one thing made it taste good, it would taste even better with two things!

Also, I can never quite seem to make a proper chicken soup. When my mum can manage something in the kitchen that I can't, it's pretty galling.

So I was supposed to be making chicken stew for tonight, but when all the chicken was still perched merrily in the freezer this afternoon, I realised that the chicken component might have to come from the broth only. Technically, I've been saving up chicken & turkey bones that I guess I could've used to make it extra chickeny, but that's still not going to satisfy the carnivore in me is it? So I locked away said carnivore even deeper while ignoring the moans of neglect, and pulled some pintos out of the freezer.

I really need to get veggie broth soon.

Slow-Cooker Vegetable Stew

1 potato, minced (I was too lazy to dice it so I gave it a whirl in the food processor)
1 onion, minced (ditto)
1 softening pear, thrown in halfway because I forgot I needed to get rid of it
1c prepared pinto beans
1/2 can kernel corn (will probably make creamed corn in the micro with the other half)
1/2c frozen peas
enough chicken broth to make the veggies' eyeteeth start floating a few inches
1/2T thyme (maybe this is why my chicken soups are always so herby)
couple shakes of paprika
1 bay leaf
1 peppercorn (just cause I felt like it)
pepper to taste

Bastardised roux:
2T margarine
1T peanut butter
3T flour

And then the remedial ingredients, added after to taste (probably better to add 1T of each beforehand, then more later to taste):
red pepper flakes
chilli oil
soy sauce
lemon juice - if all else fails, just add more of this

I may be forgetting one or two of them.

1. Throw everything but the peas in the slow cooker on High for 3h, after which point add the peas and let it cook another hour.
2. In the meantime, start making the roux (here is where I started experimenting) of sorts, melting the margarine & peanut butter together in the microwave - ~45s - then whisking in the flour. At this point I stuck it back to microwave, but that was a bad idea since it turned into a paste. Oh well, it worked out eventually.
3. Add the roux to the stew and mix it all up. Add anything else that is desperately needed.

And there you go, another explanation of the twists and turns of my cooking. One thing I liked was that the stew worked out nicely according to the Canada Food Guide, getting in protein, fruit & vegetables, and grain (the corn). I'm hoping the stew gets thick enough to slather on toast. I may stick it on a pita, grate on some cheese, and do a pizza-type thing with my many leftovers.

Wow, I'm on the biggest lemon kick lately. I think it's because tomato's fortunes have been falling lately with me - either that or the soon-to-be 3 weeks without groceries has me hoarding canned goods. So my sour tastebuds have been feeling a little deprived. Time to make some lemonade.

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