Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Dark Days Week 14: Italian Stew (or, What to do When Rice is Not Local)

I consider recipes for ideas, but pressed towards the suppertime rush, I was just planning to make my Dark Days meal by the recipe and shamefacedly apologize for the rice in it. (Unfortunately, I still need to confess that I used a non-local onion: I have looked hard, but there are no more root-cellared onions and I haven't figured out a reasonable substitute. But next year? I'm going to buy a truckload when they're in season and freeze their butts. Yes, I am irritated.)

But I got an idea: I cooked and chilled polenta (or mush, as my forebears called it) and broke it into squares to replace the 3 cups of cooked rice in the Bounty Rice from Simply in Season.

Here's the recipe as I made it. Everything is local and organic except for the dried herbs and (drat it) that onion; well, the cornmeal wasn't organic, just local.

Italian Stew

Brown together in a large pot or Dutch oven:
a few slices bacon, chopped
1/2 lb. ground beef
1-2 onions, chopped

Add and stir. Get it hot.
4 c. canned tomatoes and their juice (break 'em up with your hands if you want)
several teaspoons Italian herbs - I used basil, oregano, marjoram
something hot, if you wish (I used red pepper flakes)
salt and pepper to taste

Stir in gently:
4 c. shredded cabbage
3 c. cooked, chilled polenta in 2" pieces

Allow to cook together for a few minutes, so that cabbage is still crisp tender. Some of the polenta will dissolve, but some will be lumpish.
Stir in, again gently:
1/2 c. plain yogurt

Sprinkle top with 1 c. grated cheese (I used a local raw milk smoked cheddar) or sprinkle individual servings. This will be rather soupy after all.


We really liked the stew. My almost-2 year old had three helpings! We ate ours with a green salad of watercress, arugula, butter lettuce, and shredded turnip topped with homemade French. This is standard to our table right now because the greens are so available. I think the Italian stew would be nice with a hearty bread too, to dab up the juices.


Janelle said...

Posted at 4:09 am? Really?? Dark days indeed!

Margo said...

ha - no, I posted at 7am before the house was awake. I haven't paid any attention to the blogspot time stamp!

Beth said...

Enjoying the recipes. Just read your Sabbath post from early January. I've been trying to do the same over the past year...have a super-easy or leftovers meal on Sunday, so there's little or no work...and we do nap, rest, read, etc, too!

I'm interested in the Lentil Curry recipe from your last post...any way for me to get that without causing you extra work? We have a curry lentil recipe I kind of made up, but I'm curious how yours looks. We love curry and the lentils are so good for us!

Shasta said...

You're still inspiring me in the taste department. I should come over for a week's worth of lessons, don't you think? The salad sounds yummy and I rarely branch out of the Romaine, red/green leaf section.

Margo said...

Beth, I updated the post with the curry recipe. Enjoy!

Saska said...

Hi--found you thru another site where you asked about a shiny pan...how to clean it. If you'll email me, I'll tell you how to make it look like new!