Tag Archives: stew

Peruvian chicken chili with peanuts (aji de gallina): $2.60/serving

It’s been hot lately. Like, triple-digit hot. Which, for someone who’s almost seven months pregnant and doesn’t have air conditioning, means suddenly entering a special circle of hell. A place where every appendage on your body feels like it weighs 3,000 pounds and sweat comes out of places you didn’t even know had sweat glands. Some nights I admit I didn’t cook at all; others I simply threw a banana, some ice and frozen berries, and some yogurt into a blender and called it a day. This is also one of the only meals I’ve made lately that isn’t something I’ve already posted on the blog. It’s quite similar to one of my favorite weeknight dishes of all time, pozole verde, but with a sweet-and-umami kick from peanuts and Parmesan cheese. It’s a great way to use up inexpensive cuts of chicken—just grind them up in the food processor.

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Curried root vegetable stew with currant dumplings: $1.17/serving

To be honest, the only reason I even wanted to try this stew was because, unlike the similar root vegetable cobbler I made back in November, it called for my three favorite root vegetables of all time: sweet potatoes, parsnips, and celery root. Unfortunately, momentary amnesia precluded me from remembering where we shop, because of course our grocery store doesn’t have celery root. Did you know this very store that I complain about at least once a week was actually featured a few years back in a somewhat famous photograph, held up across the Internet as an example of All That Is Wrong With This Country? What it lacks in things like porcini, mint (seriously, this store DOES NOT EVEN CARRY MINT), and celery root, it makes up for in six different kinds of Cheez-Its and half an aisle devoted to artificially flavored pudding. So, in a moment of duress and frustration, I grabbed a rutabaga.

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Carolina pork, apple & sweet potato stew: $1.29/serving

As a big pork-and-fruit fan, I’d been eyeing this recipe in James Villas’ Pig: King of the Southern Table for quite some time. We had a few packages of $1.69/lb. boneless country-style pork ribs left over from a long-ago stock-up trip to Costco, so I knew it was only a matter of time before it made it into the rotation. Now that it’s been snowing for a couple days (I’d include a picture, but today is the only day it seems to be sticking, and so far it’s a relatively un-dramatic dusting), I can’t hold off any longer. A stew was pretty much the only thing that sounded appealing, let alone a stew with pork, apples, AND sweet potatoes, which tastes even better than it sounds. (Don’t be alarmed if it looks soupy in the picture; the liquid is easily adjustable.)

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Two-potato vindaloo: $1.91/serving

Traditional versions of this aromatic Indian stew typically include meat, but this vegetarian interpretation is so flavorful and satisfying I guarantee you won’t be left wanting. It’s a bit time-consuming to make, even by my infamously impractical standards, but oh so worth it on a cold January night. Skip the yogurt condiment and it’s vegan and gluten-free, perfect for a mixed-crowd dinner party or potluck.

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Flemish beef & beer stew: $2.23/serving

I admit I haven’t always been a fan of beef stew. It’s always seemed a little bland and greasy, full of extraneous vegetables that are either overcooked or undercooked and served with some kind of boring, regimented starch like egg noodles or mashed potatoes. But yet, I like the idea of beef stew, especially on nights like tonight, with temperatures in the 20s and a hearty dose of Portland’s renowned bone-chilling dampness.

This has been my go-to beef stew recipe for a few years now; I think the original version came out of Mark Peel’s “New Classic Family Dinners” (at least, its Flemish identification did), but even if that were the case I’ve tweaked it enough that Peel himself probably wouldn’t recognize it.

If caramelized onions layered with beef and bacon, cooked in dark beer until falling-apart tender and topped with a crusty layer of Dijon-slathered country bread doesn’t sound good to you, we will never be friends.

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Malaysian beef curry: $2.11/serving

A word of warning: This dish (adapted from one in Bon Appetit) calls for a slow-cooker. Normally, I’m not a slow-cooker kinda gal. I bought a cheap-ish one a couple years ago to keep mashed potatoes warm during the frantic, stove-cluttering prep of Thanksgiving, and I’ll occasionally use it for stock if I’m in a hurry, but otherwise I find it pretty useless.

Back in Ye Olden Days of slow-cookers you could throw some stuff in the pot before you left for work, turn it to low, come home, and, eight or nine hours later, the original contents would be perfectly cooked. With my slow-cooker, the contents are boiling—BOILING!—within about three or four hours on low. An Internet search confirmed this is an extremely common problem, as most slow-cookers nowadays—if not all—aren’t really “slow” cookers at all thanks to FDA intervention over potentially unsafe food temperatures. It pretty much defeats the purpose of using one at all, especially for anything more delicate than huge chunks of beef. Thankfully, this dish involves huge chunks of beef, but the cooker still had to be plugged in at noon and unplugged promptly at 5 pm.

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Pozole verde: $1.35/serving

You know what I feel like doing when I get home from work and it’s dark and cold and the cats are hungry and I still have a pile of emails to return? Relaxing in front of the TV with a glass of wine Grinding my own chicken meat!*

Doing things you would not at this very moment like to be doing is a principal tenet of the $35-a-week philosophy, but like most of life’s unpleasantries, the idea of doing it is much worse than the actual doing. Once you’ve convinced yourself it’s a non-negotiable issue, it’s just a matter of putting one foot in front of the other. And I guarantee you that sitting down with a bowl of this warming, flavor-packed stew for less than the price of a 20-ounce soda is enough to make you forget the paltry 30 minutes you would have otherwise spent checking Facebook while watching a rerun of Cops. (Oh, you wouldn’t do this? What if it was one of the old ones, where the perps are always driving Oldsmobile Cutlasses and the cops look like they’re wearing Reno 911 costumes from the Halloween Express clearance bin? No?)

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