Monday, March 21, 2011

J'aime la Nourriture: Red Cabbage and Yam Stew

Something I really admire on other blogs are cooking features and since I am a fan of cooking, eating and have this pseudo-french theme thing going on, I figure why not run with it to excess and label my cooking series "J'aime la Nourriture" (I Love Food). So here we go, I Love Food: Red Cabbage and Yam Stew.

You guys, this stew. Mon fucking Dieu, this stew! It is tasty, healthy, mostly seasonal and not particularly challenging. I am so glad it made enough for plenty of leftovers, for reeeeeal.

Ingredients (in order of use):
All ingredients are very loosely measured because YOU CAN'T CAGE ME IN. Also, I believe cooking should be somewhat free-wheelin' slap-dash-y fun. Aaaand I don't have measuring cups besides a big glass one for liquid. So yeah.

1 healthy pour of olive oil
4 garlic cloves (smooshed/sliced)
1 red onion (chopped coarsely)
1 leek (sliced)
As many pinches of salt as needed
2 medium sized yams cubed (think bite size)
Dash of caraway seeds
Healthy dash of paprika
3 cups broth* (any kind will do, but I suggest veggie. More on this below)
2-3 bay leaves
Healthy dash of sage
Dash of red pepper flakes
2 cups water
1 can of diced tomatoes
1/2 head red cabbage (very coarsely chopped)
1 can of kidney beans

Scoop of light sour cream
Sprinkling of finely diced italian parsley
Sprinkling of ground flaxseed

Here is how it goes down:

Chop garlic, onion, leek, and yams.
Get yourself a large stock pot and put it on a medium/medium-high flame. Pour in olive oil and heat. Toss in garlic, leeks and onion. They should sizzle a bit and start smelling like you are an awesome chef immediately. Salt this awesomeness. (Basically salt every ingredient as you put it in to pull out flavor and juices. Seriously, SALT IT. It will seem like too much. It is not.) Stir it around for a couple of minutes. Add chopped yams. Again with the sizzle, but slightly less this time. Stir to coat with oil and the other stuff. Keep an eye on it and adjust the flame as needed. The goal is to get a little color on the bottom of the pot and let the veggies pick up some of this along with flavor. You do not want to burn them, because, eww burnt garlic is all kinds of funky. The yams should be cooked for 3-5 minutes, but let the color be your guide.

Stir in caraway seeds and paprika and let them coat the ingredients. Add stock. *Okay, so I used two kinds of stock that I had leftover. About 1 1/2 cups turkey stock that I had frozen and needed to use and 2 (ish) cups compost veggie stock I made this last weekend with beets, leeks, carrots, cabbage and few other things. Here is a basic recipe if you are interested in making it at home. Toss in the sage, bay leaves and red pepper flakes. Pour in some water to make sure you have lots of liquid as well as the can of tomatoes (with juices). Stir this up and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and set the timer for 20-25 minutes. Again, use the food as your guide instead of the clock if you can. When the yams start to get soft you are ready for your next step.

(Here it is without water and tomatoes)

(Here are the kidney beans [rinsed] and cabbage ready to dive in.)

Add cabbage and kidney beans and let these cook with the rest for 10-15 minutes. Really this time depends on how cooked you want your cabbage. I like mine with a little crunch left to them as well as good color, but there really is no bad way to finish the stew up at this point. Once you have reached the right amount of cooked through, be sure to taste the broth to check on salt and pepper levels. Adjust as you like. Top with garnish and serve with toasted rye bread or faux-crostinis (baked rye bread [sliced into 2 inch pieces] with olive oil, paprika, and garlic. Highly advisable). Finally, look awesome in your thrift store scored vintage apron and get ready to eat such a tasty meal.