HEARTWARMING GOOD VEGGIE STEW

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It’s been pretty cold around here, and hot soup seemed to be just the right thing to have for dinner. I started pulling out frozen vegetables, dehydrated vegetables and fresh dug carrots from the garden. All of the vegetables that I used came from our garden this past summer. I am very grateful to have such an abundant garden and the ability to preserve the bounty. There is something very enriching about working with the soil and knowing that we are connected to the earth through our food.

There isn’t any real recipe to this stew. It’s just a mixture of vegetables that I have found seem to go together in a very tasty way. It takes about 2 1/2 hours to get this stew prepared and cooked down so that it is rich and thick. It’s a fun soup to put together.

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Here’s the combination that I used the other day. Don’t be concerned about amounts. Just add the vegetables either according to what you have on hand or what you like the best. The Okra acts as a nice thickener.

#1. FROZEN BLACK-EYED PEAS

You can easily substitute dry black-eyed peas that have been soaked over night. Lentils and garbanzo beans are also very good. I usually use them in a combination of the two.  I do not soak them. The lentils and garbanzos cook up really well in about the time it takes to finish the soup.

#2. FROZEN SWEET PEPPERS: A combination of red and green sweet peppers

#3. DEHYDRATED TOMATOES, ONIONS, OKRA , and GARLIC

You can substitute with canned tomatoes, fresh onions, and frozen okra and fresh garlic

#4. FRESH CARROTS

Ours are really fresh. I just dug them this past week. They are so sweet that the stew has a slight sweet taste to it, almost as if I added sugar.

#5. DEHYDRATED ANAHEIM CHILI for a little bit of kick or a few drops of a favorite hot sauce, such as Tabasco.

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Place all of the vegetables into a pot and cover with cold water. It’s very pretty before it all starts to cook.

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Just starting to cook.

NOW ADD YOUR SPICES:

I use a basic combination of Indian spices: Cumin seed, Coriander Seed, Mustard Seed and Cardamon Seed and sea salt. I toast all of the seeds in a little screened toaster pan and then I hand grind them in a mortar. A dedicated coffee grinder also works real well.

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I also add a good quantity of powdered Turmeric, at least 2 TBL. 

A Curry Powder can be an easy substitute in place of  using a variety of spices. There are a wide variety of them available, in bulk,  at our local Good Foods Co-op. They are all different and wonderful.

I also added a good dollop of my favorite, and gluten-free, Worcestershire Sauce.  I have made stews that were seasoned only with the sauce, lots of garlic and hot sauce. It all seems to work .

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Let the stew simmer until all the vegetables are cooked and it is getting thick. This takes about 2 hours, if there are dry beans in the stew and/or dehydrated vegetables. As with many stews, this one is really good the next day.

ABOUT VEGETABLE SUBSTITUTIONS OR ADDITIONS:

Other vegetables that I think would be good in this stew are:

Corn

Potatoes

Cabbage or Kale

I would not add in the following either because they are too delicate in flavor or too strong in flavor:

Green peas- They are too delicate in flavor and texture.

Turnips could overwhelm this combination

Beets need a soup of their own.

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All of that said,one of the joys of cooking is experimenting and discovering what you really like.

Have fun with this easy and delicious stew.

COOKING with JOY and a SENSE OF ADVENTURE,

KAREN

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COMING ATTRACTIONS: BEAN FLOUR PANCAKES ( Dosa Pudas) to go with the STEW

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