Sunday, July 17, 2011

Recipe - Veggie Stew

I came up with this recipe by complete accident to be honest. I was attempting to make a Minestrone soup but well it went terribly perfectly wrong. It ended up being a big pot of veggies and pasta with some liquid left over but not so much so to end up calling it soup. I have found this stew to be one of my most turned to comfort foods when the weather is cold, wet or just plain crap, yesterday would have been the perfect day for it except that I already have too much food in the house and no idea how/when I'm gonna do with it. Sprinkle some of your favourite cheese over your bowl and mmmm perfect. It's so hot when it's done being made and stays hot for a long time too that the cheese just melts so perfectly over the top. I can't wait for it to become weather again that I can make this! I tend to use some of the same veggies as I loved it so much this way but truthfully, use what you like! I can't see that if one loves the taste of bell peppers, why it wouldn't work or if you like to use peas (I suggest frozen in this case if you do though)... or corn... I could go on! Heck if you wanted to, add some ground meat to it (brown the meat first). It's all up to you, this is just the basic recipe as far as I'm concerned.

One note, in the photos, I've used canned kidney beans, normally when I have more time and haven't made this as a need something pampering, hot and quick but have planned it out I'd much rather use the non-salted dried version. If you use the dry version either you'll have to cook the beans before adding or let them soak over night in water.

Main Dish
 2 or 3 small to medium zucchini (cut length wise in half and then sliced about 1/2 inch thick)
 2 or 3 medium to large carrots (peeled, halved and sliced about 1/4th inch thick)
 250grams (8 to 10oz) snap pea pods (ends snipped and cut into about 1/2 inch pieces)
 250grams (8 to 10oz) package mushrooms (washed and cut into 1/2inch pieces)
 250grams (8oz) package dried gluten free macaroni pasta
 16 oz can diced tomatoes with juice
 2 chicken bouillon cubes
 2 16 oz can diced tomatoes with juice
 2 cans kidney beans (drained & rinsed)
 2 to 4 TBS dried basil, oregano and garlic powder (adjust according to your tastes)
 Your favourite shredded cheese

This is one of those 'couldn't be easier to make' dishes. Simply start out with a large non-stick soup pot over a medium to high heat. Coat the bottom with olive oil, toss in the zucchini and carrots. Let fry for a few moments to start to softening.

Toss in the snap peas, mushrooms and kidney beans.

Pour in the large cans of diced tomatoes along with their juice, add the bouillon cubes and then fill the pot until about a 1/4th from the top with water. The photos I took later on of this recipe was made using a no-salt added version of diced tomatoes that I found later on and they are in a box rather then can.

Add the seasoning but do NOT add any more salt! This is not the time to taste this for salt as it's not even close to being cooked and with all the canned items you just added along with the bouillon cubes, trust me, it won't need more salt.

Give this mixture a good stir. Cover, reduce heat to low (so it still simmers and slightly boils) and let cook until you have the desired softness to your veggies. Remember to stir every so often as well to keep it from sticking to the bottom. And yes I actually keep huge containers of a few dried herbs in my kitchen. They are stock items for me.

At this point you can do 2 things in terms of the pasta addition. You can prepare the pasta as par the directions in another pot or do as I do, about half way into the simmer process, just dump the pasta in and let the juice/water of the veggie mix cook the pasta. This works best to be honest but also will work better with macaroni pasta. If you use something like spirals, cook them first and add after. Macaroni for some reason just holds up better to being boiled to death then other shapes.

Tada... dish done. Ladle into bowls, sprinkle with your favourite cheese, find a good movie, grab a blankie and enjoy! (will get more photos when I make this again myself)

Editors Addition September 9th, 2011
Made this again not too long ago and got some great photos... have removed the 2 old ones and replaced them with my new ones. ENJOY!

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