Thursday, June 14, 2007
3 meals for the price of 1
I love stew. It's freezing outside, and perfect "stay inside in your jammies with a hot bowl of stew" weather. Having said that, I don't think that you should nevessarily let the weather dictate your food. I recall eating choucroute garnie (i.e. a massive, steaming plate of meat and sauerkraut), many types of goulash, and all sorts of weather-inappropriate cuisine in the height of a European summer, and loved it. Perhaps I'm just crazy for this type of food.
The stew pictured above was my first attempt from Jamie Oliver's book, Cook with Jamie. At first I hesitated buying the book, fearing that it might be a little basic, (not to mention the cover picture, which almost completely put me off - I mean, why would you choose a picture of a knife near your back for a cover?), but I was wrong. There are many very tempting recipes in there, and solid advice on how to shop wisely, how to set up your kitchen and so on. I was especially attracted to all the stew recipes, many of which are scattered not only throughout the meat section, but also the pasta section. So stew lovers, keep your eyes peeled!
Ok, back to the stew. I made "the best stew" from the Pasta chapter. (Jamie actually makes it with potato and rocket pasta cushions, but I didn't. Too much effort!) It was a pretty simple stew - it just involves browning stewing meat in a pan, then adding vegetables and herbs and letting them soften, followed by flour, wine and tomatoes. As usual, I didn't have any suitable cooking wine, so poured in half a bottle of old and flat prosecco from Christmas. Surprisingly, it was still good. Then the stew just bubbles and simmers away for a few hours until the meat is all tender and melty, and all the flavours have mingled together. As you can see in the first photo, we had it with rice, some roasted pumpkin, and a bean salad. Very, very tasty.
Of course, there was leftover stew. And as much as I love reheated stew, the next night I thought I'd try something a bit different - Jamie's "leftover stew risotto"! It's in the risotto chapter of Cook with Jamie. It's an ordinary risotto, with your leftover stew stirred in with the rice at the start. It was even better than the original stew!
Funnily enough, there was leftover leftover stew risotto. I took a tip from Nigel Slater's The Kitchen Diaries for lunch the next day, and made the remaining risotto into little balls, put a piece of cheese inside them and fried them up. They were a delicious accompaniment to Dr. Phil
Now all I need is a recipe for leftover risotto cakes...