Friday, February 10, 2012

~Winter Braised in Wine

Last weekend I picked up an order from a co-op operated by local farms.  Between what I got in my basket of vegetables and what I'd picked up at my own local grocery store, I found myself with a plethora of veggies and looking for something exquisite to turn them into.

Now I like minestrone soup as much as the next guy; well, actually I like it more than anyone else in my family.  So I went looking for ideas online for something else to make out of my mountain of produce, stumbling upon a blog with a moniker that sounds like it was affectionately dubbed by Winnie the Pooh - Yummly (for my tummly.)

Any of you listen to Lynn Rosetto Kasper (what a musical name) of The Splendid Table fame on NPR?  Her very voice is deliciousness as she describes a homely crock of bubbling beans stewing in a liquor of fragrant garlicky broth.  See what she can do with beans?  I listen with delight as callers prevail upon her for help with what's in their pantry and fridge; she gives them instructions on how to transform those staples into succulent success as though she was dispersing from the pages of some ancient tome of culinary secrets.  Think of Yummly as your own Lynn Rosetto Kasper.  I typed in the challenge of my two oddest vegetables to see if Yummly was up to the test - bok choy and fennel - and up popped a recipe for a beautiful winter soup. Amazingly, the only thing that I had to run to the store for was red wine.  Ran out to pick up a bottle of The Dreaming Tree* and a couple of baguettes while my girls stayed home to keep up the chopping prep, made a quick turn around, and we set to it, cooking up a ponderous pot of satisfying pastiche.

Can you sing, "Yummly!"

Of course, their recipe was my jumping off point and I made my own twists here and there.  Here's how you can create exactly what we enjoyed tonight:

Ingredients and Directions:

2 Ts coconut oil
2 generous Ts chili paste with fermented soy beans
1 T minced ginger
12 cloves of garlic, minced
1 red onion, 1 white onion, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, diced

Heat the oil to med high in your cauldron of choice, then drop in the rest and cook for about 10 minutes.  Then...

4 chopped carrots
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 head of fennel, cored and thickly sliced
12 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 bay leaves
Generous pinch of thyme
1/2 cup of soy sauce
1 cup of sake
1/3 bottle of red wine
3 cups of water and 2 Ts beef broth paste, stirred well

Add the rest of the vegetables, season, and deglaze with the wines and soy sauce.

3 sweet potatoes, chopped into bite-sized pieces
4 red potatoes, chopped fine into the same size pieces
2 cans of drained chickpeas
4 cups of homemade chicken broth
1 head of bok choy with its leaves, sliced thickly (set aside)

Add all the rest and bring to a boil, turn down to a nice simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, about an hour or so.  During last 10 minutes of cooking, toss in the bok choy and stir.  Check for flavor.  Splash in a little more soy sauce or salt if needed, but our's was absolutely perfect.  With the coming drop in temperatures expected this weekend, my family will be happy to dish up large steamy bowls brimming with color, health, and invigoration.  Come on over, there's plenty to share!

*Normally, I'm not a big fan of red wine, but had a glass while dinner was simmering and it was really quite nice, I could actually taste the raspberries. ;D

Linked with We Are That Family and Simple Lives Thursday

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