Baby, You Got a Stew!

The title of this post is inspired by a quote from the show Arrested Development. I will be forever depressed that the show got taken off the air, but ce la vie, at least I have all the seasons on DVD.

Since I am still sick, Matt and I decided that a nice hearty stew would be fantastic for my stuffy nose and sore throat. We decided to jam pack it with loads of veggies so I could get all my vitamins and mineral that are essential for good health.

Let the games begin!

Rather than do a typical broth based stew we wanted to incorporate something a bit different, condensed tomato soup to the rescue! We apparently had nothing but time because this stew took a long time to make, keep in mind though we spiced up almost every individual ingredient ourselves before putting it in the stew. You could shorten this recipe by omitting some of the components or just adding seasoning to the stew itself. Or if you have a bigger kitchen with more burners this would go much quicker! It’s up to you!

First things first, get your stew base heating up in a pot with enough room left for all your ingredients.

Sometimes, tomato soup can err on the tin side, so we thought making our own creamy tomato soup would be wonderful.

CAUTION: YOU CANNOT JUST ADD MILK OR CREAM TO THE SOUP. IT MAY CURDLE OR NOT COMBINE PROPERLY.

You must make a roux, like I did in the mac ‘n’ cheese. Using equal parts butter and flour again. Melt the butter first and mix it with the flour.

I used a pint of cream, so I combined 6 Tablespoons of butter and flour together and then added 1/4 cup of cream at a time until it was thick and creamy.

Make sure your soup base is warm, not boiling and then slowly add it in. Your soup should lighten by 2-3 shades.

On to the vegetables!

We used my new grill pan to roast the red bell peppers. I cut the bell peppers in half and removed the seeds and stems, like so.

Then I sliced them into fairly chunky long strips. Put a little bit of Extra Virgin Olive Oil on your grill. If you don’t have a grill use a skillet or even try putting them on a baking sheet and put them in the oven @ 200 degrees until they start to get a bit charred.

Turn on the heat and wait for the sizzle!

There is something about seeing grill marks that looks so professional, don’t you think?

Over on the other side of the stove, Matt was working on the potato and onion mixture. He thought it would be really flavorful to first make home style potatoes then add those to the stew. It really added a lot!

He started by cutting the potato into small square pieces (leaving the skin on for extra nutrients and flavor).

He placed them in a skillet and added some water to soften them up and then just a touch of canola oil.

He let them cook for a little while until they were a bit soft then he strained the water out

Next he grabbed about half of the spices off my shelf and started spicing the potatoes up

This is where you have a lot of free range. Your flavor combination is all up to you. Matt wanted these flavor packed with a bit of heat so he used: Black Pepper, Cayenne Pepper (really good for alleviating a stuffy nose), Parsley flakes, Curry Powder, Oregano, Ground Cumin (his favorite), Basil, Sage leaves, and a Roasted Garlic and Bell Pepper Seasoning Blend.

After that he chopped up some onion to add to the taters. Look at that technique!

Then he tossed them in into the pan

It made everything a little easier with two people because it allowed us to each work on individual ingredients. So back on my side of the counter (while I was still watching my peppers grillin, keep the heat at medium/medium-low) I set to work on my carrots.

After a quick peel, I started to grate the carrots. I wanted to do this to add a variety of textures to the stew.

Add these babies to the stew base!

At this point remove your roasted peppers and cut them into smaller pieces and add them in.

Next, I cut up some celery. Trim the ends and make sure to rinse! Then cut them into bite size pieces, thick enough to still have crunch but thin enough to cook all the way through then add them to the stew.

For the sake of time, we cheated a bit and used both corn and green beans from the can.

Just add these straight to the stew.

Make sure to still keep an eye on your potatoes, don’t fully cook them because they will continue to soften and cook in the stew!

Since your grill is now free its time to add the asparagus! Wait for them to get the awesome grill marks, turning them a few times. Don’t leave them on too long cause their texture isn’t so great when they are over cooked.

Jump back over to Matt’s side of the counter. We wanted to add tons of garlic because of its strong flavor so rather than sauté the minced garlic he added it raw to the stew.

Take your asparagus off the grill and chop! I used tongs to hold them still while I cut because they were so hot.

Last to add: your potatoes

So colorful! Bring it up to a boil – don’t put the lid on –  and let your flavors blend together for a few minutes…depending on how hungry you are!

Sprinkle a little grated Mozzarella on top and Baby, you got a stew!

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