March 6, 2011
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Stew, in my opinion, should not only taste good but look good as well. The choice of ingredients should encompass a range of compatible colors as well as flavors. And, of course, they should add up to a nutritionally balanced meal. This simple stew, loosely based on a Portuguese classic, meets all those criteria. You might notice that this dish is similar to a Portuguese chourico stew that I posted a while back. That is no accident because I used that recipe as a starting point. But in my quest to increase the ratio of vegetables to meat in my meals I have halved the amount of sausage and added carrots. The result is every bit as tasty and better for you and for the environment.
- Olive oil
- 1 ounce pancetta or bacon, coarsely chopped, optional
- 4 ounces chorizo or chourico, sliced into ¼-inch rounds
- 1 carrot, about 4 ounces, cut into ¼-inch rounds,
- 3 small onions, about 4 ounces, peeled and sliced into ¼-inch round
- 3 or 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 Tbsp. dry sherry, optional
- 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes (I had about ½ a can and that worked fine as well)
- 4 ounces frozen French-cut green beans
- 3 small potatoes, about ½ pound, scrubbed and cut into ¼-inch half moons
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. pimentón or paprika
- A good grind of black pepper
- 1 cup water
- 1 bay leaf
Film a suitable lidded pot (I use my trusty 3-quart enameled Dutch oven) with a bit of olive oil and, over medium-high heat, render the pancetta until brown and crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon, leaving as much fat behind as possible, and set aside.
Add the chorizo to the pot and brown well on both sides. Remove and set aside. Pour off any excess fat.
Reduce the heat to medium and put the carrots and onions into the pot. Sweat gently until the onions just begin to color, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two. Pour in the sherry and deglaze the pan. Add the tomatoes, green beans, and potatoes then return the meats to the pot. Season with the salt, pimentón, and black pepper then add the water and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes. Uncover, raise the heat a bit, and cook for another 5 minutes to concentrate the broth.