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Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Tale of Two Stews



Yeah, I know it's not Winter - I like stews throughout the year because for me, throwing several really good ingredients in to a pot, stirring it all up and simmering it down is magic.  The smells that waft through the kitchen are amazing and watching the bubbling little concoctions evolve in to something that is so much more than the sum of its parts is where it's at.  One last thing is that I can always throw some in the canner and have some rockin' stuff to eat when it is Winter again.  First one is kind of like a thin oyster chowder som'n erother.  
Ingredients:
How ever many live oysters you feel like shuckin' - I used 12 and wished I'd had a lot more cause they were small - you could use canned oysters
1 cup raw milk
2 cups water
1 cup fresh okra (or frozen) chopped
1 medium yellow onion diced
2 medium red potatoes cubed
Salt
Cayenne pepper
About 10 shrimp frozen thawed or fresh peeled and deveined
Off the cob fresh corn - about 2 ears or half a can 
4 stalks celery chopped to suit your own liking
Preparation:
OK, this is enough stuff to make a small pot of stew enough for two people to eat on for a couple of meals.  Get a stock pot and put your milk, water, potatoes, onion, okra, corn, and celery in and get the heat going medium to high.  While this is heatin' up chop your oysters and shrimp or leave 'em whole - whatever.  As the mixture comes to a low boil give it a stir and turn it down to simmer.  While it's simmering season it with a little salt and cayenne if you like - take some time to maybe try out some other spices. I kept this one simple.  Give the stew some time to simmer down and lose some of that water, stirring often.  When the potatoes are soft and you've got a really low simmer goin' on, throw those oysters and shrimp in until the shrimp turn pink and you've got stew number one - let it simmer for an hour or so and you've got super stew number one - put it in a glass container and in the fridge for a day and you've got the ultimate stew number one - I am so corny it is painful - let's move on to stew two after a nice pic of the first.




I won't say that this one is way different than the first one as far as ingredients go anyway, but the taste is way different.  This second stew is a sort of real comforting and thick type of stew with a critical last step big event that I'll keep you on the edge of your seat for the rest of this post and you'll be biting your fingernails and...OK that was stupid, the last step is just to add about 2 tbsp butter and stir it in to the simmering pot which just sets this stuff up and gives it some sort of special powers I think...anyway...
Ingredients:
10 shrimp frozen thawed or fresh peeled and deveined
1/4 cup dry white Basmati rice
2 cloves chopped garlic
2 small to medium red potatoes cubed or diced
2 medium carrots diced
1/2 yellow or white onion chopped
2 stalks celery chopped
3-4 cups mixed baby greens or spinach whole (fresh)
2.5 cups water
2 tbsp butter 
Preparation:
Throw in the rice, taters, carrots, onion, celery, greens, garlic, and water in a small stock pot, give it all a good stir, throw on the lid and get the heat going medium to high.  Remember, there is rice in there so get it on up to boil.  While that is gettin' up to temp make sure your shrimp are prepped and ready, and have 2 tbsp butter on hand gettin' soft on the table top, but make sure that no one...or no dog sneaks by and grabs the fresh butter off the counter and swallows it down because I myself have been known to devour straight up butter and 2 tbsp ain't nothin'.  Some people tell me their dogs eat butter but I wouldn't know anything about that....OK, so when the stuff gets up to boil turn it down to low, get it all mixed up, season it with a little salt - maybe some oregano which I did and found it was a very nice addition, and put the lid back on and leave it alone for a little while.  Once the rice gets finished and the taters are soft, lay the shrimp in and put the lid back on.  When the shrimp are pink, you can pinch them and if they don't wake up then they are done...no that's another thing - if you pinch them and they are slightly firm but not rubbery then they're perfect and now for the BIG EVENT!!!  Put the butter in and stir until it is all melted throughout - make sure you have enough salt and there you have stew 2!!




The Basmati rice sort of disintegrates in to little pearls on this one which gives the whole thing a really cool texture, and who can resist the taste of Basmati rice and shrimp anyway?  Not me. Please check out my facebook albums for current pics of the garden - there is a lot going on this Summer and Fall and hopefully I can get some good recipes going that include everything I grow. Enjoy!!


As always, gluten free

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