Dark Days Week 4: Christmas Kale and Sweet Potato Stew
Merry Christmas! It is 6:31 a.m. and I’m the only one awake (at least when I started this…it’s almost 9 now and presents are opened.). Every year I think I’ll sleep in, especially when we don’t have the kids with us. Every year I’m awake at 5:30. Nothing beats Christmas morning! (new slippers and a ruby ring. nice.) While I’m waiting for Rick to wake up to open presents, I thought I’d get a start on my Dark Days Week 4 challenge post. This week I went old school and made stew.
While stews are many people’s go-to recipes, I really don’t make them all that often. Usually when I set out to make a stew, I start with the recipe. I’ll look through all my gazillion cookbooks and favorite food blogs to find flavor combinations that sound good. And that method works.
But I had a pound of venison stew meat that needed cooking. So off I went to MOM’s in search of local winter vegetables. I ended up also going to Harris Teeter, which often has a good selection local produce. At both, I also attempted to find some local grains, but had no luck. Hopefully after the holidays I’ll have time to search around more for the local non-produce items.
Here’s what I ended up with for local stew ingredients:
- Kale (PA)
- Sweet potatoes (PA)
- Onion (PA)
- Mushrooms (baby bella, oyster, and shitake) (PA)
- Purple Dragon Carrot (unknown, but labeled local…but I ended up not putting it in the stew)
- Radish (my garden)
- Venison (VA)
- Venison stock (VA)
With that combination of ingredients, I thought a spice blend of cumin, coriander and pepper would be nice…subtle, but just a hint of something. Here is the recipe I devised. It turned out beautifully. As I thought, the cumin and coriander added a tiny kick, but it’s very subtle. The flavors of the kale, sweet potato and venison shine and compliment each other. The radish adds a little surprise kick and the mushrooms provide some texture and earthy flavor. I initially put too much kale in it, and ended up taking about half of it out of the slow cooker. I did not buy new spices for this, but those are the only non-local and/or non-organic ingredients.
Recipe: Kale and Sweet Potato Stew
Summary: a hearty winter vegetable stew, great with venison or beef.
- 1 Tbs butter (local)
- 1 lb venison or beef stew meat
- fresh ground pepper to taste
- 1 medium onion
- 1 cup organic red wine
- 2 sweet potatoes, chopped
- 2 cups pumpkin puree
- 5 radishes
- 2 cups chopped kale
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1/4 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
- 1 TBS kosher salt
- 2-3 cups venison stock
- 4 oz mushrooms blend
- Pull out the slow cooker for this one.
- Cube the stew meat. Dry the meat with a paper towel and pepper generously with freshly ground pepper.
- Melt a tablespoon of butter in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the venison and brown on each side. Remove the meat to the slow cooker.
- Chop the onion coarsely. Add it to the skillet, scraping up the browned meat pieces while you sauté the onions. Saute until tender.
- Add the wine to the onions and let the alcohol cook off and the liquid reduce a bit (one to two minutes). Add the onions to the slow cooker.
- Peel the sweet potatoes and chop them into chunks. Remove the kale from the stems and tear leaves into bite sized pieces.
- Layer the sweet potatoes, pumpkin, radish and kale in the slow cooker. Add the spices and the venison stock. Don’t stir.
- Cover and cook on high for an hour.
- Reduce to low and add the mushrooms. Cook for a few more hours, until the potatoes are fork tender.
Preparation time: 25 minute(s)
Cooking time: 3 hour(s)
Number of servings (yield): 8
Copyright © Susan Rose.