These days, my criteria for choosing a recipe is way different from what it used to be. For starters, after 30 years of feeding one's family, one is bound to get better at recognizing those recipes they are most likely to enjoy. My own personal preference is for something that is not necessarily fast to prepare, but it should be simple - not requiring me to do three things at once. I should be able to make it using the staples from my larder and a few fresh ingredients obtained from local growers and producers. It should be flexible, adaptable. For instance, it should work for a variety of stone fruits or for assorted root vegetables, not just one in particular, and if it can help me use up my dribs and drabs, and keep me from wasting food, so much the better. It should feed me more than once, and, above all else, it must be delicious. I am no longer willing to settle for "ok". This recipe was all those things and more. Best of all, it helped me use up some of the turnips I got from Bountiful Sprout this week, and a lone sweet potato I found lurking in the pantry.

Riff-Raff Stew
from The Real Food Revival, by Sherri Brooks Vinton and Ann Clark Espuelas
(serves four or more, depending on what you throw in)

  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 bunch greens such as kale, collard, chard, or spinach, roughly chopped (optional)
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme, or 1 T. fresh, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • One 28-oz can peeled whole tomatoes, crushed
  • 1 qt. chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 2 cups assorted root vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, or turnips, peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes
  • Rind from a wedge of Parmesan cheese (at least 2 - 3 inches long)
  • 2 to 3 cups assorted vegetable drawer riff-raff (such as a handful of green beans, a sweet pepper, a wedge of cabbage, corn from the cob), cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 cups white beans or garbanzo beans, preferably slow-cooked, or 2 cups leftover cooked small pasta (optional)
  • 2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, along with 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper, and saute' until translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and saute' until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the greens, if using, and saute' until wilted. Stir in the thyme and bay leaf, then add the tomatoes and simmer until slightly thickened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the chicken stock, root vegetables, and cheese rind and simmer until the vegetables are almost tender, about 15 minutes. Add the riff-raff and simmer another 10 minutes, or until the root veggies are very tender. Add the beans or pasta, if using, and heat through. Salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into serving bowls and sprinkle with grated Parmesan.
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Reviewed by juragan asem
Published :
Rating : 4.5