Stewing through July

One of the best things about winter is the unapologetic decadence of the many stews we indulge in. We need some reward for enduring the icy winds, and a little extra padding can’t hurt either. That being said, our recipe below is a slightly healthier, albeit still delicious, option to try.

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Cabbage

Before harvesting your cabbage you should decide if you want them to re-grow next season or not. Leave the roots in the ground if you do and pull the whole plant out if you don’t. Harvest your cabbage when they feel solid or firm all the way through, but make sure you do it before they crack or split open.

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Rosemary

As long as you’ve got rosemary growing, you can harvest it by stripping needles off the stem while it’s still on the plant and then chopping them up. A really neat trick for off-season times is to dry and then freeze your rosemary sprigs. Anytime you need some, just pull out a whole sprig, slide your finger down the stem, taking off as many needles as you need, and then pop the rest back in the freezer. How handy!

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Majorcan-Style Vegetable & Bread Stew

(www.epicurious.com)

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 6 cups coarsely chopped green cabbage (about 1/2 large head)
  • 1 1/2 cups small cauliflower florets (about 1/4 small head)
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 3 x 420ml cans vegetable stock or low-salt chicken stock
  • 1 cup fresh spinach leaves, roughly chopped
  • 8 slices country-style wheat bread
  • Oil-cured black olives
  • Sliced radish

Preparation:

  • Heat two of the tablespoons of oil in a large, heavy, ovenproof pot over a high heat.
  • Add the onion, bell pepper and garlic. Sauté for about 7 minutes, until golden and beginning to soften.
  • Stir in the cabbage and cauliflower. Sauté for a further 5 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes, parsley, thyme and rosemary. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Add paprika and stir for 30 seconds.
  • Add the stock and bring it to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
  • Stir in the spinach. Simmer uncovered for 3 minutes.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper. This dish can be prepared one day ahead. To do so, cool slightly, refrigerate until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated. Bring to a simmer before continuing.
  • Preheat oven to 230°C.
  • Immerse four slices of bread in the stew.
  • Put the remaining four slices on top of the stew and submerge them by pressing down.
  • Drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of oil.
  • Bake uncovered for 10 minutes.
  • Serve stew from the pot and use the olives and sliced radishes as garnish.
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