The art of cooking.

As some of you know, I like to cook.  To be honest, actually, I love to cook.  I just don’t do it nearly as often as I should.  When I went shopping with my friend, though, I picked up some fun stuff to make a stew with.  I decided last night to put it all in the crock pot.  Now, I don’t measure things for a stew, but here goes at an approximation of my recipe:

Ingredients:

Around one cup red lentils  (a handful and a half or so)

Around one cup yellow split peas (a large handful)

About 2.5 cups tongue of fire beans (Soak overnight plus half a day, changing water once or twice if desired; if not available, any red, yellow, or white bean will work.  I don’t recommend black beans as they tend to turn light-colored stews a not-so-pretty color.)

Finely sliced leek to taste (about a cup for me, but I love the taste)

Two links Meyer’s Elgin sausage, sliced and quartered (Sadly, the first time I have had this central Texas specialty, although I know they ship in the US: http://cuetopiatexas.com/shoppingcart/products/Texas-Sausage.html Otherwise, any garlic sausage should substitute)

Some baby carrots (About a third of a 1 lb bag I had laying around, but you could omit or add more.)

Between 4 and 6 cups chicken broth (The more you add the thinner it will be; if you  like a good thick pea soup, I suggest leaning toward the 4-5 cup end.)

All seasonings are to taste as I really don’t measure those, but I will try to give an approximation.

1 teaspoon and a half chipotle red pepper

1 tablespoon whole Mediterranean Oregano ground between your palms (regular oregano should do?)

2 teaspoons ground savory

1 large bay leaf [Edit: take out after cooking. Do not eat!]

Throw all of that in a crock pot for 10-12 hours on low.  I used a 3 quart crockpot.  If using a 5 quart crockpot, use approximately 1.5 times the ingredients.  I only stirred twice, once about 1.5-2 hours into the cooking, then again about 6 hours in, but this is not required.  Crockpots work better when you leave the lid on the whole time, but I would lean toward 10 hours if you do.

Turn the crockpot to low and take the lid off, stirring.  There’s a separation, but when you stir, you will see the thickening and the two layers merge. [You could probably skim some of the fat off before stirring, but I left mine in because I know a lot of the flavor is in the fat.]  If serving immediately, you could probably add a half cup heavy cream at this point if you wanted to make it creamier, but I didn’t.

If you want it to be an all-day treat, turn the cooker down to warm, leaving the lid off for 30-45 minutes to help it cool, then stir well and put the lid on.  Eat as desired.  I don’t recommend adding cream if you are going to do this).  I should think that this would do well garnished with a dollop of Greek yogurt or sour cream if you have them.  It does have a small bit of heat from the chipotle chili pepper, but adding the yogurt would solve that if you thought it too hot.  It is more of an after burn than hot.

Because the ingredients are available year-round, I should think this would make a great stew for the fall and winter, or a thinner soup in the spring.  The thicker you want it, lessen the broth and increase the split peas.

I have no idea how many this serves, although I think my crockpot usually gives out 4-5 large bowls of anything.

So that’s my info for the day.  There are many things that you can do with this recipe, including ignoring it completely.  😉  For those that want to try it, please remember that none of these measurements are exact as I tend to toss in what sounds good rather than measure.  Well, except the sausage, but they are small, fat links.

There is an art to cooking, and all of us do it a bit differently.  When I bake, I tend to measure.  When I am cooking dinner/lunch, I am not as exact.  If I am trying a new recipe, I might try to stay near the original measurements and ingredients, but have been known to make substitutions right out of the gate.  Soups and stews tend to be a “what do I have in the fridge and pantry?” type of thing, although I did buy the ingredients for this on purpose because I thought they would be complementary.

I used yellow split peas and red lentils on purpose.  For whatever reason, I don’t like the look or taste of green peas, although the yellow ones don’t bother me.  My stew came out a pretty light brown color, but you may like green peas.  If so, I would suggest regular lentils to stay in the same family of colors, but that is just me.

When you are single, it’s hard to enjoy cooking.  At least it is for me.  Part of my enjoyment in cooking is seeing what others think of what I made.  Even if I make a complete bomb, it’s a lot of fun.  This time, the joy is in the experimentation itself.  I have never worked with the beans, lentils, or split peas I used, although I have had the yellow peas and regular lentils.  The beans are apparently heirloom beans that were available at our local Whole Foods.

Well, I am going to go enjoy my stew!

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~ by theartistryofthebipolarbrain on April 21, 2012.

7 Responses to “The art of cooking.”

  1. Sounds good. That is just the kind of hearty food you need to get your immune system back up. I used to love to cook back when I was married and also when I was dating. Me and a girl would get together and cook together or for one another. I always feelt like I was the better cook lol. But after the kids moved away and I haven’t been social in a long time. I just don’t do it. I hate the clean up lol.

    • It came out wonderfully! I hate the clean up as well, but I need to eat better and save money. 🙂 I agree that cooking with/for someone else is a much more enjoyable experience.

      • Im glad you will be enjoying a great healthy meal. I care enough about our blogger friendship to want you to stay healthy and good to come your way hugs!

  2. That sounds delish. Now I’m hungry!

  3. Great Recipe.

    LAC

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