I have been tremendously negligent in my farm share use lately. First, I was on the other side of the country. Then I had friends visiting and we didn’t cook much. That meant that several weeks of vegetables piled up. I am making strides to cook and use the veg but there is still more. Thankfully, here in New England we’re moving into the season of vegetables that will keep for longer periods of time. I am thankful for this.
I’ve also been keeping an eye out for recipes I can use with what I have. The other day, while reading my blogs, I read through Smitten Kitchen’s recipe for pancetta, white bean and Swiss chard pot pies. I had most of the ingredients in my fridge from recent farm shares. And really, by most of the ingredients, I mean that I had Swiss chard and quasi-adequate substitutions.
I had normal carrots, but what’s the fun in that? Instead, I used these lovely purple carrots, and one orange carrot.
And instead of an onion, I used a leek and a handful of scallions. I had normal celery, so that went into the pot as well.
Doesn’t that have lovely color? I sauteed for a bit in EVOO and then added the colored stems from the Swiss chard.
Yeah! Now it is even more colorful! Really colorful, in fact! Look at all those reds and purples! I let things get a bit tender and and bright and then move on to making the sauce. Now, the original Smitten Kitchen recipe is for individual pot pies. I figured that I’d soupify this by reducing the roux into a stew (Restaurant name! Roux to Stew! Serving only pot pies and soups! Coming soon to the metro-Boston area!) and not making the pastry topping.
So I melted 2x the amount of butter called for in the recipe in another pan and began to whisk in the flour. I added flour and whisked and repeated this process for about six tablespoons of flour. And whisked, and whisked, and whisked.
Really, it was quite thick. It was thicker than gravy, more like pudding. Unfortunately, I wasn’t going for either gravy or pudding. So I began to dilute with stock. The first couple cups didn’t seem to do much; the roux would get chunky but then stay pretty thick, just with a larger volume. But the more stock I added, the thinner the roux got. In total, I added about six cups of stock and the stew is still pretty thick. But that’s good.
Then I stirred in the vegetable mixture. And the stew promptly turned a lovely maroon. Those purple carrots were to blame. And because I didn’t have any white beans on hand, I added black beans. Which made the soup even darker.
After a night in the fridge, some of the color from the carrots turned patches of stew even brighter maroon. They say brightly (and naturally) colored food is good for you, right? Guess we’ll see if that’s true!