May 15, 2008

Hammy English Winter Vegetable Stew with Ale and Stilton

This is part of my experiment with incredibly non-vegan foods. Since itâs non-vegan and non-non-alcoholic, itâs of no use to most of the people I know. But nevertheless, I invented it a few weeks ago as I was wandering around Eastern Market in a torrential rainstorm, and I want the internet to recognize that I am a genius when it comes to warm and comforting fat and booze.

Hammy English Winter Vegetable Stew with Ale and Stilton

 lb. disturbingly named âham endsâ (can also use hocks, other cheap ham pieces designed for stewpot)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
2 small or 1 large carrot(s), diced
2 parsnips, peeled and diced
5-6 small red potatoes, diced
4-5 cups vegetable stock
 - 1 cup ale (any kind, not too dark, not flat)
 head cabbage, cored, rinsed & chopped
 cup Stilton or other blue cheese, crumbled
Butter/olive oil, for sautÃing
 c dry elbow macaroni
1 c frozen lima beans, carefully inspected
Thyme, dried or fresh
Dill, dried or fresh
MAYBE salt, but not until very end when youâve tasted the stew with everything else added!

Sautà garlic and onion in olive oil and/or butter until just fragrant and soft, stirring to make sure garlic doesnât burn. Add ham pieces and stir. Itâs easiest if your ham ends, hocks, or whatever are in big chunks at this point. At any rate, stir them in for a minute or two until fragrant, and just searing on the outside. Add diced celery, carrot, parsnip, and potatoes and stir to coat in oil/butter for a minute or two.

Add your veg stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer, add ale, and simmer 40 minutes or so until the ham is tender. Pull the ham chunks out of the pot, get the meat off the bone, dice, and return to pot.

Add cabbage and simmer 10 minutes.

Add lima beans, elbow macaroni, and 2 sprigs each thyme and dill, if using fresh; otherwise, a pinch or two each of dried or to taste. Cook a further 10 minutes or until macaroni are cooked.

Last thing: Add crumbled Stilton and stir in. Remove from heat and check seasonings. I found that between my vegetable stock, which had salt in it, and the salty ham, and the salty Stilton, I didnât need any additional salt. And I like salt. So make sure you check your seasonings after adding the cheese and before auto-salting. Also, depending on how much you like blue cheese, you could go up to 1/3 c or so.

Makes a fucking ton of stew. As it sits in the refrigerator, your leftovers will turn from stew into a casserole as the macaroni absorbs all the liquid. Delicious, particularly if you're on vacation from veganism.

Posted by katie at May 15, 2008 09:34 AM

you know what i like about this post? IT'S ABOUT FOOD.

i am already starving, katie, why must you taunt me?

mmm, casserole metamorphosed stew, so good.

Posted by: michele at May 15, 2008 10:43 AM

This looks awesome. Except that I can't think about hot food when it's 90 degrees outside and 110 in my apartment. But when it cools off in SF -- like around July -- I will be all over this.

Posted by: didofoot at May 15, 2008 01:41 PM

This sounded really good until I had to go outside to run an errand and remembered that it's almost as hot here as in Kristen's apartment. (For once, Oregon Special Weather Statement does actually mean sunshine and daisies and balmy warmth.)

It still sounds good, actually, and I'm a sucker for the recollection of ham. I know there's no point in trying to veganize it -- ham cannot be duplicated and my stews never turn out anyway -- but promise me you'll eat some on my behalf?

Posted by: Dianna at May 15, 2008 05:11 PM

I realized as soon as I posted this that on the proper coast, it's probably nearing summer temperatures. But then I thought, "Hey wait, everyone I know is in Northern CA or Oregon, where summer temperatures hover around 50 degrees."

And now I hear that it's 90 and shit. The thunderstorms must be addling my head out here, but I'm starting to miss my sunny California.

Posted by: katie at May 15, 2008 05:28 PM