Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sunchoke Winter Stew

Sunchokes + Deborah Madison + Burnt Swamp Farm = Pure, unadulterated stew heaven!

Madison's recipe is entirely vegetarian.  I modified her recipe by adding hot Italian ground pork, parsnips, celeriac instead of celery stalks, and more sunchoke than she called for.  I also used basil pesto instead of her quasi-gremolata as a topping.  Killer good.  We're happy.  And stuffed. 
Garnish with just about anything that moves you.  My parsley is completely dead from the lack of snow cover, so I used basil pesto that I made last summer and keep in the freezer.  If you've got parsley, mince up a handful with more fresh garlic into a nice paste.  Or use chopped scallions.  Or even garnish with quark or sour cream....  And, be sure to serve with hearty bread.  Sunnyfield Bakery's walnut and date bread was killer with this stew.

Burnt Swamp Farm's Hot Italian ground pork (perfect heat) met Brookford Farm's sunchokes, leeks, parsnips and celeriac, Heron Pond Farm's small bliss potatoes, carrots and onions, and Meadow's Mirth garlic.  All was simmered with homemade stock (which in and of itself was an ultralicious blend of Brookford's delicata squash seeds and roasted Twister Allie ribeye bones that simmered for an hour together), red wine, tomato paste, thyme, bay and nutmeg.  A healthy dollop of homemade basil pesto topped off our bowls.  YUM!  Silky, luxurious, homey, rich, sweet (from the parsnips and tomato paste) and spicey (pork) with a bit of tang (chokes and celeriac) and a touch of buttery pesto ...all good.  Promise. 

Saute 1 lg leek and 1 sm onion in oil.  Add copious amounts of chopped garlic, a bit of fresh thyme, bay leaf and decent pinch of salt and cook until slightly browned.  Add 1 pound of Hot Italian ground pork (I highly recommend Burnt Swamp Farm's).  Stir, breaking up the pork, and cook for ~5 minutes.  Take in the aromas, enjoy a few sips of wine while you're at it.... 
Once the veg have softened, add a cup of red wine (I used a dry Spanish rosado (rosé) from Ceres St. Wines--a wine produced from the Pinot Noir grape pressed without the skins), or really any wine you want.  Let reduce to half, then add a major squirt of tomato paste (~2 Tbsp), ground pepper, and ~1 Tbsp of flour.  Stir, cook for a couple of minutes.  Add 1-2 cups of water, vegetable or other homemade stock, and let simmer with cover on for roughly 30 minutes.  

I used everything that you see here: a whole knob of celeriac, 3 parsnips, 3 carrots, 1 whole head of garlic, ~1/2lb of sunchokes (scrubbed vigorously with skins left on) and ~1/2lb of potatoes (ditto).  Chop all up into 1/2" pieces and add to the pot with a bit if freshly grated nutmeg.  Cook for ~10 minutes, stirring frequently.

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