Every couple of weeks during late summer and fall, you'll find a big pot of vegetable stew a-simmerin' on my stove. (In winter? It's usually soup, not the thicker stew.) Then during the next week, it's my "go to" convenience food, just a minute or two in the microwave for a small, healthy and plant-based meal (in 100-calorie servings, the best thing I learned when I switched from Weight Watchers to Medifast) or a supper side dish, no cooking required.
Here's the latest! It's a mild stew – those of you who hanker for heat will want to grab the hot sauce! (Or for built-in heat, try the wonderful Chickpea Gumbo or Vegetable Chili with Sweet Potatoes & Chipotle.) I find the mildness quite soothing and peaceful, appreciated like a quiet, no-pressure day after several days of tension and activity. It's also really great, especially in summer with fresh vegetables, to really taste the individual vegetables.
I'm not sure what makes this "Armenian" – perhaps the slight sour from lemon juice at the end? perhaps an apple in the pot along with the vegetables? If anyone has experience with Armenian cuisine or knows the answer, I'd love to hear from you!
RECIPE for ARMENIAN VEGETABLE STEW
Time to table: 45 minutes but best if flavors allowed to develop overnight
Makes 11 cups
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium eggplant (about 1 pound), skin on, diced in 1" pieces
1 green pepper, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 yellow squash, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt & pepper
Water if needed
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 pound ripe summer tomatoes, chopped
1/2 pound fresh okra, left whole if small, cut cross-wise if larger
Alternative vegetables: Potatoes, green beans, tomatillos, corn, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, etc.
3 tablespoons lemon juice (don't skip)
In a large, heavy pot heat olive oil until shimmery on medium high. Add onion, eggplant, peppers, yellow squash and zucchini as they're prepped, lightly seasoning with salt and pepper with the addition of each new vegetable. Stir often, letting the vegetables begin to turn color and develop flavor. If needed, add water if to prevent scorching. Once all the vegetables are in, do add water just to cover and let simmer for a few minutes, until the peppers and squash are tender but not mushy, about 10 minutes.
Stir in the tomato paste, tomatoes and okra, seasoning again. Bring back to a simmer and let simmer just until the tomatoes are warmed through and the okra are tender, maybe 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat, stir in the lemon juice and a little fresh parsley. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve right away if you like or cover and refrigerate for some hours to allow the flavors to meld.
ALANNA's TIPS & KITCHEN NOTES
GO FOR VARIETY What makes vegetable stews so special is how they so easily incorporate so many different vegetables, all in one dish. You don't want a big pot of mush, however so aim for a variety of colors, shapes and textures. Also, cut the pieces in quite-large pieces so that even after shrinking and softening in the pot, you can distinguish one vegetable from another.
WINTER VERSION The inspiring recipe called for a 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes and frozen okra.
APPLE The inspiring recipe called for a chopped apple along with the eggplant, pepper and summer squash. We were all out so I skipped this but do think the addition of a little underlying sweetness would be nice. My make-do substitute of roasted golden beet just didn't add much. :-(
JUST A DOLLOP I love vegetables stews with a small spoonful of dairy stirred in – Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, sour cream, etc.
Once you do, new recipes will be automatically delivered straight to your e-mail In Box.
MORE FAVORITE VEGETABLE STEW RECIPES~ Favorite Seasonal Vegetable Stews ~
10 recipes plus 10 tips & techniques
~ Southern Farm-Stand Stew ~
~ Summer Vegetable Stew ~
~ Summer Vegetable Curry ~
~ more vegetable stew recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture
~ Ratatouille ~
~ Squash & Carrot Stew ~
~ Slow Cooker Curried Vegetable Stew ~
~ Fall Stew Baked in a Whole Pumpkin ~
~ more meatless main dish recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade, my food column
famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.
© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2014