If you ask me, fall is the season of seasons, from a produce point of view. It’s an amazing culmination of dope root vegetables and various members of the cabbage family. Combining them into something delicious is a welcome invitation.
I’ve recently been super in love with Fresh Direct’s CSA boxes from the Lancaster farm fresh cooperative. All the wonderful, fresh, surprising goodness of a CSA program, minus the season-long commitment and annoying pick up locations. Last week’s $30 box netted us the following: A huge head of green romaine lettuce, dinosaur kale, baby hakurei turnips, beets, leeks, spinach, and these amazing blue radishes:
In reality they’re more purple, with a totally rad and artsy cross section. I was worried about how these huge radishes would taste, but they turned out to be mellow, crunchy, and delicious. Fancy food asshole protocols demand that they be eaten with some cultured butter and sea salt, which we happily took part in while cooking this rando (figurative) mash up of a stew.
These fall veggies were begging to be put together in some sort of omnivorous construct. What better than a stew?
I’m sure we all have certain memories and associations when we think of that venerable preparation. Mine’s probably not all that different from yours in some way or another. I have myriad childhood memories of my mother making stews- slinging meat, potatoes, onions, and (one of her tricks) romaine lettuce into that gigantic, resplendent, orange enameled behemoth of a Le Creuset she used to use. No matter the meat and veggie combination, they were always delicious. We always had seconds, and looking back on her making those for us brings a smile to my face. And so here I am, trying to flatter through imitation.
Big enameled cast iron pot? Check.
Delicious ground-up animal parts from my favorite butcher? Check.
A randomly orchestrated cornucopia of fall veggies straight from the farm? Check.
This specific stew in question was comprised of the following:
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 1 large leek, chopped
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 1 cup baby hakurei turnips, washed, not peeled, halved
- 1 28 oz. can of crushed san marzano tomatoes
- 1 large blue radish, 1/2 in cubes
- 1 bunch of dinosaur kale, stems removed, loosely chopped
- bay leaf
- 1/2 cup red wine
- Allspice, coriander, cumin, salt, and pepper to taste
Now that you’ve got the ingredients, you should know the drill. Saute the leek, onions, and ground beef with your favorite cooking fat, adding salt and pepper as you go. Toss the radishes and turnips in once the meat starts to cook through, and add the tomatoes. along with the red wine and bay leaf. Let that simmer for about 5 minutes and then add the kale and spices. Simmer for another 5-10 minutes, letting all the flavors come together. That’s about it.
I’m currently in the midst of a ketogenic/low carb diet, so the turnips and radishes made for super-awesome potato substitutes. Not to mention the awesome color the radishes imparted on the stew itself. I served this in a bowl with a dollop of Labne, which is essentially greek yogurt for badass motherf*ckers.
We got 3 solid meals out of this batch, and I’m actually getting sad that it’s all gone. Let’s see what next week’s CSA brings.