Jungle Stew

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Last week, mine and Cobalt’s friends surprised us with a quick visit on their way to a concert in downtown Chattanooga. They hadn’t come to visit us since we moved from Johnson City to Chattanooga after our marriage in June 2012. So instead of going out to eat with them, we decided to make them dinner so they could save money and also see our lovely house! ‘Twas a beautiful time of smiles and stories though much faster than we would have liked. Time sure flies when you’re catching up!

Believe it or not, this soup made itself. The night before, I prepped the carrots and made a list of all the other vegetables I had. That morning, before heading to work, I cubed up the potatoes (they would have browned overnight so I opted to get up a little earlier than usual) and dumped all the veggies into the Crockpot with some water and set the timer to 6:00 hours on LOW heat. By the time 4:30pm came around I was nearly home and had one hour to cook the meat, add it to the pot, make sure the soup tasted good AND make sure my house was tidied before they knocked on the door. I’ve gotta say: that Crockpot was a LIFESAVER.

Before sharing this Jungle Stew recipe, inspired by my mother, I want to point out that there is no wrong way to make it! So feel free to modify all you like.  Every time I make this soup, I add different things to it: diced tomatoes, corn, green beans; ground beef instead of turkey and/or beans! Do make a note, though, that whether you make it on the stovetop or in the Crockpot, to add the harder vegetables first (carrots and potatoes) and the more tender ones about half-an-hour before serving to prevent overcooking the veggies and discoloring them. I forgot this and so my soup wasn’t as presentable as I would have liked. But it was tasty anyway :)

Oh and by the way, I made some Irish Soda Bread for this dinner and my friends couldn’t stop talking about it. I was very flattered by their happy tummies and taste buds!

JUNGLE STEW

Makes a 5-quart pot of beautifully delicious stew!

Ingredients

  • 5 skinny carrots, cut at a diagonal
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 5-7 medium potatoes, cubed
  • 3 TBS minced garlic (I have a huge jar in my fridge from Walmart)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6-8 cups water
  • 1 pound bag green, sweet peas
  • 1 pound bag edamame (shelled soy beans)
  • 1 pound ground turkey, cooked with spices (basil, rosemary, thyme, paprika, pepper) and olive oil in a skillet

Directions

  1. Cook first four ingredients (with the salt and water) in a  Crockpot on LOW heat for 5-6 hours. Make sure the water is covering all of the ingredients.
  2. Thirty minutes before serving, add the peas and edamame (and any other tender veggies you like) to the pot and continue to cook on low.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the meat until no pink is showing (you can have the meat pre-cooked and stored in the fridge if you’d like); add to the pot and cook stew for another 10-15 minutes to let the flavors merry.
  4. Serve hot with a side of Irish Soda Bread!!
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