Composing a Stew

Playing with flavors in the kitchen is a happy place for me. I’d come home after the Blanket Fort livestream yesterday, and was standing in the kitchen happily pulling odd containers out of the fridge, and possibly humming to myself, when the First Reader walked in. I looked up at him, giggling. “I’m composing!”

He got that look on his face. “oh… okay.” And then he backed slowly out of the kitchen into the office. At least he didn’t shut the door! 

What I was really doing was repurposing leftovers. Making a game of turning the bits of previous meals into something new and cohesive is a good way to reduce waste, and sometimes was the only way to get my kids to eat leftovers. Even the First Reader and I get tired of some things once we’ve made more than a couple of meals of it. Which is why I try to freeze as much as I can, to give distance between repetitions. In this case, I didn’t have any meat thawed. What I did have, lurking in the back of the deli drawer, was a tube of beef chorizo, the cheap mostly-fat sort. Great for adding flavor, but not much else. 

Start your rice in the rice cooker if you plan to serve over rice. This whole meal will take about a half hour to pull together once you start cooking. 

1  large onion, chopped finely

4 cloves of garlic, minced (if using the pre-minced stuff in the jar, about a tablespoonful)

Onion, garlic, and chorizo

Sweat these in a little olive oil, adding: 

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp dried oregano

1 Bay leaf

1/8 c dried onion flakes (can omit if you don’t have them)

salt (about a teaspoon here)

Once the onions are translucent, fry in the chorizo.

9 oz chorizo (the fatty sort, although I suppose the good stuff would also work nicely)

Then add: 

roughly 2  c stock (I used a pork stock I’d made up from a smoked shoulder and frozen)

1 can rotel (undrained)

1 can black beans (drained)

1 can whole kernel corn (drained if you like)

Dumping in other ingredients. This is not a hard dish to pull together!

Simmer for about ten minutes. Then add: 

roughly 6 oz crumbled Queso Tradicional (or fresco)

About 8 oz Mexican Crema (reserve a little for a pretty drizzle if you like)

3 oz shredded Mexican-blend cheeses

8 oz velveeta (or melty cheese)

Cook just long enough to melt the cheeses, with stirring. 

Serve over rice, or tortilla chips. It’s very very rich, and thick enough to almost be a dip! The Little Man used it to make almost nachos, while the First Reader and I had it as a stew.

Served with a bit of fresh oregano and a drizzle of crema

For a fast-and-easy using up the leftovers meal, this was great. Worth repeating, so I wrote down the steps and rough quantities. If you make it up, bear in mind that you have a lot of room to play, here. That’s the fun of composing a stew. You take all the flavor notes, and compose them into a symphony! 


2 responses to “Composing a Stew”

  1. Made beef stew Tuesday with onions, corn, white beans, carrots, and a rutabaga. Used Italian seasoning because I felt too lazy to customize it further.
    Instapot for the win on speed. 30 minutes on high pressure after browning the meat to tenderize it then, 3 minutes with veggies done and done.

  2. That looks and sounds pretty good.