Friday, December 21, 2007

Salty, Wintry, Buttery Stew

This is nothing more than a pot of vegetables cooked with herbs and white marrow beans.
And yes, that is a tomato you see. Jeepers. My tomatoes are still ripening (and I know I promised to yank the plants out on Halloween).
The inspiration for the winter stew came from Deborah Madison, only her version was for a summer stew. But I can still get potatoes and carrots this time of year, and the beans — well, I looked for fresh shelling beans, but my bean guy was taking a break from the farmers market, so I used dried (cooked, of course). Madison's summer stew calls for green beans too, but I had chard, so chard it was. (Additional ingredients: a leek, some mushrooms, a splash of beer for braising. Butter. No salt. Pepper.)
But what I really wanted to talk about is the butter.
Cranky bought a tube of imported English butter, because our English friend can't stop raving about it. Always open to new flavors, we gave it a try.
Salty! Gack.
Cranky said he wanted to scratch his own eyes out. It tasted like licking the inside of the popcorn bag. (I can say these evil things because our friend is on some tropical island right now, with no Internet access.)
However. Wouldn't cooking with the butter be just fine?
Yes, it would. We sauteed miniature potato halves in gobs of the butter until they turned brown and, well, salty-buttery. Then dumped the potatoes and all that salty butter into the pot with the beans and vegetables. Cooked 'em into submission.
And didn't have to add a single sprinkling of "real" salt to the pot.


cook eat FRET said...

sounds to me like that butter is wayyy too salty. i know i know - i'm a genius.

but hey.... pssssst

"vermont butter and cheese" butter with sea salt - all wrapped up in a ball of blue and white checked paper, with the crunchy flecks??? so friggin good. i'm posting about it this weekend. that with good bread and radishes... lord have mercy...

ChrisB said...

You know who might be on a tropical island, but there are others who aren't but I won't tell!!

cookiecrumb said...

CEF: I cannot *wait* to read about your Vermont butter. I presume it uses a cheese culture. Wish I knew how to do that myself.

Chris: I'll take a wild guess. You're on an island, but it's far from tropical. Right? Merry Christmas, love.

Bri said...

Your stew sounds great! I've been in much more of a throw-everything-together-and-call-it-a-meal mood lately. Unfortunately, that doesn't make for very pretty food styling in photos. Kudos on your dedication to local and homegrown through the winter. I know it's not exactly frigid here, but still.

cookiecrumb said...

Bri: You're right about photo-ing sludgy food. That's why I took this picture before the veggies cooked down.
And, alas. English butter! Not very local. (But the leek came from my backyard.)

dancingmorganmouse said...

I'm sure you already know this but French butter! OOOOh, so tangy, nothing like anything else. I think a special culture is used, like the vermont cheese butter. mmmmmm.

Chilebrown said...

Marrow Beans are my new favorite beans. I tried to grow some this year with no luck. I think these beans, are and will be a new/old fad. Tierra Vegetables at Ferry Plaza sometimes would have them fresh. What a treat! You could cook them with a few other veggies and get a "Meaty" taste treat. I hope Bean Sprout is all better! Peace, Paul

cookiecrumb said...

Morgan: Yes, yes. French butter. It has... flavor!
I found a quick method for culturing cream before you churn it into butter: stir in some yogurt (I've got a particularly delicious buttermilk I might try) and let it sit out overnight. Then churn, and sqeeze the whey out.

Chilebrown: Marrow beans are plump and tender, and yes, meaty! These came from Rancho Gordo.
Bean Sprout is frisky and well, thank you.
Merry Christmas to you and Ms. Goofy.

Anna Haight said...

I made a veggie soup today that I didn't take a photo of since it gets whirred into a sludge look... good idea to take the photo before everything cooks down!

cookiecrumb said...

Anna: Sometimes if I know the resulting sludge is going to be deplorable, I'll just photo the raw ingredients in some adorable arrangement... Cheating!

Anonymous said...

I am really surprised that English butter is salty! Nothing else here is salty enough for my taste. I've taken to bringing salt to the cinema, to salt my own popcorn properly.

I guess that's because I don't add butter.

cookiecrumb said...

Oh, right! Vegan! So you wouldn't have known.
Yup, dang salty.