I guess when two lines intersect on a plane, math-types call it a point. In this instance it's more akin to serendipity. Having decided to eschew shopping and depend instead on what's on hand for sustenance, I find myself left with an odd assemblage of meats and vegetables. Guess what! That is exactly what is required for Kentucky burgoo. With derby weekend hot on our heels and this stew's propensity for improving after a day or two of its making, clearly fortune is smiling down. If I can just carry this luck over when I try to pick a winning pony!
Ingredients & Directions:
1 stick of butter
1/4 C flour
Heat butter in large stock pot until bubbling. Add flour and cook over med/med-hi heat until the mixture turns a light caramel color.
2 1/2 pounds of chicken breasts cut into cubes
3 1/2 pounds chuck roast cut into cubes
8 C stock or broth (I'm using that leftover duck stock from earlier)
4 C of water
28 oz can of whole tomatoes and juice
12 oz can (not the small can) of tomato paste
1 tbs of salt
1 ts of pepper
Bring to a boil, lower heat to medium, and continue cooking for 2 1/2 hours.
Meanwhile go assemble your bouquet garni to toss in once it's put together. If fresh herbs are not available, add some dry ones, e.g. 1/2 ts thyme, 1/2 ts oregano, 1/2 basil, 2 bay leaves...
***Bouquet garni: In the spirit of burgoo, that is, using whatever you have around, I decided to use every herb outside I could find except the mint. I'll save that for the juleps.***
Once you've destroyed the protein bonds holding the flesh together by cooking the stew so long, the meat will shred easily with a fork and start to shred by itself. That's why beef is tough in stews if it's not cooked long enough, FYI.
Now it's time to throw in whatever vegetables you have around. I'll be adding:
12 oz frozen corn
12 oz frozen brussels sprouts
3 chopped carrots
4 cloves of garlic
2 stalks of celery
2 peeled and cubed potatoes
12 oz frozen green beans
1 diced onion
2 red bell peppers chopped
1 additional C of water
Few dashes of hot sauce
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
2 tbs of maple syrup
Bring back to a boil (by increasing the heat) and then reduce heat once more to simmer for an 1 1/2 hours stirring frequently. Use the back of a wooden spoon to break up the meat against the side of the pot along with squishing some of the vegetables. According Kentucky tradition, you can just keep adding water, keep cooking, and stirring for days. I, however, have things to do this afternoon so that final hour and a half will be the end for me. When it's finished, taste it, add more salt or pepper you think it needs it, serve with corn bread, and mint juleps.
And, they're off-- giddyup!