Yesterday, I was wracking my brain about what to cook for dinner and more importantly what to blog about this week. My girl’s voices came to mind, “Mom, you haven’t written about your Provencal Stew, with potatoes and artichoke hearts.” Even though it was eighty degrees outside, and the A’s had just gotten smacked by the cheater Astros, the comfort of this dish called to me. I decided I would wait and serve it late under the stars (some poetic license here, there were no stars last night) But what there was, was a cool breeze.
I know, I know, I tend to oversell sometimes, but this stew is a crowd pleaser. One of the first times I made it was the first time Peter came home from college for the holidays. He’d called before he left Santa Barbara and asked what was for dinner, he needed a ‘hold me up’ for the long six hour drive to Northern California. “I’ll make the french artichoke heart stew,” I said. “Awesome, and some of your Irish Soda Bread?” He asked. When your oldest is returning for the first time, you’ll do anything. And I promise, you don’t need a kid coming home to make this, but I guarantee a full happy person will leave your table satisfied.
Vegan Provencal Stew with Potatoes and Artichoke Hearts Ingredients
Serves: 4-6 Adults
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 1 hour
- 1 ½ lbs. potatoes (6-7 medium)
- 1 lb. can of artichoke hearts
- 16 oz. crushed tomatoes
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- Thyme leaves
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and pepper
Vegan Provencal Stew with Potatoes and Artichoke Hearts Recipe
To prepare vegetable:
- Wash, peel and slice the potatoes ¼ inch slices
- Cut the artichoke hearts into thin slices.*
- Mince the garlic
- Heat oil on simmer in a large casserole
- Saute the potatoes and artichokes on low for ½ hour, stirring once and awhile making sure they don’t stick.
- Add the garlic and tomatoes
- Moisten with the vegetable broth.
- Add the thyme and bay leaf
- Cover and simmer on very low heat for 1 hour, stirring occasionally so the vegetables don’t stick to the bottom.
- Season with salt and pepper
- Serve hot or lukewarm
(Be sure to sauté at low for at least 30 minutes to get that meld of artichoke/potato flavor.)
* I didn’t last night, but usually I roast the artichoke hearts on a baking sheet for ½ hour at 300 degrees. If you have time and your team just hasn’t lost, do it… BTW, I found Dining with The Impressionist Cookbook for sale for $1.00, the best buck I ever spent. Look forward to next week when I’ll share Pesto Soup from it.
I found a vegan recipe for the bread. She didn’t call for the caraway, which I think makes Irish Soda Bread so unique and a must. So, I took some liberties and added it.
Irish Soda Bread Ingredients from, www.kitchentreaty.com
Makes 1 medium loaf
- 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
- 1 tbsp. white vinegar
- ½ cup dried currants or raisins
- 2 cups all-purpose flour + another ½ cup or so for the light kneading and another 1 tsp. currants or raisins
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
- ½ tsp. fine grain salt
- 1 tbsp. caraway seeds
- ¼ cup vegan butter (I use Earth Balance, cut into squares)
Irish Soda Bread Recipe
- Preheat the oven 375°F. Line a medium baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Make sure you have a surface (clean countertop or pastry board) to use when it’s time.
- Make buttermilk. Add the milk to a 2 cup liquid measuring cup or small bowl. Stir in 1 tbsp. of vinegar. Set aside for 5 minutes
- Prep currants. In a small bowl toss currants/raisins with 1 tsp. of flour. Set aside.
- Stir together dry ingredients. Add flour, sugar, baking soda, caraway and salt to a large bowl. Mix together until combined.
- Cut in butter. Using a pastry blender or two butter knives, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until crumbly. (I like to use my hands to really get it there and incorporate the butter.)
- Add wet ingredients. Add the buttermilk and currants/raisins and stir with spatula or wooden spoon until well combined. The dough will be wet and sticky.
- Finish preparing the dough. Sprinkle ¼ cup flour on your surface and turn the dough out onto the surface. Sprinkle a little more flour on top of the dough. Fold the dough onto itself, adding more flour if needed, just in case dough is no longer super sticky (a little sticky is okay). Knead for about 5 minutes then fold the corners underneath to form a ball. Set the dough on your baking sheet and, using a sharp knife, cut a large “X” into the top.
- Bake. Place in your pre-heated oven and bake for 35-45 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle come out clean.
- Cool. Remove from the oven and place loaf on a rack to cool.
- Serve with vegan butter and enjoy!
Rick just walked by, and is laughing with the image of Peter crammed into his friend Chris’s old family station wagon. Nothing like seeing your kid sitting on a huge garbage bag full of dirty clothes with his neck at a weird angle. Five boys literally fell out of the car, dressed in a weird assortment of old shorts and t-shirts followed by the strong smell of laundry needing desperately to be washed. All headed into our house for a break before heading to their homes another 45 minutes away.
Chris the driver, walked through the kitchen and lifted the lid and breathed in the enticing aroma of the stew and I saw him glance over at the bread fresh out of the oven. Fortuitously, for Chris’s sake and for driving everyone home, I made an extra loaf of bread for him to take home to his family for the holidays*. All five of the guys sat down unbidden, and enjoyed a bowl of the stew and a fat wedge of the bread.
So, unknowingly on my part: a new tradition started of having a soup pot full of Provencal Stew to serve the first night of the holidays. At this point, it’s us picking up kids, and their families at the airport and seeing their faces and hearing those relaxing sighs as they come into the house to the aroma that spells home.
*Around a year later, I ran into Chris’s mother at an event. And we got to talking about the boys and their antics. I described to her the image of Chris, that night after the long exhausting drive, standing over the stew pot and checking out the bread with a look of pure hunger. I remembered the extra loaf of bread, and asked her how they liked the Irish Soda bread I’d sent. She rocked back a bit and said, “What bread?”
Regarding Rick and the last ten days.
In one word, hellish. But I’m so happy to report this morning he looked like himself again, as he headed out to the garden in order to get the boxes ready to be planted with more kale, chard, leeks and the stuff that thrives through the fall/winter. He’ll meet with his doctor once in November and then a blood test at the end of December when he’ll find out he’s now a cancer survivor.
Ciao for now 🙂
PS Sports update: The A’s in an unbelievable game last night beat the Astros
9-7! In a nail biting last inning with the Astros having two on base, and two outs, our closer from down under Liam Hendricks with a full count threw a pitch that corkscrewed the batter for the final out. Whew…We live another day 🙂