T’was a chilly February morn, with freezing rain in the forecast. The desire for piping hot stew hits hard and fast in situations like this. Unfortunately I didn’t have any of the cheap cuts of meat that usually form the basis for rustic stew, so I cut ties with conventional cookery and grabbed some yellow split peas instead.
Get ready for some exciting photographs, people. Here’s an action shot of water being added to the split peas!
They are like lentils in that they don’t need a whole lot of time to cook — simply boil in one or two inches of water for twenty-ish minutes. (With legumes like this, why do people cook beans at all?)
Well anyway, I can’t ditch *all* cheap cuts of meat for my stew, so I start with bacon. A few small pieces of bacon (or lardons) at the beginning of a soup or sauce will really liven up the proceedings later on, I find. So: cut up some bacon and fry it (not pictured). Then cut up a red onion, taking a moment to appreciate how awesome it looks:
Get rid of most but not all of the bacon fat, then add some typical stew-style aromatic ingredients to your hot bacon-y pan: the onion, a chopped rib of celery and carrot, then three or four diced garlic cloves and a knob of ginger finely chopped. Once that’s browned up nicely, throw in about half a bunch of chopped kale, the curly leaf variety of which also strikes me as looking awesome:
When I eat kale and its leafy green cousins, I feel a wondrous burst of health almost instantaneously. Like, I think I just grabbed a handful and ate it raw. Grrr! Go vitamins!
Then after the tremendous kale has started to wilt a bit, add some chicken stock (homemade this time):
Serve with goat cheese on organic hippie bread — that’s some wholesome and healthy(ish) fare to see you through this grim winter: