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Friday, September 23, 2005

F-Irish Stew: Hot and Hearty Cross-Cultural Stew

Los Pericos TostadasSriracha Hot Chili Sauce - 17 oz.Several years ago, while living in the "big city" of Toronto, Canada, I was living a fast-paced life. I would chill out a bit by doing what some people call "standing meditation". I would essentially focus purely on the task at hand, which was usually preparing food and making supper. One evening, while being distracted several times by roommates that didn't understand that I wasn't ignoring them but just doing very focused meditation, I ended up adding a few too many scotch bonnet/habanero peppers and ended up with a mixed-breed East Indian Curry crossed with an Irish Stew and West Indian hot sauces. And after simmering for nearly 2 hours, the stew was so hot my scalp literally itched from a single spoonful. I ended up having to dilute the stew over several days with more water and corn starch to re-thicken, but it was altogether too hot even for the hothead himself.

The recipe I've given you here isn't as hot as my original, which was vegetarian, by the way. (For health reasons, I was trying to make a go of being vegetarian at the time.) This version uses chicken, but feel free to use cubed stewing beef or lamb.

Ingredients: (1) 4-6 cups of water and 2 cups (3 cans) of chicken stock; (2) 2 cloves garlic, finely minced; (3) 2 small onions, cut in 1/8ths; (4) 2 medium potatoes, scrubbed, cut large-dice; (5) 1 large carrot, cleaned, cut into 1 inch lengths; (6) 1 bell pepper, cut into large pieces (about 1 inch square); (7) 1/4 cup diced celeriac or white radish [both optional]; (8) 8-10 large mushrooms, cleaned and halved; (9) 1/2 cup peas; (10) 1/2 lb of breast chicken, stewing beef, or lamb, cut into large pieces; (11) 1 heaping tablespoon of hot curry powder; (12) 1 tablespoons of any West Indian hot sauce - preferably thick and non-vinegary; (13) healthy sprinkle of crushed red pepper flake; (14) small squirt of sriracha hot sauce; (15) 2 tbsp corn starch diluted in 1/2 cup of water.

Preparation: (1) Set water to boil, on high, in a large cookpot. (2) When water is boiling, add the chicken stock and items 2-11. (3) When water is once again boiling, turn heat down to low, add items 12-14, cover partially, and let simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent burning or sticking. (4) Turn heat up to medium and let sit for a minute or two until the pot is bubbling. If the stew is thick enough for you, skip the corn starch. Otherwise add the diluted corn starch mixture to the stew and stir slowly until incorporated. Turn off the heat and move the pot.

Serve in bowls with crusty bread, toasted Greek-style thick pita bread cut in quarters, or a small stack of Latin American tostadas.

(c) Copyright 2005-present, Raj Kumar Dash, http://chilimonster.blogspot.com

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