What Henry Eats: Warm Stew for a Rainy Day

May 15, 2009

By Mark Bishop, Deputy Director

Even
though Memorial Day is right around the corner, we’re still seeing more than our
share of cold and rainy days here in Chicago. It was on just one of those days a
few weeks ago when it seemed like Spring was never going to come, our furnace
went out and the temperature inside our house started dropping to the low 50s.
So what to do?

Crack
out the slow cooker!

I figured that if it's going to be cold and miserable, we should at least have the
slow cooker filling our house with delicious smells of a rich stew — and maybe
keeping the kitchen a little bit warmer. (Eight hours of piping hot goodness cooking
away on the countertop has to make a difference, right?)

And
of course Henry played a major role: it’s great to see him pour, mix, and just
be part of the cooking. He knew all the veggies. And while he doesn't always
eat them, I think his participation in cooking leads to his generally good
acceptance of new foods.

This
recipe is not set in stone. It really comprises what happened to be in my
fridge in the time. So I encourage anyone to be creative. And while many
recipes say to brown your meat ahead of time, I believe that takes an
additional step (and another pan) so I skip it.

Henry’s
Rainy Day Stew

1.5
pounds of cubed lamb or beef
1 cup of dried beans (white, navy, black-eyed, pinto – you choose)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried rosemary
Fresh herbs if you have them. I love basil and cilantro.
2 cubed carrots
1 diced onion
1 diced zucchini
2 diced peppers
Garlic
Adobo seasoning and pepper to taste (I love this
stuff! I use it all the time.)

I'm
a huge slow cooker fan. I believe in single pot recipes that you set up before
work so a hot meal is waiting to greet you when you get home. And beans work
great in a slow cooker – they don't need pre-soaking, and they help thicken the
stew while adding fiber to the dish.

By
the way, it was Henry's idea to put on his chef outfit after I told him we were
going to cook together. Really cute.