Finish this sentence: The best things about fall are the coloured leaves, snuggly sweaters, tall boots, and ____________. If you are anything like me, you said "comfort food". And that's just what I have for you today!
We have been making this "stew" at our house for years. (I say "stew" because it's unlike any stew I had ever had, in that there is no gravy in it.) I first saw it on Rachael Ray, but then we slowly made small changes to it as we made it each time.
The ingredient list is pretty long, but please don't let it scare you. Trust me, it's worth it, and the ingredients are very easy to work with. If you consider yourself a very amateur chef, even you can make this - I would just suggest you have all of your ingredients prepared before you start cooking anything.
Here's what you will need:
1. Brown bacon in dutch oven until crisp (2-3 minutes) and then drain the excess fat - leave about a tablespoon. (Save the fat in case you need to add it later - if it starts to dry up, it has more flavour than adding oil.)
2. Add onions, carrots, garlic, paprika, cumin, oregano, and bay leaves and stir. Cook for 4-5 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
3. After vegetables are cooked, create a well in the centre and add flour and oil/bacon fat. Stir to create a paste.
4. Add chicken stock, scraping the bottom to remove the brown bits from the pan, because they are full of flavour! Then, add the tomatoes, and cook for 20-30 minutes until thickened... or leave it on super-low heat all afternoon!
Serve this with pierogies on top - I like to make mine really crispy for this stew. The best way to this is to boil them first, and then place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet. The trick to getting really crispy, golden brow pierogies is to make sure they are dry. If they are wet before you stick them in the oven, they won't crisp up.
Season them with a little sea salt, and bake at 400 for 10-12 minutes. Broil for the last minute or two if you would like to add more color.
To serve, fill a bowl with stew, top with a couple of pierogies, and add a dollop of sour cream and chives or green onions. When the sour cream swirls through the stew, it creates a nice richness to compliment to the tomatoes acidity.
Yummm... we all loved eating this up today, it was the first comfort food meal of the season. What's you're favourite comfort food? Chicken pot pie was my ultimate favourite, but this is definitely a close second! Leave me a comment and let me know what yours is... I'm always looking for new recipes to try!