An enamel cast iron pot is the best tool in the kitchen when making a stew. Today, looking over the canned tomatoes of last season, I thought they would make a great meal for my hubby who was sleeping to get ready for duty on the midnight shift. I had two hours to put something together and since it would be a chilly night a comforting stew would get him through it.
In St. Louis we celebrate the pork steak it is a cut from the shoulder which in other regions is called the butt which makes no sense to me whatsoever. If you slice this butt into steaks there you have it; the pork steak. It is a very forgiving cut of meat which can be cooked in many ways. Grilling is a great way to cook them but I didn’t want to go out back at night and contend with the orb weaver spiders that do fast work in the dark putting a web up always at eye level and always somewhere between the door and the grill. So, inside. I got out the trusty enameled pot, cut up a huge steak into nice sized chunks, seasoned them with a little salt and pepper and seared them in olive oil a bit on each side.
This left a great flavorful browned place to cook off the vegetables. I removed the meat to the side, added a bit more olive oil and dumped in some nicely diced onion, celery, carrot, bell pepper, mushroom and zucchini, a hand full of fresh spinach and a clove or two of smashed garlic. A touch of Italian herb seasoning got the good smells really going. They sizzled away in the well heated pot until they all became caramelized a bit. To cool them down and get that browning rinsed away off the bottom I added a quart of those canned tomatoes still with their summer fresh taste and all that juice. It was easy to chunk them up with a spatula into nice pieces. With eight different plants in one pot, this stuff has to be good for you!
Next, the meat went back in (chicken could have also been used) and I lowered the flame to a nice low simmer and let it go with a lid on until Jeff got up for work. A bit groggy, he was slowly roused out of this state with the smells that filled the kitchen. After suiting up for duty, he was sent on his way with a really nice to-go meal to keep him going until six a.m.
I woke up the next morning to the sweetest hugs and kisses from my favorite policeman on earth. I know that stew was good and indeed comforting, but dang!