More things I love about winters that never seem to end: ice dancing, especially when done to epic musicals I also love (Les Mis) and philosophy masquerading as French children’s stories (Le Petit Prince); being able to spend a (socially acceptable) Saturday night curled up on the couch in my
pajamas sweatpants; no air conditioning!; and stew, piping hot bowls of comfort that can’t decide if they are soup or casserole. If not for winter, there would be much less stew in my life, and this, you see, would be borderline tragic. (No? Too melodramatic? Eh.)
The weather is creeping up into the 50′s this week, but don’t worry, Mother Nature can’t fool me. I’m onto her. She does this every year from late February to early April, this hot-and-cold, give-and-take game in which she sends a warm front in to make us drowsy with the promise of wild crocuses and strawberries that aren’t bruised on the outside and stark white on the inside. And just as we send our winter coats to the cleaners and pack away our ear-muffs for another 10 months, she hits us with a half foot of snow, just to see if we’re still paying attention. It may be warm today, but we’re still talking stew here at Floptimism, so that when Mother Nature decides she wants to have a little fun with us next week, you’re ready — armed with this comforting recipe to keep you warm, even if you packed all of your winter clothes away.
There is a chance that this isn’t really stew. I’m not all that well versed in the nuances that determine which side of the soup-stew line a recipe falls on. This soup-stew certainly does have a lot of stuff in it, which tends to be my very-technical criterion for calling something a stew; however, it also has quite a bit of liquid keeping all of that stuff afloat, and isn’t “lots of liquid” the official definition of soup? Yes? No?
Soup, stew, or “Stoup” as Rachael Ray so cleverly puts it sometimes (but not this time), this is a winner. First of all, it makes a lot of soup-stew-stoup. It made a very generous 6 servings for us, though we ran out of ravioli after 4 servings so I think the last 2 servings could’ve been stretched if we had had more ravioli to add to them. My suggestion, reflected below, is to simply throw in an extra package of ravioli and make it a robust 8 servings. Alternatively, you can leave it the same, but make sure you only serve 2 ravioli per person instead of 3 (assuming your package also comes with 12 total ravioli per 14-16 ounces).
More reasons why this soup-stew-stoup is a winner: it’s filling, but not heavy; it’s practically exploding with nutritious veggies; and you can totally get your mushroom-averse family members to eat mushrooms if you chop them up really small (L still has no idea, shh). Win-Win-Win.
Loaded with vegetables and garnished with whole wheat ravioli, this stew is filling without being heavy.
- 1 (organic) red bell pepper
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves stripped and chopped
- 2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 packed cup cremini mushrooms, minced
- 1 (organic) green bell pepper, chopped
- 12 onion, diced
- 2 large ribs (organic) celery, diced
- 26 ounces no-salt-added diced tomatoes
- 10 ounces chopped frozen (organic) kale, coarsely chopped some more
- 6 cups no-salt-added (free-range) chicken broth
- 1 pound chicken breast
- 2 pounds frozen, whole wheat ravioli
- 1/2 cup shredded (organic) parmesan cheese
- Remove the stem and seeds from the red bell pepper and char over an open flame until blistered, 5 minutes. If you don't have a gas burner, you can brush them very lightly with oil and broil until blistered. Set the pepper aside.
- Heat the oil in a large soup pot set over medium heat and add the minced garlic, rosemary, and thyme. Stir in the mushrooms, green pepper, onion, and celery (I simply added each one as I finished chopping them) and cook until softened, 8 minutes.
- Peel the skin (at least the charred portions) off the red pepper and coarsely chop. Add along with the diced tomatoes, frozen kale, and chicken stock to the pot. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces and scatter into the pot, stirring well and letting it come back to a boil.
- Uncover and, lastly, stir in the ravioli. Cook until just softened, 5 minutes, then turn off the heat and let the temperature come down just a bit before serving with a garnish of parmesan cheese.
Nutrition Information: 343 calories. 12g fat (5g saturated). 99mg cholesterol. 305mg sodium. 34g carbohydrates (5g fiber, 6g sugar). 26g protein.
Source, adapted: Rachael Ray's Classic 30 Minute Meals