So I’ve been in London for a week, and I think I’m finally settling into life here. Unfortunately, that also means I’ve resigned myself to the miserable exchange rate…I’ll probably be in debt for the rest of my life after these six months are over. So in an effort to save as much money as possible, I decided to make a stew that would a) be as delicious as possible while b) being dirt cheap. I headed to Tesco and purchased the following ingredients:
chickpeas – cannellini beans – fresh coriander – fresh rosemary – brown onions – carrots – garlic – tomato puree – zucchini – fennel – paprika – canned plum tomatoes – potatoes – dried herbs – cumin – red chillies
I began by frying up the onions and garlic in olive oil, and added the canned tomatoes and three chopped potatoes once those were translucent. While all of that simmered, I chopped up zucchini, carrots and fennel (with some instructions from Alex, via skype). Fennel is our new favourite vegetable- its so versatile and adds a wonderful crunch to pretty much anything…we even threw it in our Chicken Makhani a few weeks ago! I tend to slice and dice my vegetables very finely, however since I was making a stew, I made sure that everything was cut in fairly large chunks so they wouldn’t turn to mush.
At this point the carrots and fennel were added to the stew, the zucchini went in right at the end to ensure that it retained some of its crisp texture. Tomato puree was the next thing to be added, but our can opener was broken…so I ended up stabbing the top of the can up until I could just get the puree to slide out. Needless to say, it wasn’t pretty.
After the puree I threw in a bit of fresh rosemary, plenty of paprika and cumin, as well as a dried herb mix. Half a can of cannellini beans and chickpeas was added as well. I left this to boil for awhile, taking care to stir the mixture every few minutes. After about twenty minutes I added the zucchini, and let it just simmer some more.
Finally I just called it done, mainly because it was 2:30 and I was hungry. Luckily, it seems as if I left it on the stove for just the right amount of time- none of the vegetables had turned to mush and all of the excess water had evaporated. I garnished the stew with some freshly chopped red chili and coriander, which provided a nice, fresh touch to the meal.
The stew was surprisingly good, especially for being something I threw together blindly. I had set out with the intention of making something cheap and delicious, and I’m happy to say that I succeeded: I calculated up my spendings, and the Poor Girl’s Stew ended up costing me £5.51 ($8.82)! I ate it alongside a tortilla for lunch today, and in the future I’m planning on having it on top of pasta, spinach, couscous or even on it’s own with a little extra tomato broth. It pretty much goes with anything! This really proved to me that as far as food goes, a little effort and cash can really go a long way.