Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Patriot Stew

For reasons we won't go into, I spent much of the Fourth of July making slow-cooker stews. When the sweat dried a bit, I wrote a bit of a story about it. If I were normal, I'd tell you I hadn't turned the stove on since, but Sunday's rendered lard would give that the lie. Still, I think I sweated out my meat cravings for quite a while.

Every year around the beginning of July, I get the urge to roast a turkey. 98 degree days and beckoning beaches be damned; I hear the siren gobble of rich gamey gravy, sweet potatoes, and tart cranberry sauce. The source of these cravings remains shrouded in mystery, but I’ve always assumed it had some connection to the start of the summer vegetable explosion at the farmer’s market--an immediate urge to celebrate the harvest.

Since I don’t work for a major food magazine (the best excuse to roast turkeys out of season), and don’t own an air conditioner, an actual early Thanksgiving is not an option. This ‘Patriot Stew’ is the perfect answer, a celebration of New World ingredients in slow-cooker style.

Cheap and delicious, bone-in turkey thighs shine in the slow cooker. They cook down tender and flavorful without any risk of drying out. Tart dried cherries stand in for cranberries, and sweet potatoes, poblano chiles, and corn play themselves in their traditional roles. In keeping with the American-born theme, I used Six Point Righteous Ale for the braising liquid, but any assertive ale will work.

Just brown the onions, chop a few vegetables, pour in the beer and you’re free to spend all day at the beach. Have a beer for yourself while you’re at it. It may not be the traditional hot dog, but a bowl of this all-American stew with a tart green salad is a sparkling accompaniment to fireworks in the cool of the evening.

Patriot Stew 
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 Tblsp butter
  • 1 Poblano chile
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 3 large bone-in turkey thighs (approximately 3.5lbs)
  • ¼ cup tart dried cherries (or dried cranberries)
  • 2 tsp Ancho chile powder (or to taste)
  • 1.5 Tblsp honey
  • ¾ cup corn kernels (frozen is fine—if your guests like to eat with their hands, leave the corn on the cob and cut 1-inch chunks)
  • 1-2 cans Six Point Righteous ale, or other assertive ale
  • salt and pepper
  • crusty bread or cooked rice, for serving

Halve the onion and slice it thinly. Heat the butter in a skillet, and brown the onions over low to medium heat (about 20 minutes), stirring occasionally as you prep the rest of the ingredients.        
Remove the stem and seeds of the Poblano chile and slice it strips. If the strips are long, cut them in half. If Poblanos aren’t readily available, another mild chile.

1 comment:

Joan said...

Feels so hot just looking at it. But awfully yummy