WINTER IS UPON US, SO MOAR STEW-RIODS
I’d sort of abandoned this series, thinking there was no place to go with it, but that’s about as sensible as the Christians’ collective spazzing about the “War on Christmas” they allege Starbucks is waging with their redesigned holiday cups. One can have too much stew like one can have too many blowjobs- the shit just isn’t fucking possible. Moreover, I’ve not even delved into hearty soups, which is partly where I’m going with this, as I didn’t even know the actual difference between a soup and a stew until googling it. Apparently, the difference is mostly theoretical. According to “Taste of Home”:
“What’s the difference between soup and stew? In theory, a soup is a combination of vegetables, meat or fish cooked in liquid. A stew is any dish that’s prepared by stewing – that is, the food is barely covered with liquid and simmered for a long time in a covered pot.”
In short, they’re pretty much the same fucking thing. Meat and vegetables in a broth, with all the deliciousness and nutrition you can possibly pack into them. They’re both easy as all hell to make, they’re endlessly modifiable, they warm you up on cold days, and they can be fucking crucial for bulking diets jest because they add an easy-to-digest calorie bomb to any meal or serve as a meal in and of themselves. Ori Hofmekler loves the holy hell out of soups and stews, and his diet, the Warrior Diet, revolves around them because they’re what the ancient Romans lived on.
“I’m a big believer in soups and stews, not just in cold seasons, but even in warm weather. I think having veggies and soup is one of the best ways to start a meal. Hearty vegetable soups and stews, where everything is cooked together- often veggies, roots, meats or seafood, and whole grains- have a great advantage in that many tastes, textures, and aromas combine in one hot, hearty meal. This thousands-of-years-old-tradition is extremely good for your satiety” (Hofmekler 69).
If you’re an American male, it’s likely veggies are noticeably absent from your diet, so it probably makes sense to add soups and stews to your diet just to ensure you don’t contract cancer at age 40or end up with some horrible nutrient deficiency. That’s not to say that you necessarily will have either of those things happen if you subsist on a diet of naught but meat, but it makes sense to hedge your bets when you can… especially when doing so is fucking delicious.
Split Pea Soup
I have no idea why it became a fad to eat peas in the Roman Republican era, but for some reason, Romans thought peas were the unadulterated shit. They ate them like Michael Moore eats doughnuts, and peas soup was so popular that the comic playwright Aristophanes mentioned it in his bizarrely themed play The Birds, and street vendors all over the Republic sold hot pea soup (Pease). You might be thinking to yourself that hot pea soup is a fucking stupid thing to try to eat while walking, and I’d have to agree with you… especially when you’re busy tripping over the bedsheet you wrapped around yourself in an idiotic attempt to clothe yourself according to Roman fashion. Nevertheless, pea soup was a cornerstone of the Roman diet, and fueled the Roman army to victory first over the Etruscans, and later over the rest of the world.
I’ve no idea how the fuck the Romans made their soup, but it’s entirely possible they made it the way I make it- in a clay pot. Clay pots are awesome for beans (peas are legumes) because for some reason the beans get a kind of velvety feel when cooked in a clay pot. If you don’t have one, I highly recommend Romertopf- that’s what I use in my pea soup. No matter how you cook it, whether it be in a crock pot, a clay pot, or a regular pot, split pea soup is badass both from a taste standpoint and a nutritional standpoint- even without meat in it, pea soup has 8 grams of protein per cup.
No meat, you say. Fuck all that shit- my dad imparted to me long ago that the best way to make split pea soup is with smoked pork, both bones and meat. Using smoked pork gives off salt, which enhances the flavor, and the marrow from the bones adds both nutrition and flavor. It does, however, add an extra step- making the broth. That’s not all that hard, however, so I’ll just throw it in with the rest of the soup and let you guys have the fuck at it.
8 cups water
1 large ham bone
2 cups dried split green peas
2 large carrots, peeled and diced small
1 medium onion, halved
6 large garlic cloves
2 large celery ribs, include leaves, chop small
1 large bay leaf
2 beef bouillon cubes
1 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed
1 pinch dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
Dump the peas into a soaked 4-quart clay pot (you’re always supposed to soak clay pots before using them). On the stove, bring your water to a boil, add everything but the peas and garlic, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 1 – 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. After 60-90 minutes, use a slotted spoon to remove all the solids from your broth, remove the ham bone, and cut off any remaining ham into bite size pieces.
If there are any big chunks of ham floating around, dice those, too, and add them to the peas in the clay pot. Dump in your broth, add the garlic, and put the clay pot in a cold oven. Once that’s done, set the oven temperature to 450 °F and cook for an hour to an hour and a half, stirring occasionally to check the consistency- the peas should be soft and mushy. After that, you just season to taste with pepper.
I generally eat split pea soup with buttered French bread- for some reason the two go together in my mind. Additionally, if you’re bulking, you’ll want the extra calories anyway.
Marha Pörkölt – Hungarian Beef Paprika Stew
If you’re not familiar with what badasses the Hungarians are, you’ve not been paying attention. Hungary is literally littered with statues of Attila the Hun, as the people who founded Hungary, the Magyars, were horse nomads who joined the Hunnic confederation when the Huns swept into Europe. Consummate badasses in their own right, the Magyars regularly raided the neighboring Slavs and shared a culture with the cannibalistic murder-machines the Scythians and the Sarmatians. What fueled their endless raiding, slaughter, and general awesomeness? Stew, of course. The following recipe literally translates to “beef stew”, as the Hungarians are apparently unconcerned with nomenclature because they’re too busy being violent badasses. This stew is no joke.
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, minced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 lb. beef stew meat
2 tbsp paprika
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 large tomato, cored and chopped
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley for garnish (optional)
In a large sauté pan, heat vegetable oil over medium. If you’re using olive oil, make sure it’s regular olive oil rather than extra virgin, because extra virgin burns ridiculously easily. Add the minced onion and sauté for about 8 minutes. Then add the garlic and green bell pepper and continue to sauté for another 5 minutes till garlic is fragrant and bell pepper is tender-crisp. Add the beef to the pan and season lightly with salt and pepper.
Cook for 5-6 more minutes, stirring twice, till meat is browned. Sprinkle paprika and caraway seeds evenly across the top of the meat. Add diced tomatoes to the pan. Pour 4-5 cups of hot water into the pan, till the meat is almost covered. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover to pan. Let the mixture simmer slowly for about 90-100 minutes, replenishing the water as needed to keep it from getting dry.
The stew is ready when the meat is fork tender and the sauce is thick. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste before serving, if desired. Because we’re all about the permabulk over the winter, I recommend that you eat this over some sort of starchy carbohydrate, like rice or noodles. I’ll hit you with a recipe for herbed noodles in a second, but before I do so, you guys need to know about the hot pepper paste Hungarians put on everything- Erős Pista. This stuff tastes as badass as can be, is an awesome condiment for this stew, and is easy as hell to make.
Red spicy peppers
Red sweet peppers
The ratio of spicy to sweet peppers is to taste, but a 1:10 ratio (1 sweet pepper for every 10 spicy peppers) seems to work best.
Wash the peppers and remove the stem. Process the peppers in a food processor or grinder. Add 2 tbsp of salt per 5 oz of ground peppers. Place in jars that have been washed and thoroughly dried.
Herbed Egg Noodles
12oz wide egg noodles
1 cup fresh Italian parsley, minced
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, minced
2 tbsp fresh chives, minced
2 tbsp butter
2tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Bring a stockpot of salted water to a boil. Drop in the noodles and cook according to the directions on the package. While all of that is going on, stir together the green stuff. When the noodles are done, strain them, toss in the butter, and oil, and return the noodles to the pot (with no heat). Toss the noodles until they’re coated in butter and oil, then season with salt and stir in your herbs. BOOM- you’ve got un-boring noodles to throw your stew onto.
So, there you have it- a couple of new recipes to try out while I finish up a couple of new training articles and test more hearty soup recipes. Also in the works are a new series on meat pies that will contain entirely home-gown recipes that I’ll be doing in collaboration with the owner of Bello Foods, a startup specializing in pizza and cheesecake that won’t tear up the digestive tracts of people with sundry shit-your-pants style GI diseases. That series will ultimately culminate in a cookbook- yup, a motherfucking Chaos and Pain cookbook. So, there’s a bunch of cool shit in the works and the articles should start coming fast and furious again.
Until that day, motherfuckers.
If you didn’t like the recipe for Erős Pista, there’s always this.
Hofmekler, Ori. The Warrior Diet. St Paul: Dragon Door Publications, 2003.
Vegetarians in Paradise. Pease Porridge Hot, Pease Porridge Cold. Web. 11 Nov 2015. http://www.vegparadise.com/highestperch52.html