May 19, 2018 – It’s no secret that I’m a confirmed carnivore. Sure, I like vegetables, but meat is really what it’s all about.
On this day, my carnivore chromosomes were in a rage. I was craving meat. The phrase ‘meat lover’ marched through my brain like a high school band at homecoming.
Sure, the meat lover’s pizza is on every delivery menu in the country. But pizza wouldn’t do the trick. Too much bread. I love Italian food but pizza sauce wasn’t tingling my taste memory.
What if I transposed the meat lover’s pizza into a meat lover’s stew? Yeah. That’s it. That’s the ticket.
The typical meat lover’s pizza has bacon, sausage, ham, maybe Canadian bacon, even chicken sometimes. What did I have on hand?
Bacon? Certainly. Sausage? I always have andouille on hand but most any kind of good sausage will work. And I had a portion of a thick slice of ham. Good enough.
Got to have some kind of vegetables. Potatoes for a stew, of course. More and more I’m using Yukon gold potatoes. I haven’t deserted the old standby russet. They’re great for some things. Can’t be beat for baked potatoes. But the Yukon gold stand up better for other purposes, such as a stew.
Corn. I love corn in anything. Fresh corn kernels cut from the cob. You can use frozen or canned corn as a short cut but it takes less than five minutes to shuck two ears and slice off the kernels. And fresh is so much better.
Tomato sauce? No, but have to have something to bind it all, continuing the transposition from pizza to stew. A can of diced tomatoes. Fresh tomatoes would work but I didn’t have any. Besides, a can of diced tomatoes is another of the shortcuts I allow myself without guilt.
And how about a can of RoTel tomatoes to add a little spice?
I started with the Trinity, Louisiana’s version of a mirepoix. We use onion, sweet peppers, and celery. Traditionally the peppers are the green bell variety. I have started using roasted red peppers because they’re convenient and I think they add an additional layer of flavor.
Since this is a meat lover’s dish, I sautéed the Trinity in bacon grease. And no, that’s not unhealthy. If you use nothing but bacon grease it will, without doubt, become unhealthy. But too much of anything produces the same result. Bacon grease, used in moderation, adds a really terrific level of flavor that just can’t be produced any other way. And don’t forget Emeril Legasse’s philosophy: “Pork fat rules!”
The potatoes will soak up a lot of liquid. While the tomatoes provide some liquid, a little stock is a good idea. I save all bones from anything I cook to make my own stock. Beef. Pork. Chicken. It all goes into the pot along with the afore mentioned mirepoix and whatever spices or additional ingredients sound interesting on stock making day. The result can be amazing.
Whipping up this dish was fun. It required little in the way of additional seasonings, thanks to the bacon, sausage, and ham. And, here’s the best part: It was absolutely meat-loving delicious!
Meat Lover’s Stew
3 slices thick cut bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 roasted red pepper, chopped
1 rib celery, cut crosswise into 1/4 inch slices
1 pound smoked sausage, cut crosswise into bite size pieces
1/2 pound ham from a thick slice, cubed
1 can RoTel tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes
2 Yukon gold potatoes, cut into bite size pieces
2 ears fresh corn, kernels sliced from the cob
1 – 2 cups stock
Saute bacon over medium heat in a stock pot until it begins to crisp and most of the fat has been rendered.
Add the onions, roasted red pepper, and celery. Cook until the vegetables begin to soften.
Toss in the sausage and ham. Mix well to let the bacon grease cover all the ingredients. Saute until the sausage and ham begin to brown.
Add both cans of tomatoes and the potatoes with enough stock to cover.
Bring the liquid to a boil. Lower the heat to medium low and simmer for about twenty minutes. The potatoes should be softened by then but not mushy.
Add the fresh corn and simmer for about five minutes.