Broke-Ass Recipe: Poor-as-Fuck Stew

I haven’t gone grocery shopping in a while, mainly because I can’t afford it. The other day, I decided I should eat some food. I make a habit of keeping a lot of ingredients that won’t go bad on hand: dry beans, veggie broth powder, uncooked rice. I also looked through my refrigerator and found an onion, half a head of celery, and about five zucchini, and who knows where those came from?

Naturally, the veggies were about to go bad, so I had to act fast. I stole a page from the Food Not Bombs cookbook and chose to throw everything in one pot and boil the heck out of it. When you have a hodgepodge of basic ingredients in your house, produce that’s about to rot, and a stockpot, there’s really only one meal that makes sense to cook: a stew/soup thing.

poor-stew

This version contains celery, carrots, black-eyed peas, and zucchini, and I served it atop some cooked quinoa on a tablecloth that I sewed myself (Singer HOLLA). I want to note that I shared this recipe over on Vegansaurus but decided y’all could benefit from it, too. It’s really cheap and uses whatever you have on hand. If you don’t have much of anything, don’t worry—just throw in an extra 10 cloves of garlic or something instead.

Ingredients:
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic (or more, if you’re nasty)
olive oil
broth or water
every vegetable you have, especially if it’s in danger of going bad, chopped or diced or something
some cooked beans
whatever spices you like, particularly salt and pepper
a meat/fake meat product of some kind (optional)

Directions:

If you’re using real meat, cook that shit separately. I’m afraid you’ll have to Google how to do that because I can’t help you there. However, if you’re not, please proceed as follows.

In the biggest pot you have, saute onions and “hard” vegetables—to me this means peppers, carrots, celery and the like—in some oil for 8-10 minutes until soft. Crush or chop garlic, and add it to the pot, along with a bunch of spices (thyme, salt, pepper, rosemary, marjoram…). Stir and saute for a few seconds until you can smell the panty-dampening aroma of cooking garlic. Add the “soft” veggies (zucchini, broccoli, and so on), and saute for five minutes or so. Pour water or broth into the pot until everything is just barely covered. Add beans and meatish substance if using, then bring to a boil. Once it’s boiling, reduce the heat, and simmer to your heart’s content, or forever. Taste and adjust spices if needed. Serve on top of quinoa, leftover takeout rice, or some other cooked grain, and/or with a side of crusty bread if you can afford it.

This stuff gets really good after a day or so of sitting in the fridge. I guess that allows the flavors to blend or some shit? It also freezes really well, so you don’t have to risk making a huge batch and letting it all spoil. Finally, it’s healthy: It has everything you need to fuel you for a day of job-hunting!

Of course, it’s been hot as balls in San Francisco lately, so perhaps soup is a bad choice. Oh well, save it for winter!

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About the author

Sarah M. Smart - Red-Light Special

Sarah M. Smart was summoned into being on a distant ice cream planet through an unholy union of Two-Buck Chuck and unicorns. They sent her to Indianapolis and then the University of Missouri's School of Journalism to spread peace and big hair. Perpetually in mourning for the comma, she has worked for a variety of print media, including Indianapolis Monthly, Global Journalist, and Vox. Since moving to San Francisco for the booming dumpster-diving scene, she has been an online operative for such fine folks as Horoscope.com , Neo-Factory, and Academy of Art University. After a day of cat-feeding, hat-making, dog-walking, vegan baking, and daydreaming about marrying rich, all she wants is a margarita as big as her face.

3 Comments

  1. Kate G. says:

    Hell yeah! My section of the fridge is looking pret-ty bare, and I do have a bunch of quinoa I need to use up — methinks I’ll be making your stew this evening!

  2. Iz says:

    Did the same yesterday, but in my mind, insetad of poor as fuck, I pretended I was a competitor on “Chopped”. My basket included a bag of lentils, spaghetti sauce in a jar, and carrots. So what did I do…..boiled the lentils and let simmer for 45 minutes. While this was going on, I sauteed finely chopped carrots and onion in coconut oil, seasoned well with garam masala and cumin. Opened the jar of spaghetti sauce up and added to the lentils along with a little water to wash out the jar, dumped in the sauteed veggies, and a little more garam masala. Let simmer. Just before serving I threw in a handful of baby spinach that was looking a little sad. All in all it was un-fucking-believable!!!! Necessity is truly the mother of invention.

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