By Tommy C. Simmons, an enthusiastic cook
Photograph by Tommy C. Simmons
There are days when you crave comfort food. I hit one of those recently and searched out recipes for tomato soup to soothe the soul. Instead, I found a recipe for a tomato stew, which did the job quite nicely.
The recipe I found was titled Healing Stew and was featured in a vegetarian cookbook by Liana Krissoff. She said her boss at an Italian restaurant in Virginia would make this stew when his employees showed up under the weather. It worked for her and with a few tweaks to fit my palate worked for my family, too.
The stew can be made with fresh or canned tomatoes.
Tomato Stew can be served over grits or dumplings, but is fine as is.
Home kitchen-tested recipe
Serves 4 to 6. Adapted recipe is from "Vegetarian for a New Generation" cookbook by Liana Krissoff.
1 tbl. olive oil
Half a Vidalia onion, chopped
2 to 3 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 red potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
1 pkg. Italian green beans, defrosted
Hot red pepper flakes
¾ tsp. dried marjoram or oregano
1 (14-oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes with their juices or 2 large ripe tomatoes
In a large, deep sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, a pinch of salt and a few grindings of black pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft and starting to become golden, lowering the heat or adding a splash of water if the garlic or onion starts to brown too quickly, about 8 minutes.
Add the potatoes, beans and a good pinch of red pepper flakes. Add the dried seasoning, the marjoram or oregano, too, and stir for 1 minute.
Add 1 cup water and stir up any browned bits, then add the tomatoes and their juices, breaking up the tomatoes with your hand as you add them. If using fresh tomatoes, you can coarsely chop and add to the pot.
Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes and green beans are tender, about 20 minutes. Taste and season, as needed. Serve hot.
Testing note: I also add a tablespoon of chicken bouillon granules to the stew. We are not vegetarians and like the richness chicken broth adds to vegetable stews. I serve the stew over cheese grits or plain.
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