I did two things that I’m very proud of last week. Really, I’m sure I did more but these two graced my kitchen in one night and were particularly memorable. First, I found an inventive way to use the last of the leftover bagels from my brief stint as a bagel-baker. They had been in the freezer for weeks and Lee had declared them inedible.
Second, I made something in a pot that didn’t turn into chili, as do so many of my would-be soups and stews. This stew spawned from necessity and boredom. I was bored with making the same old things night after night and my dad was coming over for dinner so I wanted to serve him something somewhat special. Still, that special dish needed to be easy and use ingredients I had on hand, since I was getting ready to go out of town. It’s a good thing there were 4 ears of fresh corn in the fridge! I wasn’t about to let those go to waste.
The stew came out thick (thanks to the pumpkin) and chunky (thanks to the corn and squash). I loved the bright red tomatoes against the yellow corn. My dad, Lee, and I really enjoyed it as an early fall dinner that captured some of the sweetness of end-of-summer corn. The bagel croutons were perfect and unique. Unlike regular croutons, they have quite a crust on them, which returns to it’s chewy bagel state when soaked in hot stew for a few minutes. The result was an almost meaty texture that stopped my spoon from gobbling the stew too quickly.
4 ears fresh, sweet corn, husked
1 medium-sized brown onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon each fresh chives, marjoram, and thyme, finely chopped (adjust to taste)
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
5-6 medium-sized pattypan squash, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup frozen, shelled edamame
4 Roma tomatoes, roasted (see below)
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon chili powder
Freshly ground black pepper and salt, to taste
1 small avocado, sliced
To roast the tomatoes:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Cut tomatoes in half and place them, skin side down, on a lightly-oiled baking sheet. I suggest lining the pan with aluminum foil, as the tomatoes tend to be rather messy.
Bake in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the tomatoes are shriveled and juicy.
Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
When cool, cut each half into two or 3 pieces and set aside. You will add them near the end of cooking the stew.
For the stew:
Cut corn off cobs, gathering it on a cutting board or in a bowl.
Meanwhile, preheat a large saucepan or pot. Add olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan.
Add onions and garlic, cooking until the onion is soft and translucent.
Add corn and continue to cook, partially covered for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add herbs, allspice, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Cook about two minutes.
Add broth and pumpkin puree and pattypan squash, stirring well to blend everything together.
Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes.
Add edamame and roasted tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes, or until edamame are heated through.
Spoon stew into bowls, top with sliced avocado, and serve with bagel croutons or crusty bread.
Day-old (or older) bagels, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
Your preferred spices, or none at all: garlic powder, black pepper, salt, etc.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Place bagel pieces on a lightly oiled baking sheet.
Use an oil mister to spray pieces with olive oil.
Sprinkle spices, if using over bagel pieces.
(Alternatively, place bagel pieces in a plastic bag. Sprinkle a little olive oil on top, close the bag, and shake it to distribute the oil. Then re-open the bag, add spices, close and shake again.)
Place baking sheet in oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until bagel pieces are crisp but not burned. They will continue to crisp-up as they cool.
Allow them to cool on the baking sheet. Store in a sealed container or use immediately on stew.