Before I get to my recipe today, first I want to point all the Easter Bunnies here to my post today at Kids Cuisine on Well Fed. I've mentioned here before that we are trying to be a candy-free household, and at Easter time, that becomes a bit tricky. I've compiled a small list of other alternatives for stuffing those Easter baskets, and I think it could be beneficial to anyone looking for basket stuffers for their kids or grand kids. So "hop" on over and check that out.
Last week I mentioned that I received two recipes in e-mails from kind people who wanted to share their economical dinner ideas. Last night was the trial run of the first recipe, and it was a home run. Cabbage Patch Stew was sent to me by Carolyn. She originally got the recipe from a 1954 Betty Crocker cookbook, but has changed it up and adapted it to fit her tastes. First reading through the recipe, it looked like a fairly straightforward vegetable stew to me, until the last step. The last step directs you to make mashed potatoes and top the stew with a scoop of them. Oh my...stew topped with a scoop of mashed potatoes just tripped my "must make meter" and the recipe went on the list.
I made very few changes to Carolyn's recipe. And the changes I did make were made to use items I had on hand. The first change I made was with the 2 cups of canned kidney beans called for. I could have bought them, since canned beans are inexpensive, but I happened to have a package of dried cranberry beans that I've been dying to use, so this seemed like the perfect time. I pre-cooked them by simmering them for 45 minutes on the stove before adding them to the stew. I likely had to cook it a little longer to soften them, but I had plenty of extra time yesterday to do so. The second change I made was to eliminate most of the water and just use some homemade chicken stock. I ended up using 1 1/2 cups stock and about 1/2 cup of water. Along with the juices from the tomatoes, it provided plenty of liquid. The last change I made was to add 1/2 teaspoon of Penzey's Sweet Curry powder. I have really been craving some Indian flavors, and the stew lent itself really well to that addition. It was fine without, but I have to say, the curry powder bumped it up into the really good category. I didn't need to make the potatoes on top, as I had some leftover from the other day, so this was a perfect excuse to use them up.
This received two thumbs up from us. Just a few bites in Andy told me that I could make it again, which is a sure sign of a repeater here. It was hearty and warming yet the cabbage and tomatoes gave it a lightness as well that had me scraping the bottom of my bowl and wanting more. Easily adaptable in any way to satisfy the palates in your home, Cabbage Patch Stew is a winner here.