Lost in translation


I love reading cookbooks. When I’m reading foreign cookbooks, I don’t look into a dictionary for each word that I don’t know. I understand many words by intuition. Well… that’s what I’ve thought. Of course, I knew Irish Stew, and if somebody would have asked me, what it would be, I would have said “Eintopf” in German. But for me, the chapter “stews” in “Moosewood Restaurant cooks at Home” has always been me a chapter about something I would have called “Sauce”. Lots of veggies to accompany Polenta or potatoes. I’ve never wondered why Moosewood often suggests to accompany these dishes by bread.

I’ve wondered about the meaning of the word “stew” when I tried the recipe for Menestra because – following the recipe – I added quite a lot of water. More than for a sauce which I had imagined.

So I’ve learned that a stew is simply Eintopf in German!

This is a recipe for a Spanish stew of the above named cookbook. I don’t know if a Spanish would make it this way – I’ve just checked if a Menestra really exists in Spain. It does.

You need for 4 servings:

1-2 onions, sliced
3 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 carrots
1 large potato
1 tblsp sweet paprika
2 bay leaves
pinch of cayenne
2 cups hot water (about 500 ml)
1/2 cup dry sherry (about 125 ml)
250 g mushrooms
1 red bell pepper
5 artichoke hearts (1 can)
1 cup frozen green peas

4 hard-boiled eggs, cut into quarters (optional)
Moosewood suggests to add Spanish olives, but le gros père is not fond of olives, so I omitted them.

In a pot, sauté the onions and the pressed or minced garlic in the olive oil until they are tender. Make sure to use medium heat. Peel and slice the carrots, add them. Peel the potato, cut it into cubes and add it as well as the seasonings. Sauté for a minute, stir well. Add the water, the sherry and the salt. Cover the pot, bring everthing to a boil, reduce the heat and let it simmer.

Cut the big mushrooms into halves or quarters, chop the pepper. Add the two to the soup. Drain the artichoke hearts, if necessery, cut them into halves. When the veggies are done, add the artichokes and the peas, let it simmer for 3-4 more minutes. Add salt, if necessary.

Serve with the hard boiled egg and bread.

For a vegan version, omit the eggs. If you want to substitute the veggies by others which you have at hand, feel free!


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