Isn’t it amazing how sometimes the ingredients we buy and look forward to cooking with most turn into magnets on the inside of the fridge, anchoring themselves to the shelves and refusing to be used while other, more mundane ingredients fly into the proverbial pot?
When I got home, these were the ingredients dying in my fridge: carrots (pretty normal), guanciale, little baby red cabbage leaves, wheat berries, basil, and goat cheese. Not bad for leftovers.
Here are the cabbage leaves:
The stew is great on its own; I love the way the anise flavor of the basil plays against the deep, earthy tones of the cabbage and the pork. But I think it would be even better as the base of a dinner dish – try serving big seared scallops or grilled sausage on top.
The ingredients in this stew may seem a little obscure, but it’s easy to find substitutes – try pancetta or bacon for the guanciale; use kale, collards, or red cabbage for the young cabbage leaves; replace the wheat berries with brown rice or some sort of small pasta.
TIME: 50 minutes (not all active)
MAKES: 4 servings
1/4 pound guanciale, cut into 1/4” cubes
1 large onion, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
3/4 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2” half moons
1/2 pound bunch young red cabbage leaves, rinsed and chopped into bite-sized pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup dry red wine
4 cups chicken broth, preferably homemade
2 cups cooked wheat berries
1/2 packed cup basil leaves, chopped or cut into chiffonade
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
Heat a soup pot over medium heat. When hot, add the guanciale. Cook, covered, for 5 minutes, then remove the cover and cook another few minutes, stirring, until the cubes are browned and crispy. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the meat to a paper towel-lined plate, leaving the fat in the pan. Set the meat aside.
Add the onions and cook 5 minutes, stirring. Add the garlic, carrots, and cabbage leaves, and season the mixture with salt and pepper. Cook the vegetables down together for a minute or two, stirring. Increase heat to high, add the wine, and simmer until the liquid has almost evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add the broth and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the carrots are almost tender. Stir in the reserved guanciale and the wheat berries, and cook another 5 minutes to warm through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the basil, and serve hot, garnished with goat cheese.