Garbage Can Stew or Trash Can Stew as It is Some Times Known
Have you heard of garbage can stew? If not, it is not nearly as bad as the name implies. Many families have a form of this but may not even know it. It is a wonderful way to use up leftovers.
There is no real recipe for garbage can stew, just some guidelines. You will never get the same recipe twice, so feel free to experiment and keep an open mind. Depending on the types of leftovers you have in a given week, it may be exceptional or something that was interesting, but you do not want to go there again.
Garbage Can Stew Guidelines
Your basic guideline for this dish is to add a protein source, some type of tomatoes, vegetables, a starch, some spices, miscellaneous additions, and liquid. Protein can be chicken, turkey, fish, beef, pork, or any meat source. You can also create a protein by combining beans and rice. There are lots of ways to add protein to this dish.
If you do not like tomatoes, you can leave them out. If you do like them, you will have to agree they are a wonderful way to add flavor. Use stewed, diced or chopped tomatoes. You can even use puree, sauce, paste or tomato juice.
Vegetables can be frozen, canned, leftover, or fresh. Got leftover spinach you did not use in a salad? Throw it in. Use up that half a zucchini, that half a bag of frozen corn and that little wedge of cabbage sitting in the crisper drawer. It will all cook together to make something good and you will not have to throw anything away.
Adding Starches to Your Stew
Starch can be provided by rice, pasta, or potatoes. You can cook it in the stew, or you can prepare them as a side dish. When the stew is done, ladle it over the starch you have chosen. It makes mashed potatoes absolutely delicious.
Herbs and spices are the best way to bring the flavor level up. Garlic, onions, peppers, ginger, Italian herbs… whatever you like best will work. Fresh herbs add a brightness to the dish when you add them at the end. Tarragon, basil, thyme, rosemary, and parsley are all easy to find.
What Kind of Stock Do I Use
For your liquid, you can use water, stock, tomato juice, the liquid left over after rehydrating mushrooms… use your imagination. If you have a choice, use something that adds flavor. Water is great for extending your liquid amount, but it does not add any flavor of its own.
So, have fun. Take a look at what is lurking in your refrigerator. If you add Mexican seasonings, you can even add some cheese to the pot and make it into a spicy meal. That is the beauty of this dish. You can make this meal mild, spicy, vegan, vegetarian, or all about the meat and potatoes. It is completely up to you and the contents of your refrigerator and pantry. Leftover stew freezes nicely, to be used later. Let the contents guide you and use your imagination. Keep notes if it turns out particularly well so you have a chance of recreating it.
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