Earth Mama Vegetable Stew in a Clay Pot with Couscous

I love using a clay pot, and the one I use the most is my La Chamba pot. It’s a large casserole type with a lid. It makes me feel like a sexy ‘earth mama’ when I brew up my magical stews and soups inside of this clay pot.

This recipe is something that I create as I go, so I hope you will just take this simple vegetable stew recipe and create your own version. I made it for my family– everyone was hungry! It took about 30-45 minutes to cook in my clay pot.

 

VEGETABLE STEW

  • 1 red bell pepper (juicy & fresh) cubed
  • 4-5 small fingerling potatoes, chopped
  • 2 farmers’ market fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped rustic-style
  • 3 farmers’ market fresh carrots, chopped roughly
  • 1 bunch of basil, torn into pieces
  • 2 stems of fresh thyme leaves
  • 4-5 generous dollops of olive oil
  • 3 finely chopped shiitake (or) crimini mushrooms
  • 1/2 container of firm tofu (or) chicken (if you desire), cubed
  • dash of shallot salt
  • dash of marsala (or) sherry
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • serve with grated/shredded Parmigiano Reggiano

Start your clay pot with a generous pouring of olive oil, add in your chopped garlic, and let it heat a little on a low to medium flame. After a few minutes, add your carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, and red bell pepper. Dash in some marsala. Sprinkle in some shallot salt ( I like Penzey’s brand) or just sprinkle in some good sea salt (just a pinch). Once it’s going for a few minutes more, add in the mushrooms.

Dash in some more marsala, a little olive oil, and a little vegetable broth.

Let simmer and cover.

Add your thyme, and check the carrots and potatoes to see how tender they are. I find that if they are fresh from the farmers’ market, they are much more tender and sweet.

Once your stew is going, add more broth. Season with herbs, add pinches of sea salt, but make sure you taste along the way— you don’t want to make it salty.

Then, when the stew seems ‘there’ and the carrots and potatoes are tender, add the tofu (or chicken if you are using that). Turn the heat to a low to medium flame, and allow it to simmer.

COUSCOUS

While your stew is simmering away, make your couscous!

Couscous is quick and easy to make. It is not a ‘grain’ but a pasta. I keep several boxes on hand of a 5 minute type, pre-seasoned boxed couscous (Near East makes a good one). You can also buy it plain and create your own seasoning. This way is probably better, or more authentic, but sometimes you just need to make it quick and easy. I also like Israeli Couscous, or the Pearled Couscous.

To make the couscous, measure out 1 1/2 cups. Bring 2 cups of vegetable broth/mushroom broth (tastes earthier) to boil with a dash of olive oil. Once boiling pour in the couscous, turn off the heat and cover with a tight fitting lid.

I add more olive oil to the couscous when fluffing it up, as it can get clumpy. Remember, your veggie stew will also be added to this, so it will soak it up.

SERVE

Put a big serving spoon size of couscous into a bowl, and ladle your delicious stew on top of the couscous... top with grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and torn basil leaves, drizzle some extra olive oil on if you want.