Cooking Lent - Recipes        Stews
We offer these recipes as a help in adding to our prayer and experience of solidarity with the poor during Lent.  Of course, they can be used at any time during the year.

Ratatouille

This dish is full of flavor and easy to make, and can be adapted in a variety of ways.

1 Eggplant 
3 Zucchini
3 Yellow Squash
5 or 6 Plum Tomatoes (or canned tomatoes)
2 bell peppers
1 medium onion
6 cloves of garlic
1 Tablespoon of Basil and Oregano
1/2 Teaspoon of ground black pepper.
1/2 Teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
3 Bay Leaves
olive oil
parmesan cheese

Peel and cube the Eggplant, Zucchini and Squash.  Slice the tomatoes.  (Hand crush canned tomatoes.)  Remove tops and inner membranes from peppers; slice and cut slices in half.  Slice Onion, and then quarter the slices.  With flat side of knife, press down on garlic cloves; remove skin; slice.

In a large soup pot, sauté peppers, onions and garlic in a small amount of olive oil - adding peppers first, then onions, then garlic - until onions are turning transparent.

Then add Eggplant, Zucchini, Squash, Tomatoes and seasonings.  Add enough water to cover vegetables.

Cook on medium heat until liquid begins to boil.  Lower to a simmer and cook for one hour, stirring occasionally.  (Mixture may also be poured into a casserole dish and baked at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, uncovered for the last 15 minutes.)

Serve in bowls, topped with grated parmesan cheese.

Freeze leftovers, or share with a family or friend who may need a wonderfully prepared home cooked meal.


Root Vegetable Stew

1 medium Rutabaga
2 Turnips
4 Parsnips
2 carrots
3 stalks of celery
1 onion
4 cloves of garlic
salt, pepper, basil, oregano to taste
2 T tomato paste

Since these vegetables are often preserved by "waxing" them, they will need to be peeled, with a potato peeler or a paring knife (and the peels can't be saved).  They are hard and need to be cubed into spoon sized pieces.

Chop and sauté the onions, celery and garlic in a stewing pot, using enough oil for them to be moist.  Add the seasonings to taste.  Cover the mixture with water and then add several more cups of water.  Bring to a boil and cook on low for 2 hours.  Add water, and seasonings as needed.   Adding the tomato paste to the stew, after an hour, adds a rich flavor and color.

If a thicker stew is desired, remove some of the broth and let it cool.  Slowly add the cooled broth to a bowl with 3-4 tablespoons of flour.  Whisk the flour into the liquid and add to the stew, returning the mixture to a near boil, stirring as it thickens.

(This stew does very well overnight in a crock pot.)  (It also works wonderfully well as a "pot pie," if cooked for one hour in a stew pot and then poured into a pie pan, with or without a dough bottom, and covered with pie dough.  Then bake one more hour in the oven.)
 

These stews are examples of very healthy meals which people have made for a very long time.  Many of these families grew the food they ate.  So these stews often were much more than meals.  They were part of a culture, a way of life, a set of values.

Most of us will have to go to the store to purchase these vegetables.  For some of us, these are vegetables we have never seen, let alone cooked with.  If we start with a great desire to let this cooking draw us closer to the Lord and to those in need, then preparing these special meals can become times of grace.
 

Blessed are you,
Lord God of all creation,
for it is from
your goodness
that we have
this produce
that comes from
the earth
as your gift.

I thank you
for this time
to break a pattern
and to try
something new.

I know that you
are working hard
to break so many
patterns within me.

I know you want
to show me
many new ways
you want to
feed me
with your love,
your strength,
and your call.

Let this meal,
help me not only
to abstain
from meat,
but from all
that is not
good for me.

Place me
in a greater
solidarity of
compassion
with those who
live close to
the earth and
who grow their
daily food.

As I grow
in affection
for them,
let them
teach me
the joy of
simplicity
and trust in you.

I receive
and share
these gifts
from your
bounty,
through Christ
our Lord.



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