Base cuisine: trapper’s stew

Base cuisine is the opposite of haute cuisine. It’s something made with inexpensive ingredients and short preparation that can be cooked by engineering students who have other things to do than cook.

Trapper’s stew is a continuous rotating recipe. On the first day, make a stew or soup. Make enough so that you eat only 1/2 to 2/3 of it. Refrigerate the leftovers. On succeeding days, bring out the leftovers, throw in another more meat, starch, or veg, and boil it up again. When you finally eat a whole batch, you’re finished. If you get tired of it or it gets glutinous or terminally bland, discard it.

This time, I started with dry soup mix, which contains yellow and green peas, rice, barley, and pasta (alphabet soup!).

I chopped an onion and fried it in oil, then mixed in water, about a cup of soup mix, some chopped ham, and a can of diced tomatoes. There may have been some oregano and a drop or two of liquid smoke. It was fine, if a bit bland.

The next day I added some more ham.

The day after that I added cooked pasta (my new favourite, radiatori). By that time, it was just flavoured pasta. But it was certainly OK for lunch.

I could see it needed something more than pasta. Today’s contribution was frozen lima beans and frozen green beans, corn, and carrot, plus some oregano and half-salt.

For tomorrow’s meal, I’m adding some tomato sauce and cooked meat, then perhaps some green herbs. I still have a bit of rapini to use up. Or a yam. Or some butternut squash.


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