Hearty Vegetable Tomato Basil Stew

This is a heartwarming comfort stew for those soup-eating days.

Vegetable-Stew

Robby asked me to make a vegetable stew, so I rose to the challenge.  I’m normally not a fan of stews.  However, I discovered how tasty it can be when you put it under the broiler with some gruyere cheese bubbling on top.  I guess you could call it a Italian style stew with the tomato and basil, which really adds a whole new dimension to it.  Stews and soups are so versatile, get creative and use whatever veggies you like to make it your own!

Hearty-Vegetable-Stew

This hearty stew goes great with a nice red wine like a Sangiovese, Cabernet, Merlot, Tempranillo, Red Rioja or Pinot Noir.  The follow whites would be great as well; a white; a Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, White Rioja or a Rueda.

Hearty-Vegetable-Stew-with-Fresh-Basil

Recipe: 8 – 10 Servings

  • 5 Large Tomatoes  – blanch tomatoes remove skin and puree then set aside
  • 2 1/2 lb Yukon Potatoes – cut into bite size cubes
  • 1 Leek (about 2 1/2 Cups) – cut in half and sliced
  • 5 Carrots – thinly sliced
  • 3 Stalks Celery (about 1 Cup) – sliced lengthwise in 3 slices,  then thinly sliced (small piece)
  • 1 Red Onion – diced
  • 5 Cloves Garlic – minced
  • 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Unsalted Vegetable Bouillon Cube
  • 1/3 Cup Red Wine
  • 4 Cups Filtered Water
  • 2 Teaspoons Sherry Vinegar
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 2 Tablespoon Fresh Thyme – pull leaves off stems
  • 1 Tablespoon Paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon + 2 Teaspoon Sea Salt or to taste
  • 1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Basil – minced + extra for garnish – chiffonade
  • Gruyere Cheese (optional)

Instructions:

Core the tomatoes and add to a pot, cover with water and bring to a boil.  When skin begins to crack remove them and the onion with tongs. ( approx. 1 – 2 minutes)  Let cool and remove the skins and puree. (set aside)

Dice potatoes and set aside in a bowl of water.

You want to wash the leek really well.  There is always dirt on the inside.   Watch this how to video if you have never cooked with leek before.  Slice and set aside

In a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat add garlic, onions, celery, carrots and olive oil.

Heat for about 8 minutes or when onions are soft then add leeks stir and cook for a couple more minutes then.

Add bullion cubes and wine, mash bullion into the wine.  Reduce wine until syrupy.

Add water and bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer.  Cook until carrots are fairly soft. (about 15 minutes)

Add tomato sauce, potatoes and spices (not basil) and vinegar.

Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer, covered for 20 – 30 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

Stir occasionally while cooking, add basil at the end, remove and discard bay leaf.

Garnish with basil.

Option: Shred gruyere cheese on top and put under broiler for a minute or two until it becomes bubbly and golden.

Hearty-Vegetable-Tomato-Basil-Stew-

Health benefits:

Yellow Potatoes – Yukon gold’s content of potassium is higher than many foods and can help reduce the risk of hypertension and stroke.  They have twice the amount of vitamin C as a Russet, which helps protects your cells from free-radical damage. Yukon’s are rich in B6 and antioxidant properties. It has a bit of Iron but the C helps the body absorb it.  They contain fiber that helps reduces cholesterol, stabilizes blood sugar, helps prevent constipation and aids in weight loss.

Tomatoes are great for the heart due to the extreme antioxidant support, niacin, folate and vitamin B6 that help the reduction of heart disease.  They are also high in vitamins A, C, K and potassium.  The choline in tomatoes helps assist the absorption of fat and reduces chronic inflammation.  It also helps with sleep, muscle movement, learning and memory.  Tomatoes are high in Lycopene the antioxidant that gives tomatoes their red color.  Cooking tomatoes breaks down the cell walls, which helps to release the lycopene and is better absorbed by the body with a little bit of fat like olive oil.  The Zea-xanthin in them helps filtering harmful ultra-violet rays, which protect eyes from “age-related macular disease.”  They are also a powerful blood purifier and great for skin and bone health.

Fresh Basil has anti-aging, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.  The herb contains exceptionally high levels of beta-carotene and vitamin A and is rich in zea-xanthin an anti-oxidant that helps protect age-related macular disease.  It has a good amount of Iron and also helps to detoxify the liver.  It contains phytochemicals that may lower cortisol, a hormone secreted when you’re stressed that causes weight gain, so add some fresh basil to you water or tea.

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