The rains last week definitely pushed us over the hump of plenty of water. There are puddles everywhere and the fields are quite flooded. The ponds are full and overflowing. We are hopeful for a little sun and drying weather this week, maybe we can sneak in and weed or pop some plants in the ground. Who knows if they will be able to grow but we have beautiful starts ready in the greenhouse.
The list of winter projects is shrinking and growing at the same time; as we finish one task, we think of another that would be great to accomplish.
This week's pick list
- Brussel sprouts
Japanese Root Vegetable Stew, adapted from nytimes.com
- 10 to 12 dried Japanese or Chinese shiitake mushrooms (about 1 1/2 ounces)
- 1 piece kombu, about 7 by 3 1/2 inches
- 1 pound bone-in chicken thighs (2 to 3), skins removed if you prefer (or substitute bone-in breast meat), optional
- 4 ounces celery root or potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 4 ounces daikon or other radishes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (or use kohlrabi)
- 4 ounces carrots peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup sake
- 2 ½ tablespoons Japanese soy sauceor tamari, more to taste
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 ounces turnip or winter squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- Rice wine vinegar, to taste
- Ground sansho pepper, shichimi togarashi or good smoky chile powder, for garnish
In a medium bowl, soak dried mushrooms in water overnight at room temperature. (Alternatively, you can cover mushrooms with hot water and let soak for 2 hours.)
Remove mushrooms, reserving the soaking liquid. Slice off stems and discard them. Cut the caps into 1/4-inch pieces.
Place kombu in a large pot, add mushrooms and their soaking liquid, and bring to a boil over high heat.
Meanwhile, make a drop lid (called an otoshibuta in Japanese) by folding foil into a round just smaller than the pot. Poke a few holes in the drop lid with a chopstick or knife.
As soon as liquid boils, remove kombu and discard or save to reuse. Add chicken, radish, carrot, sake, soy sauce, sugar and salt to the pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, place drop lid directly on top of cooking vegetables and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 25 minutes.
Remove chicken from the pot and set aside. Add turnip to the pot, cover pot again with drop lid, and simmer for another 15 to 20 minutes, until vegetables are cooked through but not mushy.
Meanwhile, shred cooled chicken and divide among four bowls. Stir rice wine vinegar into stew, along with salt to taste, then ladle it into the bowls with the chicken. Garnish with sansho powder or shichimi togarashi and serve.