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Old-Timey Eats: Texas Depression Days Stew

This entry is part of a series, RdJ Marathon»

Dutch Oven

It may not be the Depression anymore (although I know some folks who would dispute that), but some of the poor-folk food that was invented to feed families on next-to-nothing has come back into vogue recently. It’s more than the economic tough times; some of those old-timey dishes really did have great flavor.

Because they were made from fresh ingredients, produced nearby.

The modern locavore fad has nothing on the way people used to eat, say anytime before the Vietnam War. There are a lot of folks who never forgot how to eat “fresh and local” either. One of the dishes these people would easily recognize is:

The original dish here has only seven ingredients and some seasoning. If you don’t like canned peas, try a pound of frozen ones, or even freshly-shelled ones if you have them. (We’ll be having some this week, it appears!) Or go with baby limas. In a pinch I’ve used corn; and believe me, the originators of dishes like this one wouldn’t have hesitated to use fresh corn!

This dish scales easily to feed larger groups. There’s probably a way to make it in a slow cooker as well, but so far I’ve not been able to get the same effect on the onions. You see, one of the things the onion does is scorch on the bottom of the Dutch oven, so the other ingredients don’t. And that makes for a crispy-crunchy, caramelized onion flavor that’s not possible without a lot of direct heat. Still, it wouldn’t be bad in a slow cooker.

That’s the beauty of simple food like this; it doesn’t really require a recipe, or a specific type of hardware, to come out comforting and tasty…

Enjoy the (Old is New Again) Heat!

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