Spring being what it is in Utah means that winter can return at a moments notice. This means that soups, stews and chillies are a great way to settle in and enjoy a cold, wet spring night. Which is exactly what we did this past week. Some things were made from scratch, others were canned and both were served with home made bread.
We also participated in a neighborhood Block Party sponsored by our church. It was a fun evening meeting old and new neighbors while getting out into the spring sunshine even if it was cold. Fortunately we slipped the dinner in between storms.
My contribution was a chili bar with both a traditional south west chili with beans, a pot of chili verde and an assortment of toppings. A simple bowl of chili can be expanded into a great meal by just serving it over some chips and adding what ever toppings you like. To take it a step further serve the whole thing over a bed of lettuce or other salad greens for a great chili to taco salad.
So take a simple dish of chili or stew, serve it over a carbohydrate like chips, potatoes, rice or pasta and add to it toppings that both compliment it and balance out a complete meal. Chili over macaroni or spaghetti are good alternatives to chips or potatoes. If you are making a stew try doing traditional Irish stew which does not include potatoes. If you cook the potatoes into the stew they become mushy and begin to dissolve into the stew. Instead roast the potatoes skin-on with a little oil and sea salt. Then split the potato in a bowl and serve the stew on top of it. This gives you a flavorful potato with a crispy skin that is distinct from the stew that you serve on top of it.
Next week should be interesting. I will be on the road again and will attempt to post from the road on my phone. John