Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Chef Aloia, Student Whip Up Winter Stew on Ch. 4

Preparing Winter Vegetable Stew, on Good Things Utah

SLCC Culinary Arts student David Chen (l-r), host Reagan Leadbetter and Chef Franco Aloia

Staff at Ch. 4's Good Things Utah raved as the savory smells of stew filled the air in the studio for a segment with Salt Lake Community College Culinary Institute's Chef Franco Aloia and student David Chen. Aloia and host Reagan Leadbetter discussed the ingredients for a recipe called Winter Vegetable Stew while Chen demonstrated deft knife skills while slicing up the veggies. Below is the recipe and images from the appearance on Ch. 4, along with a few cooking tips. Click here for a link to the full segment on Good Things Utah.

Winter Vegetable Stew

YIELD: 12 Servings/3 Quarts
2 quarts           Vegetable broth
½ pound          Parsnip, oblique cut
½ pound          Rutabaga, medium dice
½ pound          Turnip, medium dice
½ pound          Carrot, oblique cut
1                      Butternut Squash, large dice
1                      Purple Cauliflower, ¾” florets
1 pound           Red Potatoes, large dice
½ pound          Yellow Onion, small dice
6 cloves          Garlic, minced
14 ounces       Tomatoes, whole, peeled canned
3 sprigs           Thyme
2                      Bay Leaves
1 Tablespoon  Paprika
8 ounces         Crème Fraiche
3 ounces         Vegetable Oil
½ ounce          Chives, chopped
                        Salt and Pepper, to taste


1.    Wash vegetables in fresh cold water and set aside to air dry.
2.    Peel carrots, parsnips and butternut squash. Reserve.
3.    Cut vegetables: butternut squash (large dice ¾”), red potatoes (large dice ¾”), rutabaga (medium dice ½”), turnip (medium dice ½”), carrot (oblique), parsnip (oblique), purple cauliflower (¾” florets), yellow onion (small dice ½”), garlic (mince), tomatoes (chop into small pieces) & chives (slice thin *set aside for garnish).
4.    In large (4 quart) stock pot over medium heat add oil and sauté onion until it is translucent then add garlic.
5.    Immediately add tomatoes and stir in remaining vegetables.
6.    Season with salt and pepper and add vegetable broth (room temperature) just until vegetables in pot are covered with liquid while remaining on medium heat.
7.    Stir in paprika, add aromatics (thyme and bay leaf) and cover with lid while remaining on medium heat.
8.    Cook until liquid in pot comes up to a gentle simmer.
9.    Skim foam after 10 minutes of gentle simmering.
10.  Continue to cook for another 30-40 minutes until vegetables are fork tender aka “al dente”.
11.  Pull out thyme sprigs and bay leaves then, taste stew and adjust seasoning if needed.
12.  Portion into bowl. Garnish with crème fraiche and chives.
13.  Serve steaming hot with sourdough baguette.

Tip #1: Knife skills and safety

While using a chef’s knife, with your cutting hand, grip the knife by choking up on the handle, keeping the thumb and index finger gripping the top of the blade. You will be using the weight of the knife, its sharpness and your arm strength to make your cuts. With your helping hand, curl your fingertips under, bunch them together and use your knuckles to grip the ingredient for the safest method. Make your cuts using a rocking motion that starts toward the tip of the blade and works backward, raising up each time to start a new cut. If you are chopping, know that there are several methods depending on the ingredient you’re preparing.
*For amputees or those with use of only one hand, look for specialized cutting boards that hold the items you’re cutting while gripping the knife with your remaining or viable hand.

Tip #2: Your goal: same-sized cuts

Whether it’s meat or a dense fruit or vegetable, you will want to try and make all of your cutting produce pieces that are the same size. It’s important because you need all of those cuts cooked evenly and thoroughly. If you’re off a little, that’s okay. But cutting up ingredients that are noticeably quite different can lead to undercooked or overcooked pieces.

Tip #3: Soup? Stew? What should I call it?

Soups are served hot or cold and can be clear or thick and can be based from bouillon (broth with ingredients) or consume, which contains only clarified broth. Other soups can contain a thickening agent, labeling them a puree, bisque, cream or veloutes. So, when it comes to stew, it is basically a soup, but with a lot less liquid or broth, and it tends to be an ingredient-intensive soup with a lot more chunks and bites. And if you want to throw chowder into the semantic mix, then know that it’s considered a stew that is thickened with cream or milk. Clear as cream, right?