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Generally Recognized As True: Local beef stew in the Schlemmertopf

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Local beef stew in the Schlemmertopf

Hmmm... what could be inside the Schlemmertopf? Well, I already gave away the secret.

The Schlemmertopf is an interesting cooking method, though. It has two halves: a internally-glazed bottom half, and a porous top half. You soak the top half in water for about 20 minutes (which is about the same as the ingredient prep time), throw in your ingredients, and cook it in an unpreheated hot oven, where the lid releases steam inside the pot as it heats up. Clay holds heat very well, so it gets very hot in there. A beef stew cooks in about 80 minutes. The bottom glaze makes cleaning much easier (or probably possible at all). After coming out of the oven, it takes about an hour for the clay pot to cool down so that you can touch it without gloves.

So, here's what went into this beef stew, from a local perspective:
  • 1 lb. stewing beef: from the supermarket, and fresh, so I assume it was at least Ontario beef
  • 3 tomatoes: the yellow and red tomatoes that I picked yesterday from my garden, plus one more that I went out and picked this morning.
  • 3 green bell peppers: from the supermarket; Ontario-grown.
  • 2 small onions: these were my Whole Circle Farm CSA onions from this week and last week, so they were grown in Acton (20km away).
  • 6 new potatoes: also from Whole Circle Farm CSA
  • 5 small/medium carrots: from Whole Circle Farm CSA
  • 5 sprigs of thyme: a combination of regular thyme and lemon thyme from my garden
  • 1 tsp. curry powder: imported from India, sadly
  • 2 tbsp. salt: unrefined grey sea salt from France
  • pepper: don't know where it's from, but it's not local
  • 2 dried bay leaves: don't know where these are from

So, I think that's pretty good when judged from a local perspective! Except for the seasoning and spices, it is completely local. Seasoning and spices are so light and small that I don't think foreign sourcing is a problem.

This isn't a recipe post, so I won't bore you with the preparation details.

Here's the result below. Note that no liquid or oil was added to the above ingredients. The juices and liquids were released from the foods within during cooking.

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