By Mary Pratt
In the cold of winter, it’s time for the comfort of warm savory stews. The Saratoga Farmer’s Market has the needed ingredients and ideas from different cultures to spice your stews up.
Arnold Grant, of M & A Farm, is celebrating his 20th year at the market. Although most known for his family’s delicious breakfast sandwiches, he also raises and sells pork. Stewing pork is versatile; it can be used for Indian curry or French stew. Longlesson, Lewis Waite, Moxie Ridge, and Mariaville also raise pork. Pork butt (a shoulder cut) makes an excellent stew, as does fresh pork leg.
Christophe Robert, of Longlesson Farm, grows weaned piglets on pasture from spring until the snow falls. He also raises grass-fed beef until they are three to four years old to insure flavorful and marbled meat. Since Christophe is from France, he recommends making boeuf bourguignon, a stew with red wine and vegetables including onions and mushrooms, or a Flemish stew, boeuf carbonnade, with dark beer. He offers cubed beef for stew, but suggests that chuck will make stew that is more moist and flavorful.
Lewis-Waite Farm also raises grass-fed beef. Janet Lampman, who works for owners Nancy and Alan Brown, said it’s important to stew or oven-braise grass fed beef very slowly. She likes shanks or round roast.
Ann Carnes, of Ramble Creek Farm, offers a variety of chicken. She finds the best cuts for cooking a chicken stew are thighs or drumsticks. Squashville Farm’s Himanee and Jim Gupta-Carlson offer fresh heritage-breed roasting chickens, from which they use leftover meat for soups and stews. In the last ten minutes of cooking, the chicken is added to warm through. Most recently Himanee made a Peruvian stew called Cazuela (casserole).
Bob and Mary Pratt, of Elihu Farm, have raised lambs for over 30 years. After weaning, lambs graze for three seasons, and eat hay or baleage in winter. The best stew cuts are shoulder, shanks and neck. They enjoy making Moroccan tagine, Indian curry, and osso bucco.
Come talk with the farmers at the market to get recipe details and other ideas.