Andrew Bird-Pulaski at Night
This week in New York, the temperature dropped below freezing. With the wind chill it was frigid. When I asked Jeff Held our Chef if he had biked to work on a morning speckled with snow flakes, he looked at me with disappointment and answered, “you didn’t?” So, I did the following day. Upon arrival, I wasn’t sure if my face would ever defrost. It is on days like these that warm, wholesome stews are an imperative. Growing up in New York, I never asked for the first days of winter to hit, but I knew it meant my grandmother’s goulash was around the corner. That, and my mother’s butternut squash soup kept me going through the winter months. Now that I am old enough to cook on my own, I’ve found catharsis in chopping vegetables and waiting for them to stew.
Finding Swiss Chard to be the best looking vegetable in the local market, I picked up a couple bundles to use as the main ingredient for both my stew. I added the usual suspects–carrots, shallots & celery–to my shopping list. Then a can of white butter beans, a clove of garlic, tomato puree, white wine and fresh herbs to complete. After throwing it all together, I waited while it simmered. Days later, tense with chills of a morning bike ride, I reheated my stew and with the first bite, my face began to regain feeling.