Beautimous Beltane!

Happy Beltane everybody!
Beltane altar of lilacs and cows

We celebrated on Sunday by having my mom over and eating food - the best way to celebrate all things. Our menu included:
~Chicken stew
~Beet buns, both gluten-free and gluten-full
~Salad with peach vinaigrette
Prep began on Friday when I started the broth for the stew. I've covered in my blog before how I make broth, but to recap: throw a bunch of veggie butts and chicken bones into a slow cooker, cook forever. Not only is making your own broth simple, but it's far healthier than store-bought and provides a unique and complex flavor to everything you make with it, from risotto to soup to...other stuff. This will serve as the base for our stew.

On Friday I also prepped the beets, mostly to see how much I would get out of what I had so I would know if I needed to buy more. I got about 1.5 cups out of 5 pretty small beets, which is a hair short but enough to work with. I started by peeling and spiralizing them (also previously discussed in my bloggo) the thinnest they can go. Then from there, I chopped them up pretty fine. (The leftover beet butts got roasted up with some carrots yum yum)

Mighty Fine
Saturday afternoon I finished the broth and prepped the buns batter. It's a basic wheat bun recipe, but with beets and onion added to it. Beets are pretty juicy so that should be taken into account as well.

Then comes Sunday! 

Saute some onion and garlic; set aside. I removed the skin from some chicken thighs and quickly browned them in my dutch oven. I then added the broth and the onions, and cooked at 275 for 2-3 hours (I was going for 2, but by the time mom and I got back from errands it had been more - doesn't really matter). Scoop out the chicken and let cool.

Remove bones and weird gunk; put back in the dutch oven along with vegetables, couple bay leaves, and a tablespoon of sage and oregano. My vegetables were sweet onion, garlic, and carrots. Continue cooking at 275 for however long you feel like - I think mine cooked another 2 hours at least. 

Time to prep the beet buns! Here they are ready to go into the oven: 

Because I prepped the beets so far in advance a lot of the red juice had already bled out - normally they would come out much more red than this. Brush the tops with water and bake at 450 for 20 minutes.

Vinaigrette - I have some peach infused apple cider vinegar from the CSA. Vinaigrettes are one part acid to three parts fat, and from there can be customized to heck! So I used 1/4 cup vinegar and 3/4 cup olive oil (this makes a ton of dressing, but I wanted extra). I then seasoned with salt and pepper and whisked away! Very simple, very delicious.

Here it is all served up:

Confession: This picture is actually from the next day's lunch. I didn't take a dinner picture because I ate it. The food, not the picture.

Summary: The stew was souper amazing. I'm telling you, homemade broth is a game changer in making stews, chilis, soups, ANYTHING. Vinaigrette was good, but it's hard to go wrong with a simple mix like that. The beet buns were good, but not life-changing. They could definitely be improved upon.

For the festivities, we did a traditional walking the cattle through the bonfires! Or at least, as close as we could get.


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