Empty Bowl: A fundraiser for Hospitality House

A recipe for Pot ‘O Gold Saffron Vegetable Medley Stew, by Jeff Olson, Kitchen Manager at Hospitality House

Hospitality House Culinary Instructor Jeff Olson and Culinary Students Chris J. and Chad B. select donated BriarPatch produce for their Pot O’ Gold Soup for the Saturday, March 17 Empty Bowl benefit for Hospitality House.

When word got to us that this year’s Empty Bowl event falls on St. Patrick’s Day, I clamored inside to think of all the possibilities. Since I had received a generous donation of stew-able lamb, potato, rosemary in huge bushes, and vegetables everywhere, I was inclined to whip up some Irish Stew. But even though my lamb dishes are not very “lamby,” I know that lamb can scare away folks, no matter what you do.

Then I was presented with the thought that we should do a green soup. My thoughts then went to a huge delicious bucket of Cream of Spinach with nutmeg. Or maybe a Broccoli Kale dish, or… or…and then a flood of volunteer soup creations came to me: Split Pea Soup, Spinach Soup, Kale Soup, Green Soups of incalculable measure….
Then another influence came in, suggesting something I had not thought of, ever: A Pot O’ Gold Soup! YES!

Thanks to BriarPatch for donating the ingredients for this soup which will be served at this year’s Empty Bowl March 17th and to Debbie MacDonald for the inspiration to make Pot O’ Gold Soup!

Pot O’ Gold Saffron Vegetable Medley Stew

Yield : 1.5 gallon
Cooking time: 45 minutes

  • Saffron threads – a good pinch (optional)
  • Vegetable Broth – 1 gallon
  • 6 Baby Purple Cipollini Onions, peeled,
  • Gently roasted (see below*), then cut into quarters
  • 12 Rainbow Carrots, large, cut into ¼” rounds
  • 1 Romanesco, cut into petite florets
  • 2 Broccoli, cut into petite florets
  • 3 Yellow and 3 Orange Bell Peppers, cut into ¼“ squares
  • 2 ears Yellow Corn, freshly “kerneled” (cut from the ear into nibs)
  • 4 Purple Potatoes, peeled, cut into ½-inch cubes and parboiled
  • 2 oz. curly Parsley, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

*Take the peeled whole Cipollini onions and coat them with a light oil (like olive or your favorite fruit oil), then place them on a small greased pan and place in a preheated oven (350F) for 10 minutes until gently browned. Add them in the beginning and they will impart an amazing roasted onion
flavor to the saffron vegetable broth.

This is a very easy stew to make. We follow the principle of hard vegetables first, then soft vegetables. Slowly bring your broth to a gentle simmer with the saffron and roasted onions, and season with your favorite herbs and spices. (I like sage and a bit of rosemary.)

Toss in your first four ingredients (onions through romanesco) and slowly stew for 30 minutes, adding a bit of salt and pepper as needed. When the vegetables have softened a bit but are still vibrant, add the remaining ingredients. My preference is to cook the potatoes till they’re soft ahead of time and add them at the end. (I despise a cloudy stock!)
Cook slowly for about another 15 minutes and get the stew off the heat so the colors don’t fade. Add a bit of parsley, perhaps a tad more seasoning, and there you have it: a subtle, flavorful. Early spring bounty of fresh in-season vegetables.

A Veritable Pot ‘O Gold!

Empty Bowl
Saturday, March 17
Lunch noon, supper 5pm
Peace Lutheran Church
Choose your own hand-crafted wooden or ceramic bowl, fill it with your choice of soup, and enjoy your meal with friends. With this simple meal of soup and bread, you stand in solidarity with people who are hungry and homeless. You will also hear directly from Hospitality House guests and Executive Director, Nancy Baglietto. A great event for families! You can buy your tickets at Customer Service or online at www.hhshelter.org.

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