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Bacon and Kale Stew (Yes, Really!)

1 TBSP oil (olive or vegetable)

1 onion

4 cloves garlic

4 to 6 stalks celery

4 carrots (or 1 bag frozen chopped carrots)

1 turnip

12 ounces bacon (or more if you like!)

4 cups water or broth

2 cans Great Northern White beans


2 cups shredded cheese (cheddar, gouda, or any hard cheese)

2 TBSP Spice by Rachel Sweet BUTTERY AUTUMN MIX

This meal can be quicker if the prep is done beforehand, if desired.

Rinse off the turnip but don't be daunted by the thick waxy layer. This is done by the harvester so the vegetable does not dry out and stays fresh. Use a large knife and carefully cut off the top where the greens grow out of. If the bottom looks like it is too difficult to peel, feel free to slice a bit off that end too. Use a vegetable peeler to peel the waxy skin off. A metal peeler works best. When you finish peeling, rinse off the peeled turnip and discard the peels. Slice the turnip in half the long way so that the two halves can sit on the cutting board without rolling around while you're trying to cut them. Slice both of the halves into bite-sized pieces and set these aside in a large bowl.

Now rinse off the celery stalks and remove the leaves. Slice these about 1/4 inch thick and add to the bowl with the turnip. Wash the onion and chop and then add the onion to the vegetable bowl. If using whole carrots instead of frozen ones, scrub with a vegetable brush under running water and then slice a little more thinly than the celery. There's no need to peel carrots! Add the carrots to the bowl. Finally, take each of the cloves of garlic (you buy a 'head' of garlic at the store and each of the little pieces are called 'cloves') and gently smash them with the side of your knife. This makes them much easier to peel because they separate from the papery skin. Go easy! After peeling and rinsing the garlic, mince by piling them and chopping with your knife. As the pile spreads out, rake it back together using the knife, and keep chopping until the pieces are very small. Add the garlic to the vegetable bowl. If desired, cover the bowl and stick it in the fridge until you are ready to make the stew.

Cook the bacon until it is pretty crispy. It will add crunch to the stew and the broth will soften it anyway. Lay the strips on a hot pan and cover the pan to minimize splatter. Use tongs to flip the bacon slices once they start to curl up and cook on the other side. Lay the cooked bacon on a plate with a paper towel on it to absorb the grease. When all the bacon has been cooked, put the cooked strips onto a cutting board and chop these like you did with the garlic. Make a pile and chop it down into small pieces, if the pile spreads out too much just scrape it back together and keep chopping. If desired, put the bacon pieces into a tupperware container with a paper towel lining it and store it in the fridge until you are ready to make the stew.

If you've stored your previously prepared vegetables and bacon in the fridge, take them out and set aside. Add the tablespoon of oil to a large pot and heat to medium. Allow the oil to heat up and then dump the entire bowl of vegetables into the pot. Stir occasionally and cook for 15 minutes. While the vegetables are cooking, open the cans of beans and dump them into a colander. Rinse the beans and set aside until the vegetables have cooked for 15 minutes. Then add the beans, the broth or water, and the 2 tablespoons of BUTTERY AUTUMN MIX to the pot and stir well to mix. Cover the pot and turn the heat down to its lowest setting. Allow the stew to cook, covered for a half hour.

While the stew cooks, wash the kale in the colander and rip pieces off of the stem. Set these aside in the bowl until the stew has cooked for the half hour. Then add the kale to the pot, cover, and allow to cook 10 more minutes.

To serve, ladle the piping hot stew into bowls. Top with the shredded cheese and sprinkle a hearty portion of bacon on top.



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