I don't know what I was thinking. Obviously! I left my kilogram of beets (bought for a dollar) in the oven for just over four hours last night. FOUR HOURS AT 180 C. It felt so tragic, I just couldn't look at them after the first glance. They were shriveled, rock hard little pieces of charred red-brown sadness.
All more more chafing was that the gas I used to cook the bejesus out of those beets probably cost $864. And gas is a one time burn, never to be seen again. So I needed to do something with the Pyre of Beet, like make something in the crock pot. Hooray! Here comes some Red Stew.
I had no canned beans so I had to boil up half a kg of dried kidney beans for about an hour and a half. While the beans were on the boil, I cut up the onions and threw them into the pot.
Here's the list of all the things that went in this Red Stew:
1 med red onion
1 med brown onion
3 jalapeño peppers from a can, chopped small, seeds included
2 med bulbs roasted garlic, squeezed out of the papery bits
1 400 g can condensed tomato soup
2 tablespoons dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon dried marjoram
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
400 g fresh mushrooms, cut into quarters
2 sticks celery, chopped very finely
500 g dried red kidney beans (I reckon about 5 of the 400 g can variety)
750 mL vegetable stock
250 mL water
What used to be 1 kg of beetroot, roasted to buggery
Aside from the beans having to be boiled and being drained then added last, everything went into the crock pot in a pretty haphazard way. My strategy for crock pots is really just to throw all the food in there and leave it cook for as long as I can wait, preferably at least six hours! I know that seems like forever sometimes, but it means the food is usually rather good. All the flavours develop and the hard things go nice and mooshy.
Anyway, I've ended up with a fairly runny product after being in the slow cooker on low now for four hours. It could do with some thickening up. You could cut up some carrots to really small dice and check them in and turn up to high, or add some flour or cornflour. Otherwise serve it with some millet or brown rice. Or put some rice in there for the last hour or so! I think we will need to discard the beets out of this stew, as they're probably going to be a bit too chewy, but they've imparted a gorgeous red colour and a lovely sweet flavor to offset the low burn of the jalapeños. And I feel heaps better for not having to waste the bargain beets straight up. Hooray!