Samstag, 11. Januar 2014

Easy: Winter Stew

As I may have mentioned in earlier blogs, we get a box full of vegetables and fruit from a local organic farmer once a week. This week, one vegetable proved to intimidate me a little bit as I had never worked with it before, the Scorzonera hispanica. In German, it is commonly known by the name "Schwarzwurzel" which literally translates to "black root" - quite fitting. In English, it goes by more impressive names such as black salsify or Spanish salsify, scorzonera, black oyster plant, serpent root, viper's herb, or viper's grass. I like "viper's grass" best! :) It does not necessarily look very edible at first:

Despite its *ahem* "unique look", it's super awesome for you. It contains asparagine (natural amino acid), choline, laevulin, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, sodium, and vitamins A, B1, E and C. So I figured, I'd make a nice an healthy winter stew and accompany the viper's grass with some other awesome veggies. Especially since we all need our share of veggies in this gross winter weather. 

Potatoes (not pictured! :)) contains Vitamin C, B1, B2, B3, B6, potassium, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, and zinc. Carrots contain vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, folate, vitamin E, manganese, ...Savoy cabbage is awesome, too! It contains fiber, vitamins A, C, K, B6, folate, manganese, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and thiamin. Onions contain  phenolics, flavonoids, Vitamin C, B6, and folic acids. Leek contains vitamin A, B6, folate, vitamin C, K, manganese... The awesomeness of vegetables is endless. We should not kid ourselves: The cooking process will lower the vitamin content, but that's ok. 

So. Here are the ingredients for my healthy yummy winter stew!


  • 600g potatoes
  • 500g savoy cabbage
  • 700g viper's grass
  • 2 or 3 medium onions
  • 4 or 5 medium carrots 
  • 1 leek
  • 1.5 l water
  • salt
These are only rough amounts. You can replace most things on the list if you don't like it or don't have it at home. I wanted to try the viper's grass and needed to use up one of the savoy cabbages I had. 


  • First of all, you will need to peel the viper's grass. Use gloves!!

  • I mean it. The roots yield a milky substance that's not only super sticky, but also oxidates quickly, quickly dying your hands brown. 

  • I cut them in finger-length pieces so the peeling was easier. 
Peeled Viper's Grass
... already oxidating a bit.

  • Cook the viper's grass in lightly salted water. 
  • Cook the potatoes (in the peel!) in another pot.

    • Once potatoes and viper's grass are cooked, drain them and leave them on the side to cool down a bit.
    • Dice onions, heat up some vegetable oil in a big pot, roast onions for a bit.
    • Peel onions and cut in slices. 
    • Throw carrots in the pot with the onions and roast for a little while so the vegetables get a nice color. 
    • Add 1.5l of water and allow everything to cook for 5-10 minutes.
    • Season with salt.

    • Clean the leek, cut it in rings.
    • Cut the savoy cabbage in quarters, remove the stalk and cut the quarters in slices. 
    • Add cabbage and leek to the pot. 

    • Cook for another 3-4 minutes.
    • In the meantime, cut the viper's grass and potatoes in chunks.
    • Add these chunks to the pot. 
    • Mix everything well, season with more salt if necessary.
    • Season with fresh pepper if you like. 

    Probably the tastiest way to eat tons and tons of vegetables.
    If you like, you can also add some smoked tofu, cut in cubes.