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  Sweet and Sour Spring Vegetable Stew



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1 cup dried tomatoes soaked in 2 cups warm water OR 1 cup red wine and 1 cup warm water
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
4 cups cabbage, chopped
2 bulbs fennel, sliced
4-6 small to medium tomatoes, whole
3 allspice berries
1/2 teaspoon Hungarian Paprika
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 roasted beets, chopped
salt, sugar and red wine vinegar to taste
sour cream or yogurt (optional)

Heat oil and stir in onions and fennel seeds. Cook over medium heat until onions are
translucent. Add cabbage and stir until wilted, then mix in fresh fennel and tomatoes. Cook
covered until tomatoes burst, then add spices, beets and rehydrated tomatoes with their juices.
Bring to a boil, making sure to completely smash the fresh tomatoes with the back of your spoon.
Now it’s time to do some work. Is there enough broth?—are the contents of the pan
covered at least 3/4 of the way? - if not add a little water, up to a cup. Now taste a sample—try
to include veggies and broth. The taste should be deep and earthy, a little sweet yet slightly
tangy from the tomatoes and wine. A little salt will help bring out the flavors, but about 1/4
teaspoon sugar (or honey) to bring out more natural sweetness. If you find it too sweet—
sometimes the tomatoes aren’t very tangy—add a few dashes of red wine vinegar.
Let the whole dish simmer covered for 20-30 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature
with dark rye or pumpernickel bread and a dollop of sour cream or thick yogurt. Store covered
in the refrigerator.

Copyright © 2009 Stefanie Samara Hamblen