You can use any fresh vegetables or lean pork, chicken, turkey or sausages you have on hand – just be sure to put the toughest veggies on the bottom so they cook longer.
- About 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 6 medium yellow or red onions, peeled and cut into quarters/wedges (attached by base)
- 4 chicken thighs, skinned
- 6 chicken apple sausages, cut into thirds
- 6 hot Italian pork sausages, cut into thirds
- 8 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 chunks
- 6 medium carrots or parsnips, not peeled, cut into 3-inch chunks
- 1 large butternut squash, peeled and seeded, cut into large chunks
- Baby eggplants (about 2 cups), not peeled, cut into large chunks
- 1 large red pepper, and 2 green peppers, seeded and cut into large chunks
- 3 jalepeño peppers and 2 hot chili peppers, seeded and chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
- 3 big portabello mushroom caps, cut into large chunks
- 12 whole peeled garlic cloves
- 2-3 cups fresh herbs, coarsely chopped: oregano, ginger mint, flat leaf parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 box chicken stock
- 2 cups Cabernet Sauvignon wine
- 1 large can crushed tomatoes
- 1 small can tomato sauce
- 1-2 tablespoons hot Madras curry powder
- 2-3 tablespoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 heaping tablespoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 2 cups (dry) brown, dark brown, mahogany or wild rice mixture (not white rice!)
Heat a large stew pot to high, then add 1/4 cup olive oil. Place quartered onions on bottom in one layer. Sear cut sides so they turn dark brown; keep turning gently until they all start to turn translucent. Try not to break them up. Drizzle with olive oil and push onions to one side of pan.
Brown the chicken thighs, then push to the side and brown the sausage chunks. Distribute onions and meat evenly across the bottom of the pan. Be gentle.
Add the vegetables in layers to the onions and meat, putting in what needs to cook the longest on the lower layers: potatoes, carrots, squash, eggplant, celery and peppers, then mushrooms, garlic and fresh herbs. Sprinkle with salt so the water starts to bleed out of the veggies.
Add chicken stock, wine, tomatoes and tomato sauce, pouring it over the top. Do not stir! Cover tightly and cook on high until veggies start to wilt and liquid rises to top, about 10 minutes.
Sprinkle about half of the remaining seasonings on top and turn over the very top layer to blend them in, but do not stir up lower layers. When liquid is visibly boiling all the way around the pot, cover loosely (you want a little steam to escape so broth will reduce) and reduce heat so that the stew is still boiling but the bottom will not burn – halfway between low-simmer on my stove.
Leave the stew alone and do not peek for 45 minutes. Go for a walk with your dog or get outside so that you’re not tempted to peek! Then remove lid and gently stir all layers to integrate ingredients, being careful not to break up any chunks. Add second half of seasonings and raisins. Loosely cover again and reduce heat to simmer.
In a separate pot, make the rice, or add it to the same pot if you prefer a one-pot meal. Cook another 30 minutes, until broth has thickened and everything is very tender and rice is done.
Drink wine and have some hors d'oeuvres. Adjust spices to taste and serve.