super stew-fry

This is derived from a recipe of my dad's. The philosophy is to throw a bunch of different things into a skillet or wok, in reverse order of how long they take to cook. In the end, you should end up with something halfway between a stew and a stir-fry: the flavors mix a little bit, but there's still a lot of variation. The variation is especially strong if you add some fruit in at the end, which makes the dish less savory but more interesting.



You'll need a large skillet or wok to hold all the ingredients. Sauté the sausages in the oil, garlic and onions, for a few minutes. Add the mushrooms, using the wine to cool the pan until they start letting out their own juice. A few minutes later, add the garbanzo beans. Reduce the heat to medium, and spice to taste with salt, pepper, basil and oregano. Add the pepper a few minutes later, then the tomato, then the olives, then the fruit, spacing a few minutes between each. Stop cooking and serve it soon after you add the fruit.

Stew-fry is very open to substitutions and additions; this is just one version of it. I often start by cooking some other kind of meat, such as marinated chicken or beef, or just leave the meat out for a vegetarian dish. Obviously, you don't need 3 different kinds of mushrooms. That's just for kicks. I've had at least some success using fava beans, potatoes or carrots (boil 'em first to soften 'em up), tofu or jalapeño or banana peppers. Another interesting modification is to spice some of the ingredients individually; for example, you might add salt and vinegar to the tomatoes and add cinnamon to the apple. This is why I prefer Andouille sausage or marinated meat in this recipe: it gives the meat its own special flavor.

Serves 4.