Okay so I need to come clean on this one. Stew might be a bit of a misnomer. I mean, stew just brings to mind big chunks of red meat simmering in rich gravy with vegetables, right?
There’s no meat here. Well…a bit of bacon because you can’t have soup without a bit of bacon. Other than that it’s just vegetables, but I can’t call it soup because that just sounds so…thin.
This is anything but thin. Thick and rich and creamy, yes. Definitely not thin.
So stew it is.
And I didn’t exactly forage any of the ingredients.
But I did dream about it. I was walking through a forest with the cutest little basket, and as I wandered I gathered wild onions and mushrooms and herbs. It was so incredibly peaceful and soul nourishing. I woke up and knew exactly what I needed to do.
It wasn’t cooking the Loaded Baked Potato Soup that I had planned. Oh no.
Forager Stew, Baby.
It started as all great recipes do with a big cauldron, some melted butter, and heaps of chopped vegetables.
Today was earthy brown mushrooms, leeks, potatoes, herbs, and more garlic than I’m prepared to admit. Topped off with some homemade stock and left to bubble on the stove all day. It was the perfect choice for a cold, grey day.
And the house smelled amazing.
Let’s get started.
- Portobello mushrooms
- Sweet onion
- Minced garlic
- Chicken stock
- Evaporated milk
First, set your biggest cauldron on the stove and toss in some butter and mushrooms. Give it a liberal sprinkling of salt.
I used sweet onion, but really any onion would do. Shallot would be amazing. Toss it in the pot right behind the mushrooms.
Once the mushrooms and onions start to get a good aroma going, add the garlic.
Now when I say, “Add the garlic,” I mean, “ADD THE MOTHER F’ING GARLIC.” About a whole head or so.
Just trust me.
This is also a good time to add the spices. Rosemary, thyme, and parsley practically begged to go in the pot.
After that, it’s time for the leeks.
I know that looks like a lot, but I promise they are going to wilt down to a quarter of their size.
I didn’t actually measure. They just get a lot smaller. See? No crazy onion monster here.
You know what’s coming next, right? Potatoes! Five delicious pounds of them.
A word on the potatoes… Chop them smaller than you think you should. The mushrooms shrink. The onion shrinks. The leeks shrink. The potatoes don’t really shrink. You want to end up with something small enough that you can get all the flavors in one bite.
I also don’t chop them all the same size. Some of them I chop super tiny. Basically those ones are going to disintegrate into the broth and make it super thick and creamy.
Sure you could mash some of the potatoes at the end or hit it with an immersion blender, but just let the potatoes do their thing. They want to make a delicious soup! All you have to do is chop them up and cover them with broth.
This is where I get snobby. If you have it, use homemade stock.
Am I all about shortcuts? Yes. Do I want you to make life easier on yourself? Yes. Am I willing to risk your dinner? No.
If you use water, it’ll taste like water. If you use store bought broth, it’s going to be bland. You are worth so much more than that. You are worth the golden, multi-noted, flavorful nectar that is homemade stock.
If you’ve made my Magical Chicken, you’re already halfway to homemade stock! It practically makes itself. And if you don’t know how to make it, I promise I will show you how to soon.
But I digress…
Bring your brew to a boil and let it bubble away until your potatoes are tender enough to pierce. Turn down the heat along the way if it starts getting out of hand.
I promised this was going to be a creamy soup so we’ve got to add some kind of dairy. I’m sure that milk, half and half, or even heavy cream would work just fine. I had a can of evaporated milk hanging out in the pantry so that worked just fine.
So here’s the secret… Don’t let it boil again. There is just something about scalded milk that makes me sad.
Give it a couple minutes and then give it a taste. Mine needed a crack of pepper and a pinch of salt.
Serve it up with shredded cheese, green onions, bacon, or maybe another pinch of parsley.
My kids literally licked their bowls. It was amazing.
And Now For The Kitchen Witchery
Everything has a bit of magick to it and the food we consume is no different. The joy of kitchen witchery is using that magick to bolster our own will and intentions whilst nurturing both our bodies and souls. So much more so if we’re also stirring in our depthless love for our familes.
Let’s look at what this bowl brings to the table.
Mushrooms have been associated with witches throughout history. According to Christians in the 1500′s witches ate certain mushrooms to transform their bodies into entire beings entirely (I wish) but most likely they just liked tripping on some ‘shrooms. (Source)
The Magickal Properties of Mushrooms
- Psychic Awareness
- Fae Magick
Onions have been used in spells for ages. They are usually associated with protection, exorcism, healing, money spells, prophetic dreams and lust.
The Magickal Properties of Onions
- Banishing negative influence
- Ending bad habits
- Removing illness
One of the most repeated ideas is that burning the dry skins will bring you money. This can be a powerful visual representation, suggesting that as you burn the skins and chant your words, imagine you have money to burn. I have read many different chants and verses to go with this, but it is my belief that the words you come up with yourself will be the most effective.
One of the things I find very useful about the onion in spells and visualizations is the fact that it has many layers. It makes an excellent symbol for spells related to shedding of old habits, bad feelings or relationships. It is also a good representation of finding one’s true self beneath the layers of outer self. (source)
Sometimes it is a bit harder to find ancestral lore regarding a certain vegetable. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t magickal. All things hold a bit of the magick of creation within them. It just means that you need to look a little closer at its family to discern its properties.
Leeks are in the onion family. They actually look a lot like giant scallions. They don’t have a bulb and they aren’t very pungent. In fact they are actually quite mild. So we can look at onions and consider that the leeks probably hold the milder of the onion’s attributes. In this way, it is generally agreed that leeks have the magickal properties of love, physical strength, protection, and the strengthening of existing love.
Garlic is attributed with the power to weave white magic and repel the evil forces of black magic. It has long been used against vampires and the plague. In some parts of the world mothers use a clove of garlic to protect their infant children from the “evil eye”. (source)
The Magickal Properties of Garlic
- Protection from theft
- Expels negative energies
- Prevent malevolent influences during divination
- Breaking hexes or jinxes
- Prevents gossip
Garlic is often hung over doors to repel negative or malevolent energies. This stems from old folklore in which people believed that hanging garlic over the windows and doors would prevent malevolent spirits and vampires from being able to enter. Garlic and the Allium family have the unique magickal properties of being extremely strong repellents while also being strong attractants of love and lust. (source)
Magickal Properties of Rosemary
- Sun Magick
- Attracting Elves
Magickal properties for rosemary abound and this beautiful herb is one that should have a standing spot in both your magickal workings and your kitchen. Use rosemary when you’re focusing on areas pertaining to love, attraction, spicing up your life, the solar plexus, dream work, warding off nightmares, memories, loyalty, sleep, strength, kitchen witchery, home blessings and protection, family, jealousy, bonding, purification, divination, protection from the evil eye, cleaning your space, offerings, the dead, hedge riding, spirits, ancient history, creativity, strengthening relationships, rejuvenation, bathing, and the element of air. (source)
Thyme was used as early as 3000 BCE by Sumerians as an antiseptic. It does indeed have impressive antiseptic qualities. It was used as an embalming herb in ancient Egypt and was burned in other places as offerings to celebrate Rites of Passing. It was placed in coffins throughout Europe to ensure passage into the next world. (Source)
Magickal Properties of Thyme
- Psychic Powers
Attracts loyalty, affection, and the good opinion of others. Wear a sprig to ward off unbearable grief or provide strength and courage when needed. Burn or hang in the home for banishing, purification, and to attract good health for all occupants. Use in cleansing baths prior to working candle magick. Use in dream pillows to ward off nightmares and ensure restful sleep. Add a thyme infusion to the bath regularly to ensure a constant flow of money. Place in a jar and keep in the home or at work for good luck. (Source)
Due to its long germination time and extensive tap root, it was said that the seeds of parsley had to travel to the Underworld and back before the plant could grow. This myth was so prevalent that in Ancient Greece, Persephone was often depicted as holding a sprig of parsley, carrying it to the Underworld and back. (Source)
Magickal Properties of Parsley
- Domestic Tranquility
- Protection (especially of the home and from accidents)
- Death Magick
- Ancestral Veneration
- Spirit Work
Calms and protects the home; Draws prosperity, financial increase, and luck. Restores a sense of well-being. Use in spells to increase strength & vitality after surgery or illness. Use in amulets or other magickal workings to help yourself out of a rut. Eat to provoke lust and promote fertility. Place on plates of food to guard against contamination. Useful for bath magick to purify and end misfortune. Mix with jasmine and carry in your shoe to make you more attractive to the opposite sex. (Source)
I bet you never thought of potatoes as magickal. They’re kind of the swiss army knife of the kitchen; fry them, bake them, boil them, dice them, mash them, throw them in a stew. You know how it is. It turns out it’s the swiss army knife of magick too.
Magickal Properties of Potatoes
- Image Magick
- Voodoo Doll Replacement
- Sympathetic Magick
To ground oneself after meditation or casting a spell eat a freshly baked and charged potato; to maximize its effectiveness season the potato with onions, chives, rosemary, parsley, or dill. The potato helps to amplify stored energy within a witch so its a good meal before you plan to cast a spell.
To ward one’s home bury a potato in all four corners of the home with a sigil carved into it or a personal chant. These potatoes will create a barrier to ward off any incoming illness or curse.
Lastly, carve a symbol or the name of a friend or family into a potato to draw out an illness or curse into the potato itself then bury it. The illness or curse will decay with the potato as its new host. (Source)