Some years ago our dear friend Hilary decided that we needed to eat in a more ‘heart-healthy’ way, and she sent us a recipe that she really liked to get us started on the road to salvation. There’s something about the words ‘heart-healthy’ that simply sounds unappetizing, at least to me. I know we want our hearts to be happy and healthy, but can’t we simply describe the appropriate food as ‘hearty?’ That sounds much better, conjuring up, as it does, great vats of steaming stew, mountains of fresh bread still warm from the oven with lots of butter gently melting into the slices. Maybe I’m missing the point, I hear you mutter. Well yes, maybe so.
We decided to give Hilary’s recipe a chance, though, or rather the Captain did, as he is the Chef of All Meals in this house. He perused the ingredients (chicken breast, vegetables and spices) and commented, “She’s left out the most important ingredient.” “What’s that?” I asked. “The sausage,” he answered “This is a recipe that wants sausage.”
He was right. He made it his way (you’ll find the recipe here and over on the right under ‘recipes’) and it was delicious. We revisit this dish every autumn when the winter squashes are in. This year we used half of our pumpkin crop (1 pumpkin) instead of the squash, which proved to be a happy (and healthy and hearty) substitution.
Where did the name come from? I have no idea. When Hilary sent us the recipe it was called something like “Heart Healthy Stew.” The Captain gave it a new name, and Rain Forest Chop it now is. And oh yes, Hilary likes it better our way, too!