I recently had the opportunity to sample a new product that I had not yet come across in my travels. Those of you that have been following me for a while know that I am all about convenience and easy to prepare when it comes to eating gluten-free. That being said, you also know that I am quite picky and I am not willing to sacrifice taste or quality to get a quick gluten-free fix.
Enter Ellie’s Country Delights – a local (Long Island, New York) company that just happens to make extraordinary products. Ellie was kind enough to send me a sampling of her product line and I am so glad she did. First of all, I am not a huge soup person – well at least I thought I wasn’t – but Ellie’s are actually stews and she means it. Each of her stews is Dairy-, Gluten-, and Wheat-Free. They are also low in the carbohydrate area and are cholesterol, Trans fat-free, and Vegan…nice.
There are three varieties of stew: Regular Vegetable Stew; Vegetable Stew with Mushrooms; and Spicy Vegetable Stew. I indulged in all three over the course of a few days and have to say I loved each one. One jar is actually three servings but I think you all know by know that I was not sharing, so I ate a jar at a time for lunch at the office. It was probably the easiest lunch I have had to-date – open the jar, place in bowl, done. Yes you can heat it but I am more or a room temperature type of guy. So you are probably wondering how they tasted?
In a word DELICIOUS. No, make that two words – FRESH and DELICIOUS. Let’s start with the Regular Vegetable Stew variety. This was chock-full of eggplant, squash, zucchini, peppers, carrot, celery, and onion all in a hearty tomato base. The balance of flavors is so perfectly balanced that you don’t have to worry about the acidity of the tomatoes overpowering the delicate sweetness of the vegetables. I don’t know how she manages to do it but I am not going to question it.
Next up was Vegetable Stew with Mushrooms which is essentially the same as the previous stew with the addition of mushrooms which help give this stew a distinct taste of its own. It is subtle, but the woodiness of the mushrooms really comes through in this flavor. Again, the balance of flavors is simply perfect and if you are a mushroom lover, this one is for you.
They say save the best for last but in this case it is purely a matter of personal preference. I love, love, love, the Spicy Vegetable Stew. I love all things spicy but the addition of chili flakes to the stew gave a wonderfully spicy bite without being too spicy or taking away for the flavors of the vegetables. That is what is nice about all of the stews – you can easily identify all the flavors you are experiencing.
Now I mentioned I enjoyed the stews cold (well room temperature) but I also used the mushroom variety as a dip with some organic tortilla chips and it made for an absolutely fabulous dip – just an idea I thought I would share. I am also going to try adding a bit of chicken breast to a jar to make a quick chicken stew on a busy evening. I am also going to use the stew as the sauce on my homemade gluten-free pizza. That’s truly the great thing about Ellie’s products – they are so versatile. Ellie says It’s a meal in a jar – and she is not kidding.
One final note. One jar is about 150 calories – yes, you read that correctly 150 calories. I had a jar for lunch on afternoon and it carried me through well past my normal dinner time. Please check our Ellie’s Country Delights Web site for more information on her products and where to purchase them. If you cannot find them in your area, just send Ellie and e-mail and I am sure she will do her best to help you. She is super nice to boot.