It is said that this carbo-loading dish was originally devised by field-kitchen cooks short on rations with which to feed the Austrian Grenadiers (foot soldiers) they served on long distance marches during Europe’s Napoleonic wars. Although it was common knowledge that “armies march on their stomachs,” troops were often left hungry between food deliveries by over-extended supply lines. That dire necessity became the mother of a fine invention: the grenadier march recipe for a nutritious, high-energy dish (aptly named Grenadier Marsh), and the means to make it available without relying on supply lines. It involved taking along whatever quantities of non-perishable pasta, potatoes, herbs and spices as could be carried in soldiers’ backpacks and field-kitchen storage bins; and cooking them up with fresh vegetables and other perishable ingredients collected along the way. (“Collected” often meant picking mushrooms in nearby woods, convincing local farmers to donate bread and produce out of patriotic duty, or romancing their daughters for butter and milk.)
A relatively inexpensive potluck feast, this dish keeps its freshness and flavor in the refrigerator for more than a week—and is guaranteed to be the family’s (and any drop-in guest’s) favorite choice. Take a look at the easiest grandier march recipe below:
Serves 8 (or possibly more) portions – (JAZZ) (use organic ingredients if possible)
- 1 pack of organic bow (Farfalle) pasta
- 6 small or 4 medium size potatoes
- 1 large onion (preferably red, but other OK, too)
- 5-6 cloves of garlic
- ½ lb fresh mushrooms (or comparable amount of dried mushrooms; or 1 pack of frozen organic mushrooms)
- ¼ cup of sun-dried tomatoes
- 1 large, or 2 medium-sized tomatoes
- 1 sweet green or red pepper
- 1 zucchini
- 2 medium carrots
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- 3 baby bok-choi, or equivalent of other leafy vegetable (such as kale, spinach, etc.)
- 2 stalks of celery
- 1 medium fennel
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon parsley
- 2 teaspoons sweet red paprika
- 1 small pinch Cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 tablespoon BRAGG liquid amino-acid
- 1 cup (approx.) of organic, extra-virgin, first- and cold-pressed Olive Oil
- ¼ teaspoon powdered ginger
- ½ teaspoon basil
(NOTE: Omit, add or substitute any above ingredients—EXCEPT such essentials as: onion, garlic, tomatoes, green pepper; and all the herbs, spices and liquid seasonings, which give this dish its killer flavors.)
COOKpasta as directed on package, to al dente consistency. When ready, drain and pour into the largest container you have. Drizzle olive oil on it and mix well to coat pasta. Use your mixing spoon gently, so as not to mangle the pasta.
In a bowl of cold water with a squirt of liquid Castile soap, scrub potatoes lightly (with a brush or Dobi pad); rinse well, place in stainless steel pot, cover with water, put lid on, and cook—on High until it boils, then on Medium heat—until tender, but NOT over-cooked. Drain the potatoes and let them cool 5-10 minutes. Since potato skin is highly nutritious, it is best to leave it on—if no one objects. Cut the potatoes into bite-size cubes, add to the pasta, drizzle a little more olive oil on it so it won’t get sticky, and stir gently to combine it with the pasta.
PREPARATION: Mushrooms—if dried, soak them in cold water; if frozen, place in colander, run cold water over it and leave it to drain; if you are using fresh mushrooms, cut off the bottom of their stems, then clean, wash, slice and set them aside.
Clean/wash the rest of the vegetables and pat dry. Cut fresh and sun-dried tomatoes into 1 inch or smaller pieces and set aside. Slice carrots, zucchini, broccoli, fennel, celery, pepper, etc. into bite-size pieces, and set aside. Chop the leafy vegetables into similar sizes and set aside—but separately from the ‘hard’ veggies.
Peel and dice onion and garlic. Cover bottom of large skillet or pot with ½ cup olive oil and warm it slowly over Medium heat for 20-30 seconds. Add diced onions. Stir and sauté for 30 seconds, then add minced garlic. Sauté until onion becomes translucent.
Add the mushrooms and the rest of the olive oil. (NOTE: The sliced fresh mushrooms can be added right away. The soaking dried ones have to be drained and rinsed off first. The frozen ones need one more cold water rinse, and if still stuck together, should be separated while cooking.)
Sauté mushrooms for 2-3 minutes—add the BRAGG liquid and 1 cup of water; cover with lid and simmer. Next, add the fresh and sun-dried tomatoes and stir until they begin to cook.
Now add the carrots, zucchini, fennel and the rest of the ‘hard’ vegetables, and simmer for 5 minutes. ADD WATER when it sounds as if it is frying or burning—which must be prevented.
Next, add the leafy vegetables, stir in with the rest of the ingredients. Add the Worcestershire sauce and all the herbs and spices listed above. Stir, simmer (under cover), and add hot water when needed—until all the vegetables are cooked. Make sure mushrooms are not too chewy—which the frozen and dried ones tend to be when under-cooked.
Remove vegetables from heat and let cool for 15 minutes. Then gently stir it in with the pasta and potatoes waiting in the big bowl. When fully blended, taste and adjust flavor as needed. If too dry, add more olive oil. Potatoes tend to soak it up.
Pour Grenadier Marsh into Pyrex casserole dish and heat in the oven at 350 degrees. Or heat the portions to be served in the microwave.