During the colder months, it is always a treat to tuck into a warming and delicious stew. This is another traditional recipe we always return to at this time of year, as nothing helps beat those November blues back quite like this vegetarian stew.
I will admit to some confusion over the difference between soups, stews, ragouts and casseroles, but I am reliably informed (by my mum) that this is a stew recipe. I personally think it may be that stews are a little easier to make, as they are mostly just adding ingredients to a pot and waiting. This kind of recipe is especially good as making it can be an activity for the whole family to get stuck into. Too many cooks may spoil the broth, but a good chunky stew is hard to mess up. Little ones can get involved by putting ingredients in a pot. Extra points if you convince them stirring is a treat!
Recipes like this are excellent at this time of year as you can essentially chuck in whatever you’ve got in your fridge or vegetable rack, so long as it sounds like it’ll go. This particular stew can be served with a cheesy mash on the side – but not instant, as it’s too soluble! Best to go with a lovely thick mash, perhaps made using a potato ricer, as was my Nana’s trick. Also, this stew is technically vegan, as there are no animal products involved in the recipe – but traditionally in my family all soup-like recipes will be served with a sprinkling of cheese on the top.
With minimal prep time, and an easy to adapt ingredients list, here is my favourite recipe for vegetarian/vegan stew to eat in November.
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed (all garlic portions are merely suggestions, usually the more garlic the better!)
- 1 leek, chopped
- 1 tbsp tomato purée
- 400g can chopped tomato
- 200g can butter bean, drained
- 4 carrot, thickly sliced
- 2 parsnip, thickly sliced
- 2 tbsp chilli powder (this can be varied to taste)
- 1 tsp paprika (this can also be varied to taste)
- 1 tsp sugar
- 250ml vegetable stock
First, roughly chop the carrots, parsnip, leek and onion. You may as well drain your butter beans while you’re at it.
Heat the oil in a large pan and cook the onion and garlic over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes until softened, stirring occasionally. Add in the leek, carrots and parsnips, turn up the heat and cook for 6-7 minutes, stirring, until the vegetables are just turning golden.
Next, pour in the stock. This is also the time to add the paprika, chilli, and any other herbs or spices you fancy adding. Remember – the secret to a good stew is improvisation! Having said that, I’d maybe avoid cinnamon or coriander, as they can be tough for picky eaters. Bring all this to the boil, and then reduce to a simmer.
Put in the tomato purée, chopped tomatoes, and butter beans. The sugar should be added with the tomatoes – this is to balance the acidity of some of the ingredients, and will make for a more balanced flavour over all.
Simmer all the ingredients for 15-20 mins until the stew has thickened and the veg are tender
Then serve the stew! May I suggest these Unison Ceramic Big Bowls (Set of 4) from Schneid Studio? The teal colour will complement the reddish brown of the stew, which should make for appetising plating (or bowling, I suppose).