Stew. Unglamorous, homey, comforting, perfect-when-you’re-sick stew.
Struck down with an unseasonal cold, I needed some comfort food the likes of which my Irish granny used to make. Trouble is, I didn’t much fancy the neck of lamb she used to put in it. So here’s my invention: a stew for vegetarians that’s every bit as hearty and flavoursome as the original.
Ingredients (2 portions)
- Two small potatoes
- An onion
- A bunch of green veg – NZ spinach worked well here
- A can of lentils (or soak the dried ones well in advance)
- A tablespoon of plain flour or corn starch
- Rosemary and parsley
- Vegetable stock
- Butter or margarine for gravy base – about 25g
- Dice the potatoes into small cubes (1cm) and slice the onion.
- The NZ spinach is better after blanching (boiling quickly, then throwing away the water) – so do that now, then chop it.
- Melt the butter in a large pan and soften the onion and potatoes in it.
- When the onion is translucent, add the flour. The mixture will start to stick from this point on, so keep stirring!
- Cook the floured vegetables for another 90 seconds or so. They may brown a little.
- Add stock a ladle-full at a time, keeping a good stewey consistency in the pan.
- After the first stock, add the spinach, lentils and herbs.
- Keep stirring and adding liquid until the potato is cooked – another 5 minutes or so.
- Adjust seasoning to taste and enjoy!
Although this has some in-season ingredients rather than the classic winter root vegetables, it hit the stew target perfectly – just what the doctor ordered!