This is a very useful recipe for dinners where there’s a mix of people with different diets. The basic stew can be turned into all sorts of other things and it also goes well as a side-dish with Cumberland sausage. The quantities given here make a meal to serve 5-6 people. It freezes well, either as a stew on its own or when made into other dishes.
2 tablespoons olive or sunflower oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 large carrots, chopped in slices about 1″ long & ¼” thick
2 sticks celery, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 head of broccoli, chopped into small florets (in winter I use kale)
2 or 3 handfuls of mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon of dried oregano or 1 desertspoon of fresh, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
2 400g cans of plum tomatoes in juice
1 400g can of aduki beans, or your favourite other bean or pulse, sometimes I use puy lentils or mung beans. A cheaper option is 6oz of dried weight beans/pulses, soaked & cooked properly according to type of bean
1 very generous tablespoon of tomato puree (I like Zest Sun-dried Tomato Paste)
1 tablespoon of fresh parsley, finely chopped
About half a pint of red wine/marsala/sherry/whatever, or vegetable stock (but if made with ONLY fresh veg & NO stock cubes, thickeners or bouillon unless gluten free), or a mixture of wine & stock
Enough boiled, sliced, salted potatoes to cover dish
Heat the oil in a large pan and add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, pepper & broccoli and fry over medium heat until vegetables are tender (about 10-15 minutes). Add the mushrooms, oregano & bay leaf and fry for a couple of minutes more. Add the cans of tomatoes, aduki beans, tomato paste, parsley & pepper and stir well. Add the wine or stock until the dish is liquid enough not to dry up in the oven. Add salt to taste and heat through thoroughly. Simmer for up to half an hour. Top with the potatoes and cook for approx. 30-35 minutes at about 190 degrees C, gas mark 5. until hopefully the potatoes are browned.
This recipe above is suitable for vegetarians, vegans & coeliacs (gluten free).
Other things you can do with the stew (if you’re cooking for a coeliac, use gluten-free flour & pasta alternatives; if you’re cooking for a vegan, use alternatives to the dairy produce):
Baked potato filling, cottage pie, lasagne, crumble (8oz flour, pinch of salt, 4oz goats’ butter or margarine, cubed and crumble these together until it’s like breadcrumbs. Add a tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds. Sometimes I add some grated hard sheep’s milk cheese (e.g. Croglin from Cumbria, Berkswell from near Coventry, Pecorino from Italy), mix it up & cover the stew & pat down firmly)