The nights are getting cooler, the desire for comfort food is real! Autumn & winter for me are the perfect seasons for big batch cooking and this simple stew is one of my favourites. Here are my main reasons for loving it!
- Super quick to make
- Incredibly inexpensive
- Perfect for freezing
- Ideal for feeding the entire family
- Brilliantly healthy with more than 9 plant based ingredients
- Wonderfully adaptable to suit the ingredients you have in
Ok, let's begin with the ingredients. This is by no means a hard-and-fast set list. Go with what you can buy locally. It's worth seeing which veg are on offer. I find root veg work best in stews, anything green ends up extra mushy because of the long cook time.
1/2 sweet potato
4 sticks of celery
2 tins of beans
4 tbsp vegan bouillon
Mix of herbs ... sage / rosemary / oregano
Salt & pepper to season
To start with all you want to do is roughly chop everything so that it's in tiny cube sized pieces. The stew is going to cook for a while, so you don't need your veg shredded. 2cm cubed chunks should be just fine.
Next add 200g of lentils. You can mix it up or stick with one variety. I had three different varieties in the cupboard, so I threw in what I had. Again, it really hasn't got to be exact. Lentils are great for adding protein & for bulking up the stew.
Now for some beans. These also help thicken the stew & add healthy fibre. I've chosen butter beans (for some reason I have tins stacking up in the cupboard! And black beans. But again, haricot, cannellini ... whatever you've got, add that! Two tins should do it.
Next we need salt, herbs & stock. I use this vegan bouillon which is gluten free & contains no nightshades. I also add oregano, rosemary & sage. You can use herbes de provence or thyme, parsley ... again it's up to you! For more of a curry flavour, use coriander & cumin.
Now throw everything in a massive pan, pour boiling water over it so that everything is covered by about 1 to 2cm, then pop a lid on and simmer for at least 1 hour over a low heat. Make sure you stir the pan regularly to stop anything sticking to the bottom.
For me, no stew is complete without dumplings, and these sage herb ones are just perfect! You can use any kind of plain flour. I wanted to try them with buckwheat flour today which seemed to work well.
200g flour I use this one
150g vegan suet I use this one
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp sage
Salt to season
Add all the dry ingredients to a bowl. Slowly add a little warm water at a time, stirring well. Once the mixture has formed a fairly dry dough, get your hands in & began moulding dumplings.
Pop the rolled dumplings into the stew pan. If there's not enough liquid in the pan, add enough to make sure they're covered. You want to simmer the dumplings for at least 30 mins in the stew.
Your stew should be thick & colourful with a delicious warming flavour. You can eat it right away or ladel it into tupperware to freeze. This made five big portions for me. Great as a big meal in itself or as a smaller portion for two with some thick sourdough bread to dip in.