· 3 medium carrots
· 2 medium beetroots
· 250g mushrooms (e.g. button, chestnut, portobello)
· ½ bottle of red wine
· 4 cloves of garlic
· 2 medium white onions
· 100g of roasted, peeled chestnuts (optional)
· Stock powder
· Marmite (optional)
· Tomato Puree
· Oil (vegetable oil, or olive oil for cooking)
· Plain flour or cornflour
· Herbs: 4 bay leaves and a few sprigs of thyme & rosemary.
1. Wash and prep the vegetables: - Peel the beetroot and cut into chunks (spoon size!) -Cut the carrot into chunks (only peel if it looks particularly dirty or old)
-Leave small mushrooms whole and cut larger ones in half (again, spoon size) -Peel the garlic cloves -Peel the onions and cut into slices
2. Heat a decent, large, saucepan and add oil. When the oil is hot, add the carrot chunks. Brown them on one side before turning over. The carrots need to brown but not cook all the way through. Remove with a slotted spoon/tongues into a bowl.
3. Repeat this step with the beetroot. The vegetables are being ‘seared’ in the same way meat is in a stew.
4. Remove the beetroot and add the mushrooms next. Cook on one side for at least 5 minutes before turning so they become nice and brown.
5. The temperature which the vegetables are cooked on will depend on their moisture content and the pan- so vary it accordingly. If some vegetables stick a little bit, this is good for the flavour (so long as it’s not burnt).
6. Remove the mushrooms and add the onions and garlic (keep whole). Add a pinch of salt to help the onions soften and turn the heat to low. Keep cooking the onions until they are soft and brown (these take the longest to cook).
7. Once the onions are cooked, add 2 tbsp of tomato puree. Cook this for at least 2 minutes (whilst stirring) until it darkens in colour.
8. If using plain flour, add 2 tbsp after the tomato puree and cook for 1-2 minutes.
9. Add the red wine, stir, and bring to the boil to thicken the sauce.
10. Reduce the heat and add the herbs. Add the ‘seared’ vegetables and the chestnuts (if using). Also add 1 tbsp of stock powder.
11. Reduce the heat so the stew is just simmering. Cook with a lid on for about 20-30 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Stir occasionally.
This stage can be done in a slow cooker. Heat on low for high for 2 hours or low for 4 hours.
12. Taste the sauce. If it needs to be more savoury, 1-2 tbsp of marmite can be added. Or a splash of soy sauce. Otherwise, just add salt. Add plenty of black pepper.
13. If thickening with cornflour, do this at the very end. Mix 2 tbsp with cold water to make a slurry. Turn the stew up so it is bubbling and slowly pour in the cornflour while stirring, until the right consistency is achieved.