Tag Archives: stew

Lentil stew with mash

31 May

I have posted recipes quite similar to this before – mainly in ‘pie’ style.  This one is a big thicker, and still has the typical shepherd’s/gardener’s pie mash and pie crust.  Think of it as a kind of an unbaked gardener’s pie in a bowl.

What you’ll need:

  • 1-1 1/2 cups brown lentils
  • 1 stock cube
  • 1 big carrot, diced up how you like
  • 1 regular size onion
  • 2/3 cup peas
  • some form of vegetable gravy – either home made or gravy powder
  • some puff pastry (you could alternatively use filo or a regular shortcrust)
  • potatoes, about 4 medium sized

What to do:

In a pretty large pot, cover your lentils in water plus two or three ‘finger-widths’ extra.  Less is more here, as you can always add in more water if they’re getting a bit dry.  Put on the boil, and once you’ve had a rolling boil for a few minutes, crumble the stock cube over the top (alternatively, if you make your own stock you can just cook the lentils from the word go in half-and-half water and stock). While the lentils are coming up to the boil, get your potatoes in the steamer (or in a pot to boil).

While you’re waiting for the lentils to cook, time to do the pastry biscuit.  The easiest way (particularly with filo or puff) is to use frozen pastry.  If you wanted to make your own, my recipe is over here.  I like to cut out shapes, but you can easily just use a hand cut circle.  Pop them onto a well-oiled baking tray and throw them in the oven.  If you want to get your pastry into a nice little ‘hat’ shape, pop them into a shallow pie dish:

Remember to keep an eye on your pastry, and pull it out of the oven when it’s golden on top.

Once the lentils are starting to look as though they aren’t too far away from being done, throw in the carrots (and, if you’re so inclined maybe some parsnip and swede, diced to roughly the same size).  A few minutes later, stir though the peas and the gravy – either a few heaped tablespoons of pre-made gravy, or a tea spoon or so of gravy mix.  Let that cook down.

Now, your potatoes should be pretty much done so get them organised with mashing.  The thing I find about steaming your potatoes is that you don’t really need to add too much else to them to create a nice, creamy mash.  I usually just put a little bit of pepper in and that’s it.

So – everything is done.  Time to put it all together.  Fill the bottom of your bowl with the lentil mix, make a nice round ball of potato to plonk in the middle, and top with your pastry hat.  Viola!

And what to do with the left over lentil and mash?

Yep, not a very pretty photo but a damn fine sandwich.  And, some gratuitous shots of the new kitchen:

Also – let me tell you that as I write this, I’ve got some red wine braised tofu on the stove.  I’m going to serve it with some parsnip mash and carrots.  Fingers crossed, but so far it looks, tastes and smells pretty good.

Faux-Chicken and Mushroom White Stew

29 Jun

The summer days are slipping away and the rain looks like it’s here to stay, and that only means one thing: putting all those lovely crispy salads and BBQ recipes away and pulling out warm, tasty, comforting winter food!  This one is a staple in my kitchen, even though I am not the hugest fan of faux-meat, S is still in that transition phase and, even so, he just likes the taste.  For this dish I like to use the Fry’s faux-chicken strips.  Firstly, I like Fry’s because S really likes the taste, and secondly, because all of their products are vegan and I think that’s worth supporting.

This stew is really good on it’s own but even better with pastry ‘biscuits’ or a lid.

For the biscuits you’ll need a sheet of puff pastry.  I use Borg’s, because it’s vegan and it says so in big bold letters right on the front (which is easy when S makes the trip to the supermarket!).  You’ll also need a scone-press, a cookie-cutter or, failing all that, a knife.  All you need to do is cut out circles of pastry, spray with olive oil or brush with some Nuttelex and pop them in the oven until their just starting to get some colour and then flip them over and back in until golden brown.

For the stew:

  • 1/2 pack of Fry’s Chicken Style Strips
  • 1/2 a medium leek – diced
  • 1/2 a decent sized brown onion – diced
  • 4-5 medium sized mushrooms – peeled and sliced
  • 1 big carrot – cut into rough cubes
  • 3/4 cup of peas (not minted!)
  • 1/2 tub of Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 3/4 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Nuttelex
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • sour cream substitute (like Tofutti Sour Supreme) to garnish, if desired.

What to do:

Start by browning off the leek and onion in the Nuttelex, in a large pot.  When it looks almost done, put in the faux-chicken strips, 1/2 cup of vegetable stock and a pinch of salt, and the diced up carrots and let it simmer away for 5-6 minutes, to cook the carrots and the faux-chicken though.  Next add the peas, nutritional yeast, the rest of the stock, 1/4 of a tub of Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese and stir until the cream cheese has dissolved.  At this stage it should look like some insipid bath water – that’s okay!  Now is the time to add the mushrooms, and to slowly add small piles of flour and more cream cheese and continually stir until the sauce begins to thicken up, obviously, stop when you get to a consistency you like.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Top with a sour cream substitute if you like, and three or four pastry biscuits.  This makes a pretty good pie filling, too.

Stew, stew, and fly away…

1 Jun

Yesterday, S and I booked our flights to London, via Doha where we will spend a few days, including his birthday.  It means that there is a lot of work ahead of me over the next few weeks and months.

I haven’t had the time to do much of anything – beyond working on my thesis – for the last few days (and I fully expect that to continue) so when S said this afternoon that he wanted a stew I breathed in relief that it was really something I could just throw on the stove and leave to simmer away.  As S has Scottish heritage, and as were exactly one hundred days until we leave, I thought I’d do something a bit Scottish-inspired.  While I’m not really sure how well I did with that, it was one big pot of tasty, tasty stew that S absolutely devoured (and that’s always a good thing!)

I started by soaking

  • 1/2 a cup of pearl barley,
  • 1/2 a cup of split green peas and
  • 1/2 a cup of red lentils.

Cover them with just enough water and soak for about an hour.  I had to refill the water twice.

While they were soaking I cut up (honestly, very very roughly):

  • 9 potatoes (for some reason my mum gave me a huge pile of absolutely tiny potatoes – this really would have been 4 alright sized potatoes)
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 huge onion
  • 1 huge leek (but, I love leek and I have instilled S with a love of leek – so if you’re not as bit a leek fan, maybe just a small one)
  • 2 medium sized parsnips
  • 3 decent sized potatoes

Once the peas/lentils/barley were ready, and S was on the way home, I heated a big stew-pot with a tiny bit of oil in the bottom, threw the onion and leek in first for a few minutes, before putting in the rest of the veges in for a few minutes, before about a liter of vegetable stock, and the now-soaked-and-rinsed peas/lentils/barley mix.  I like thick stew, so if you wanted something a bit more soupy – you could add up to 1 3/4 liters if you wanted to.  At this stage add salt and pepper to taste.

Bring the whole thing up to the boil, then down to a simmer and throw the lid on – with the occasional stir – until the veges are ready and the whole thing is delicious!  Spoon into a bowls, sprinkle a bit of fresh parsley over the top.

Now, look – this is not the most awesome looking dish you’ll ever see, but seriously, what stew is?  (That’s why you got a photo of S enjoying the stew, rather than the stew itself.)  This has made a HUGE pot – enough for us both to stuff ourselves silly and we’re looking at lunches tomorrow and another four serves (probably) in the freezer.  That’s the great thing about stew, though!

This weekend S and I are hosting a dinner party – Tapas style.  While I doubt the entire affair will be vegan (as its us and three other couples, and everyone is bringing food, and we’re the only veg*ns) obviously everything that I make will be – so, now I need some amazing Spanish inspiration!  (My first, and currently only, idea is bean-balls).  So – any ideas, please, please let me know!

French Lentil Stew

17 May

Well, it’s finally starting to get colder in Melbourne.  On top of this, S and I are starting to prepare for our move to London in earnest, now – and that includes a stockpiling  of delicious, easy and cheap vegan one pot recipes (because, lets face it, we’re not sure if we’ll even have our own kitchen, or multiple pots!)

So this stew was inspired by a wonderful lentil soup I had last weekend and the bag of beautiful brown French lentils I had in the pantry.  I made a HUGE pot of stew, so this is a keep-and-freeze recipe, or cut down the ingredients for a one-off dinner.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 leek
  • 2-3 onions
  • 2 decent sized carrots
  • 2-3 potatoes
  • peas
  • about half of a cauliflower
  • corn kernals
  • 2 cups dry uncooked brown French lentils (any brown lentils would probably do the trick!)
  • vegetable stock, about three cups made up
  • a dash of red wine (if you like)
  • gravy mix
  • a pinch of flour, salt, pepper

First: dice the onion and leek really super fine (this is where I become so glad of my Tupperware Happy Chopper, seriously, it’s amazing!) and sautee them off in some oil, in a really big soup or stew pot.  When they’re looking translucent, put in about 2 cups of vegetable stock, and all the lentils.  Bring the pot to a rolling boil for about thirty seconds, and then down to a simmer and put the lid on.

Next: while that’s simmering away, peel and dice the potatoes and carrots into cubes about pea size, and cut the cauliflower into similar sized bits.  Before you put these into the pot, wait until the lentils are about 2/3rds cooked.  This should take between ten and twenty minutes – depending on the heat of your stove, the amount of lentils etc.  At any stage, if the lentils look like they need more water, add a bit more (or more vege stock).  When they’re about there, put the potatoes, carrots, peas, corn, and cauliflower into the pot, along with a tablespoon of gravy powder (or pre made gravy).  Put the lid back on and simmer until the potatoes and lentils are cooked.

Finally: add a dash of wine, salt and pepper to taste, and if you like your stew thick (like me!) add some flour until desired thickness is reached.

Serve up and enjoy a tasty home-made French lentil stew, wrapped in a blanket, with a huge glass of red wine.