This is one of my recipes that I probably make the most often. It came from me wanting to make stew one time, and then deciding on the ingredients that “felt” most “stew-like”. It’s probably fairly similar to goulash, although I haven’t actually looked up how to make goulash, so I haven’t checked. I do love goulash though.
I also want to add that there are multiple versions of this stew. It can be vegan, it can be vegetarian, and it can be meaty. Something for everyone! You can also make it in different quantities – but my recommendation is to make as much as possible as it does literally last for days, and there isn’t a huge difference in effort between making a small amount and making a lot. The quantities described below are the amount I’d usually put in when making a “family portion”, but honestly it’s not a science – put in as much or as little as you have.
One of my favourite things about this stew is that it functions quite well as a “leftovers” stew from a roast (or similar). I’ll cover that case below.
The “Base” ingredients are what I’d call the “staples” of the dish – you need all of these and you will feel it if one of them is missing. We then have additional ingredients – a set for a “meaty” version and another set for a “veggie” or vegan version.
– 2 Onions
– 1 kg carrots
– 1 kg potatoes
– Oil or butter
– Red wine
– Fresh rosemary
– Stock (beef or vegetable)
– Beef – leftover roast or similar
– Double cream
Veggie / vegan version
– Mushrooms (or some other vegetable such as aubergines if you’re not a mushroom fan)
(- Double cream)
- Dice the onions, carrots, and potatoes. Start by frying the onions in the oil or butter in a large pot (as large as humanly possible), then add the carrots and potatoes as they’re diced. The key here is to chop everything into relatively small pieces, as close to a cube as possible, as this isn’t a soup and will not be blended. It’s much more satisfying to be able to pick up lots of bits and pieces in one spoonful.
- Boil a kettle and make some stock with 500ml of water and a couple of stock cubes. It’s very much a question of taste, but as a general rule I’d go with 2 or 3 cubes overall depending on how big your pot is and how much you’re making. You can always add more later!
- Add the stock to the vegetables in the pot. If adding beef or mushrooms, chop and add them too. Remember that mushrooms shrink quite a bit when cooked, so they don’t need to be chopped quite as finely.
- Now it’s red wine time. This is my “secret ingredient”. The important thing here is not to be stingy. As a general rule, I’d say a minimum of half a bottle will be the right amount – at least to start. We want the stew to taste delightfully rich, so it’s always good to have wine reserves in case you want to add more later. It doesn’t all have to come from the same bottle as well – if you have bits and pieces left over that’s absolutely fine!
- Do a final check that the liquid covers the solid parts of the pot. If there doesn’t seem to be enough liquid, just add some more boiling water. Finish by adding all the rosemary you have. You can remove the leaves from the stems, or leave a few stems whole. Then put a lid on the stew and let it simmer for an absolute minimum of 20 minutes. There isn’t really a maximum amount of time it can simmer for, as the longer it simmers the more the vegetables will absorb the stock and the wine, so you could literally leave it simmering all day. It also means if you do have beef it’ll create a “slow-cooker” style effect of it melting in your mouth.
- Add a tub of double cream if you fancy it. If not, just serve as is!
It’s important to keep tasting as you go, as the stew can easily get too diluted and need more stock, or the wine can get a bit lost and you may need to add more wine. Remember that after adding the cream, the stew shouldn’t really boil.
Now, suppose you’ve been eating your stew for a couple days. What often happens here is that the “liquid” part will boil down, or get eaten, and you’re essentially left with a bunch of vegetables. It’s therefore important to keep replenishing the “liquid” part of the stew, a.k.a. adding stock and red wine as you go. One thing I quite like to do is wait until I’ve eaten about half of it, and then add the cream. That way you don’t get sick of the stew as easily, as it suddenly becomes a *completely different dish*! Additionally, you won’t have to be as careful every time you reheat it about making sure it doesn’t boil once the cream is in.
I also mentioned earlier I’d talk about what to do if you have leftovers from say a Sunday roast. I’ve already mentioned that the meat should be “leftovers”, or at least cooked as you would cook a roast and then chopped, but what else can you add? Roast potatoes can definitely be chopped and added, although I do recommend adding some fresh potatoes as well. I also recommend adding the sauce or gravy from your meal – it just adds a little something something.
So there you have it, my stew recipe! I make this several times a year and I’m always in love with the result. What’s so great about it is how versatile it is – it can be meat-free, dairy-free, or a way of making use of leftovers from a roast, and it’s just so incredibly hearty, however you make it.