This is a stew which is decidedly autumnal in character. It's packed with beets, carrots, and mushrooms, all of which are in their prime in the mid-to-latter months of the year. It's hearty and rich and warming, and just what you want when you're facing down six months of cold, rain, snow, and who-knows-what-else (as we do in Glasgow).
Nevertheless, though I do try to eat with a vague sense of seasonality, this is definitely something that works almost all year round. It's restored me on many a long day and for many a long month. The beets, the mushrooms, the wine, and all the herbs give it a slightly earthy depth, a slight sweetness, and tonnes of flavour. Along with some pillowy, creamy mash, and perhaps some greens, it is without doubt one of my all-time favourite meals. I was raised on the stews of Lancashire, after all.
Beetroot, Mushroom, and Lentil Stew
Makes: one big pot (6-10 servings)
Preparation time: 1 hour 30 minutes
4 tbsp vegan butter
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 large white or brown onions, finely diced
2 celery ribs, finely sliced
4 carrots, finely sliced
250g chestnut mushrooms, finely sliced
4 fresh beetroots, peeled, halved, and finely sliced
500g tomato passata
400g brown or green lentils, cooked (or two regular tins, drained)
250ml vegan red wine
500ml vegetable stock
1 tbsp caster or granulated sugar
2 tbsp dried wild garlic greens
1 1/2 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp ground dried kelp (or similar seaweed)
A handful of fresh dill, finely chopped
Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Half a small potato, peeled
1./ Heat up the vegan butter in a large pot over a medium-high heat. When it's nice and hot, drop in the minced garlic and diced onion with a pinch of salt and the sugar. Fry till softened and translucent (for about 5 minutes), stirring frequently.
2./ In stages add in the celery, carrot, mushroom, and beetroot; giving each about 5 minutes to fry before adding the next.
3./ When the vegetables are cooked off a bit, pour in the red wine and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Add in the tomato passata, the stock, and the lentils, and stir well. Add the wild garlic, paprika, nutritional yeast, kelp, the dill, and stir again.
4./ Let the whole thing boil on a high heat for about 10 minutes, then reduce to simmer for 50 minutes, stirring occasionally. When there's about 15-20 minutes left to go, grate in a little of the potato; this will help thicken the stew.
5./ Season to taste and serve however you like.
Until next time...