Oh the cold! Oh the Winter! Frosty nights and icy mornings. How ever will we make it through the season of snow? Why… with a big pot of stew to warm our stomachs and nourish our souls.
This recipe is frightfully simple, and can easily be adjusted. If you do not have carrots, or if you hate celery, that is entirely fine. Add ingredients you love, and use what you have in your fridge. However, it is best to stick to root, Winter and hearty vegetables. Think: squash, potatoes, cauliflower, kale, eggplant and turnip.
2 Carrots, chopped
2 Celery Stalks, chopped
1 Sweet Potato, chopped
1 Onion, chopped
1 can of Black Beans, strained and washed
1 can of Lentils, strained and washed
1 cup of Edamame (or peas)
1 cup vegetable broth
½ Mushrooms, sliced
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp basil
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp cayenne pepper
Grab a cutting board, a knife, a large bowl, and your slow cooker.
When cutting the vegetables, it is imperative that they be, 1. SMALL and 2. as close to the same size as possible. The larger the pieces, the longer the cooking time. If there is a variety of sizes, then the vegetables will cook at different speeds. Smaller pieces will be soft and soggy and larger pieces al dente.
So roll up your sleeves and start to chop! Cut all vegetables and place them in a large bowl.
Set the bowl to the side and pick up your strainer. Time to tackle the beans!
Open your can of beans and throw them in the strainer. Rinse and wash the beans, then put them directly into the slow cooker.
Measure one cup of vegetable broth and add it to the slow cooker, along with your spices and herbs. You can also buy a seasoning mix for stew if you prefer.
Add all chopped vegetables to the slow cooker and set the heat to high. With the lid over the pot, the veggies will simmer and cook slowly.
You can always set the heat to low and allow the stew to cook throughout the day. Some people choose this route so they can prepare the stew in the morning, let it cook while they work and come home to a finished meal. I would not recommend this method; all appliances plugged into the wall run the risk of short-circuiting and causing an electrical fire. You do not want to come home to a swarm of fire trucks and a damaged kitchen – or worse. You should never leave the kitchen when you cook, and you should never leave a slow cooker unattended. For this reason, I like to put my slow cooker on high while I am home so I can monitor the stew and cook it within 3 or 4 hours.
Periodically check the progress of your stew and taste test to ensure the flavours are to your liking. Cook time will vary depending on the type of vegetables you use, their size and the slow cooker itself. My recipe will take a minimum of 3 hours to cook, though you may need to allow the vegetables to simmer in the pot for a few hours longer to achieve a truly tender texture and savoury rich flavours that come from time.
When the stew is cooked to your liking, serve and enjoy. Bon appetite.
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