I love stews this time of year. They are comforting and delicious, and they make the house smell beautiful when they are cooking. Vegetarian stews don’t take as long to cook as the ones containing meat, but they do benefit from about an hour or so in the oven so that the flavours can all blend together.
I’ve tried lots of different combinations of vegetables and this is the one we like best in our house, but I don’t mean to be prescriptive, and of course you can change things round to suit your tastes and what you have on hand. This one makes a fantastic Meatless Monday dinner, and the leftovers are lovely the next day too.
To serve four to six people, you need:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I use mild olive oil)
1 red onion, peeled, cut in half and sliced in half moons
1 cup white mushrooms, quartered
3 parsnips, peeled, cut in half lengthwise and sliced in chunky sticks
3 carrots, peeled, cut in half and sliced in chunky sticks
1 red pepper, seeded and cut in chunks
1 can (about 14 ounces) chopped tomatoes, preferably organic
1 can (about 14 ounces) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon chopped or dried flat leaf parsley
Preheat the oven to 375℉ (160 to 170℃).
Heat the oil over medium heat in a large stove top to oven casserole with a lid. Add the onion and sauté gently until it begins to soften. Add mushrooms and stir fry for a few moments longer. Add the parsnips, carrots and red pepper and stir until coated in the oily oniony mixture.
Add the tomatoes, beans, bay leaf and oregano and stir through. Pop the lid on and place in the oven for about 40 to 50 minutes.
Remove from the oven and place on a heatproof surface.
Carefully taste the stew and add salt and pepper if necessary. If the vegetables are softened, return to the oven for five minutes or so, but if they are still not soft enough, return to the oven for ten to fifteen minutes.
Serve when the vegetables are tender but still hold their shape. Serve garnished with the parsley. I like to serve this with a basket of hot rolls, but for a heartier meal you can serve it with crushed new potatoes or rice.