Sometimes it can feel like post December winter veg is just a succession of bland mash, especially if you don’t cook with butter. But this week I’ve been on a roasting kick and it has significantly improved my opinion of swede, parsnip and butternut squash.
Winter Veg Stew with Lamb
One of the differences between myself and 18saughtonmains is our view of winter stew. I like stew to be meat heavy, with vegetables for taste and texture but the meat definitely the star of the show. He likes lots of vegetables and the meat to provide flavour. This week he made sure the stew was his style by only buying a small amount of lamb and I have to admit the end result was lovely.
300g lamb pieces
Assorted winter veg – this time I used half a butternut squash, a swede, a sweet potato, 4 carrots and a parsnip, but whatever is around will work – chopped into approximately even pieces
glass of red wine
herbs – thyme and rosemary
a tin of tomatoes
half a cup of pearl barley
Heat the oven to 180 C and put the vegetables in to roast. You want them to soften and sweeten, but not soften all the way through, so about twenty minutes should do it. Which is about how long the rest should take, luckily.
Slice and fry the onions until they are translucent. Add the garlic and stir for a minute Add the meat and brown. Once the pieces are nicely coloured, chuck in some flour, stir until all the pieces are covered, then add the glass of wine. Stir to get the flavours well melded. Add the herbs, tomato puree and Worcestershire sauce. Pour in the tomatoes and about a tin full of water (you could use stock but I didn’t have suitable stock about – if you used stock, you could probably skip the Worcestershire sauce). Add the roasted vegetables. Finally, pour in the pearl barley and bring the mixture to the boil. Season with salt and pepper.
Move to the oven and cook for an hour and a half or so. You’ll be able to tell when it is done as the barley will suddenly suck all the liquid up.
Eat with baked potatoes. Or by itself, to be honest – with that much veg you don’t really need much additional starch.
Roast butternut squash and tomato soup
Slightly old tomatoes found in the veg drawer
The other half of the butternut squash
Herbs – rosemary and thyme
5 garlic cloves
stock – chicken or veg
Heat the oven to 200 C.
Quarter the tomatoes, peel the garlic cloves and chop the squash. Pour some oil over them and roast for 45 or so minutes – this time you want them to be soft and almost burnt. Once they are ready, take the pan out of the oven, pour the stock into the pan and use a stick blender to gently blend the soup. I like it with lots of squash pieces, but go with your preference. Also, this time I put loads of stock in to make a tasty thin soup with chunks, but if you used less stock and blended it more it would be beautifully thick.
I think this was the tastiest soup I’ve ever made. The vegetables’ taste stayed sweet and distinct.