Tag Archives: stew

Spanish-Style Chicken and Chorizo Stew

Weather update: still flipping miserable. What you need is a warm, comforting stew to tuck into while the wind howls and the rain lashes… and we’ve got just the one! Chunky veg, chorizo and chicken that just melts in your mouth in a delicious tomato sauce. This is inspired by a pork and chorizo stew that we made in Spain but the pork there is something else, we couldn’t find anything to match up to it here so we went for chicken. Make sure you use chicken thighs in this – they are so much more suited to stews, casseroles and slow cooking, they’ll be beautifully tender. Now imagine yourself on a sun-drenched balcony, sipping a glass of Rioja as the sun just starts to set…

Ingredients for 4 people

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 2-3 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2-3 sticks of celery, roughly chopped
  • 3-4 new potatoes, sliced
  •  red/green pepper, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • About a 10cm piece of chorizo, cubed
  • 6-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, each cut into 3/4 pieces
  • 1 heaped tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 heaped tsp plain flour
  • 1 carton of passata
  • Chicken stock (enough to cover – about 500ml)
  • 1 tin of butter beans (or any other beans you fancy!), drained
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • Salt and pepper
  • A handful of black olives – optional

To start with heat the olive oil in a large pan/casserole dish and add in the vegetables. Cook over a low heat for around 10 minutes until soft and slightly caramelised. Add in the chorizo and garlic and stir together until the beautiful oil starts to come out of the chorizo.

Chorizo on veg

Paprika on veg

After this time turn the heat up slightly and throw in the paprika, stir to coat all of the vegetables in it. Then whack the chicken in and immediately add in the flour. Cook all of this together, stirring almost constantly for about 5 minutes or until the chicken is lightly coloured all over. Tip in the passata and enough water to just reach the top of the meat and veg – they will squash down as they cook. Stir in the beans, sugar, salt and pepper and then cover and bring to the boil. Turn it right down to simmer and leave to cook for around 1-1.5 hours by which time the vegetables should all be soft and the sauce should be thickened slightly and coating everything beautifully. About 10 minutes before the end chuck in a handful of olives if you like them (we love them!).

Let's be honest... stew isn't *that* photogenic, is it?
Let’s be honest… stew isn’t *that* photogenic, is it?

We had ours with some braised cabbage but this would be lovely on its own, or with a big hunk of crusty bread!

Chicken and chorizo stew with cabbage

Moroccan-style Spiced Vegetable Stew with Maneesh

We had originally planned to make this Moroccan-style roasted vegetable traybake and serve it with cous cous but Bird found herself with a bit of time on her hands. After a flick through Paul Hollywood’s “Bread” she decided to give Maneesh a go. Maneesh is a Middle Eastern flatbread topped with sesame seeds and herbs – basically a za’atar mixture which we’ve used previously with steak. Paul’s recipe can be found here.

The dough was really stretchy and sticky – very fun to work with!  We made half the amount in Paul’s book, he said his made 3 large maneesh but we managed to get 2 pretty huge breads out of half of the mixture. The vegetables were ridiculously simple – a mixture of bite-sized pieces of Mediterranean vegetables, roasted until slightly charred then smothered in chopped tomatoes, mixed with chickpeas and roasted for a further few minutes – often the simplest things are the best. This made a beautifully hearty dinner with enough vegetables left over for 2 lunches. It was lovely on it’s own but would be great with some meat, fish or cheese or could form one of many mezze courses to be enjoyed with friends!

Ingredients for 2 large maneesh

  • 250 g strong white flour
  • 5 g salt
  • 12 g caster sugar
  • 5 g instant yeast
  • 10 ml olive oil, plus extra for kneading and another 1bsp to make the za’atar paste
  • 180 ml tepid water
  • 2 heaped tbsp za’atar

You make this like a fairly standard bread dough. Mix together the flour, salt, sugar and yeast (adding the salt and yeast to opposite sides of the bowl at first), then add in 10 ml of olive oil and most of the water – you don’t need to bother rubbing in the olive oil like a regular loaf. Mix all of this together until you have a soft, smooth dough, adding the rest of the water slowly as needed. We used pretty much all of the water but you may not need to. Once it has come together tip onto an oiled surface and knead for 5-10 minutes until really soft and elastic. Place it in an oiled bowl and cover with cling film to rise, it needs to at least double in size – ours took just over an hour near a warm radiator.

Maneesh with za'atar

Once it’s risen tip it out onto an oiled surface again and knock back, fold it on itself and make sure all of the air is out. Once done split the dough into two. Roll each piece into a ball and then roll out with a rolling pin to form a large roughly circular shape. Put onto a baking sheet lined with oiled greaseproof paper. Now mix together the za’atar with enough oil to form a thick paste and smear onto the maneesh, leaving a small border around the edge. Pre-heat the oven to 210°C (Paul says 230 but we found this a bit hot) and leave the maneesh to rest for 20-30 minutes while the oven comes to temperature. When the oven is ready pop the bread in, we did ours one at a time as they cook best on the middle shelf. They take about 10-15 minutes to cook, when they’re golden-brown they’re ready! Leave to cool, turn the oven down to 180°C and start chopping your vegetables…

Cooked Maneesh

Ingredients for vegetable stew

  • A selection of chopped vegetables, we used 1 aubergine, 2 peppers, 2 courgettes, 1 large carrot, 1 red onion, all cut into bite-sized pieces with the carrots chopped slightly smaller as they take longer to cook
  • 1 tbsp ras el hanout
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes – optional
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tin of chickpeas, drained
  • 1-2 tsp pomegranate molasses – optional

Place all of the chopped vegetables in a large roasting dish and coat with the ras el hanout, sea salt, oil and chilli flakes (if using). Place in a preheated oven at 180°C. The whole dish will take about 1 hour to make, check on the vegetables every 15-20 minutes to move them around. After around 50 minutes they should be getting slightly charred and very soft so tip in the chopped tomatoes, chickpeas and the pomegranate molasses. Cook for a further 10 minutes and it’s ready!

Moroccan Vegetable Stew

We cut our maneesh in half, served the spicy vegetable stew on half and placed the other half on top for dipping. This was a real success and the maneesh made it feel a lot fancier than it was – give it a try!

Maneesh and vegetable stew

Venison Stew with Red Wine and Juniper

This recipe isn’t particularly pretty or elegant… But it is so tasty! If you’re unsure on what to cook this weekend this is the perfect recipe to pop on in the morning, pretty much ignore, and be rewarded with a rich, comforting stew for dinner. Venison is right in season at the moment and it has a gorgeous flavour – gamy but not too strong – and is beautiful paired with rich red wine and the sharpness of juniper to cut through. We cooked ours in a slow cooker but this would work well either on the hob on a very low heat, or in the oven on about 150°C for a couple of hours.

Because of the red wine and the venison this feels a bit fancy – it could be a great and very easy dish to serve to guests, they’ll think you’re all posh but really you’ve ignored it all day! We served ours with mashed potato and some wilted, buttered kale. The kale works particularly well because like the juniper, it cuts through the richness. Stew is so versatile though, so it would be lovely with dumplings, or with a puff pastry top – whatever you feel like!

Ingredients (this made about 3 generous portions):

  • About 250g diced venison
  • 2 tbsp seasoned flour
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 carrots, roughly diced
  • 4-5 shallots, peeled and halved
  • 2 sticks of celery, roughly diced
  • 1 leek, sliced into large rings
  • 1 large glass of red wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 6 juniper berries
  • 6-8 peppercorns
  • 1 carton of chopped tomatoes

First coat the venison well in the seasoned flour, then brown in batches in a large frying pan/skillet using 1 tbsp of the oil. When browned pop straight in the slow cooker. Now tip all of the vegetables into the frying pan along with any leftover flour and cook for about 5 minutes until lightly golden and softened. Tip all of this into the slow cooker too. Then put the pan back on the heat and tip in about half of the wine to deglaze the pan making sure to scrape all the stuck bits, there’s lots of flavour in them! Tip this into the slow cooker along with the rest of the wine, the herbs and spices (if you wanted to put the juniper berries and peppercorns into a muslin bag to remove the possibility of crunching down on one then feel free… we’re just lazy), the chopped tomatoes and then half fill the carton/tin with water and tip that in too.

Good red wine is an essential accompaniment to this stew!
Good red wine is an essential accompaniment to this stew!

And that is it! We cooked ours on high for an hour and then on low for about 6-7 hours and served it with mash and wilted, buttered kale seasoned with pepper and a little nutmeg.

Rabbit Stew with Sage Dumplings

Rabbit is a really underused meat in the UK – it’s not widely available in supermarkets, even though it’s one of the most sustainable meats you can buy. We bought some from our local butchers (one of them – there are about 5 independent butchers within walking distance from us!) and the meat is really delicious. It’s a very rich, gamy meat – perfect for a comforting autumn stew! This recipe includes some amazing suet dumplings with copious amounts of sage, another autumn treat.

For about 4 portions, you’ll need:

  • Knob of butter
  • Olive oil
  • 80g smoked bacon lardons
  • 6 small shallots
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 150-200g new potatoes
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 rabbit, jointed (ask your butcher to do this for you – you’ll end up with 6 pieces)
  • 250 ml red wine
  • Enough chicken stock to cover (about 1 litre)

For the dumplings:

  • 50g suet
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 5 finely chopped sage leaves
  • Cold water

Start by peeling the shallots and chopping up your carrots, celery and new potatoes. We like our veg nice and chunky, they’ll soften and soak up loads of flavour as they cook. Heat up a knob of butter and some olive oil over a fairly high heat and throw in your bacon lardons and shallots. After about 5 minutes (the shallots should have started to go a little brown), add the rest of the veg along with the fresh herbs. Cook for another 15 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. Add the flour and stir through the veg – this will ensure you get a thick stew. Now add the whole rabbit pieces, along with the wine and the stock.

Make sure you brown the shallots well - the caremelisation is really tasty!
Make sure you brown the shallots well – the caremelisation is really tasty!

Once your pot has come to the boil, put a lid on it and place it in the oven on a low temperature – 150°C to 170°C, depending on how long you want it to cook for. The lower the heat and slower the cooking time, the more tender the rabbit meat will be. We cooked ours at 150°C for about 4 hours, but the rabbit will probably be cooked after about 2 hours. Take it out and stir it every half hour or so.

When the stew is about half an hour from being done, it’s time to make the dumplings. Mix together the suet, the flour, and the sage leaves, and start adding the water, about a tablespoon at a time. This should be done fairly quickly, otherwise they won’t rise properly. When it has all come together, roll it into small balls (about the size of golf balls – or ping pong, if that’s your game!). Put them straight onto the top of the stew – they’ll swell up loads, so be sure to leave some space between them.

Those dumplings are monsters!
Those dumplings are monsters!

Put the stew back in the oven and leave to cook for about 20 minutes. When the dumplings have roughly tripled in size, your stew is ready to eat! Watch out for rabbit bones, as they can be quite small and fiddly. If you’ve never tried rabbit before, please give it a go! It’s super sustainable, lean & healthy, and totally delicious.

Coming Soon! Autumn and More…

It’s been a while! A week by my reckoning. Sorry we haven’t been posting, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t been cooking – we’ve got some real treats lined up for our next few posts. Autumn is well and truly here in Bristol, so that means comfort food – stews, soups and squash are most definitely on the menu! Here’s a sneak peek…

Autumn Preview