It feels as if a lot of you might need some warming, comforting nourishment right now, and this simple, one pot, vegetable stew with summer vegetables is just the ticket.
20 minutes preparation
45 minutes cooking
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, peeled, chopped finely
2 garlic cloves, peeled, chopped
Thyme & rosemary, chopped finely
1 stick celery of around 15cm , chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled, sliced finely
2 handfuls green beans, topped , cut in two
2 medium courgettes, peeled if you prefer, chopped into 2 cm chunks
2 large leaves green cabbage, cut into small strips
2 tablespoons tomato concentrate (use the Mutti brand, if you can get it)
1 tin chopped tomatoes or six ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon smoked chilli powder (if you have it/can find it)
8 – 12 new potatoes if you like, peeled
150g pearl barley
Salt and pepper, fresh herbs to garnish
If the cooking time of the barley you choose is 30 minutes or more, start by getting it on to cook before you do anything else.
In a heavy based casserole, heat the olive oil and sweat the garlic and onions. Add the thyme, rosemary, celery and carrots and cook for a few more minutes on low heat.
Add the tomato concentrate and stir well. Cook for a couple of minutes before tipping in the tinned tomato. Rinse the tin with water and add to the pot along with the paprika and chilli powder. Season lightly with salt and pepper, top up with a little more water if needed, to cover the vegetables, and give them room to cook.
Simmer for 5 minutes or so. Rinse the barley and add to your pot. (If it’s a longer cooking barley, transfer it in.) Leave to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, letting the sauce reduce and the vegetables and barley become more tender.
10 minutes or so before serving, add the green vegetables and let them cook until they are softer yet still hold a little crunch. Check the seasoning and serve garnished with fresh herbs (basil, thyme, sage, parsley…) and some good bread.
As usual, the stew will taste even better the next day. That’s when the potatoes came into play for us. Peel, then steam or boil them. Set them into the top of the stew and bake at 180C for about 15 minutes.
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