I’m using some poetic licence when it comes to these recipes, as I want to open the mind a little. We know that stews are good for us, but yet they can seem to be mundane. Some of you, no doubt, make wonderfully delicious stews, but unfortunately my first introduction to them when I was growing up was in the form of a brown soup with floating carrots and stringy beef that you excavated from your teeth as the day went along.
In fairness, some of the packet stew mixes are amazing. I’ve arrived home on the odd occasion to discover a very tasty concoction lurking in a pot. When I express amazement, I’m reluctantly told a packet has been used to arrive at this deliciousness. What magic.
Before I talk myself out of a job, I’ll tell you about today’s dishes.
The first one probably isn’t a stew, it’s more of a pot roast I suppose, but I’m including it because there’s meat, liquid and vegetables. You’ll know by now that I’m attracted to one-pot dishes and simple techniques, but the fact is that if you put harmonious ingredients into a pot and give some consideration to how you cook them, the inevitable result is that it will be lovely.
This tagine is perfect if you want to introduce some gentle spices into your dinner. It can be made with beef, lamb or chicken thighs. Or skip the meat altogether and use chunky butternut squash.
I’m using beef this time. If you’re using chicken, you will need to cut the cooking time down to one hour. With something like this, the timing can fluctuate depending on the size of the meat, but the general rule is, it’s ready when it’s tender.
I have fallen head over heels for Galicia. This lentil recipe is an approximation of a dish I ate in O Gato Negro, an ancient and unpretentious gem of a restaurant in Santiago de Compostela. God only knows what porky bits lurked in its murky depths, but they were wobbly and delectable. We drank bowls of red wine to wash it down and absorbed the clamour of a very special restaurant. I was in heaven.
Recipe: A simple tagine
Recipe: Galician porky bits and lentils