Stout, chestnut & puy lentil stew

Hearty stew

We are so excited to be popping up at The Inn at Home: an independent Craft Ales, Wines and Spirit shop in the heart of Newbury.

I was very interested to find out that they stock a good range of vegan beers, ciders and stout… so my cook’s brain naturally went into overdrive!

I bought a tin of a wonderful ‘Arbor’ breakfast stout to experiment with and create some new recipes. This comes from a family-owned and run microbrewery based fairly locally, in Bristol. I am so happy with this recipe for a hearty warming stew. The stout gives it such a deep and rich flavour that it would be very easy to think “this can’t possibly be vegan…there must be meat in here!”

Arbor Breakfast Stout is 100% vegan!

Ingredients:

• *1/3 cup (85g) puy lentils

• Olive/rapeseed oil

• 2 stalks celery, chopped

• 1 onion, chopped

• 4 new potatoes, quartered

• 2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks

• 1 large parsnip or 2 small/medium, peeled and cut into chunks

• 1 large flat mushrooms, cut into large chunks

• 100g chesnut mushrooms, halved/quartered

• 100g pre-cooked chestnuts

• 2 tbsp plain flour

• *500ml vegetable stock (made with 2 heaped tsp bouillon powder)

• 1/2 can (1/2 pint or 240ml) vegan stout beer (we used Arbor Breakfast Stout)

• 2 tbsp tomato paste

• *2 tsp garlic powder

• *2 tsp onion powder

• *2 bay leaves

• *3 teaspoons muscovado sugar

• *1 teaspoon dried thyme

• *1 tbsp dried chives (plus 1tbsp extra for sprinkling)

• 1 tbsp tomato ketchup

• *1 tsp maldon salt • *1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

( * ingredients stocked by Lonely Lentil :) )

Method:

Thoroughly rinse the puy lentils with cold running water. Place into a pan with cold water, bring to the boil and cook for around 15 minutes, until just starting to go tender. Drain and set aside to add to the stew later.

  1. Add a light coating of oil to a large pan. Heat and add the chopped onion and celery. Gently sauté for around 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until softened.
  2. Add the garlic and onion powders to the pan and stir well, sauté for a further minute until smelling delicious!
  3. Add the potatoes, carrots and parsnips to the pan, along with the tomato puree, flour and dried herbs. Saute for around 5 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking (you can add a splash of the stock to the pan at this stage if the vegetables are sticking a lot).
  4. Add the mushrooms and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  5. Pour in the stout and stir well. Bring to the boil and allow to simmer for about 1 minute. Now add the sugar, ketchup, stock, salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, stir well, then bring down to a simmer. Gently simmer for about 20 minutes, until the root vegetables are soft and the sauce has thickened.
  6. Add the cooked lentils and stir well. Cook for a further 5-10 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced down to your desired consistency.
  7. Once the stew is ready to serve, sprinkle the extra chives on top… this adds a lovely bit of colour and also a fresh, mild oniony hint of flavour.

This stew can be served alongside favourites such as roast potatoes, mash or even just a chunk of fresh bread.

I love serving it alongside what I call ‘tricolour roasties’. Instead of just your standard roast spuds, why not mix things up with a combo of roasted potato, carrot and parsnip chunks?

Chop all three into chunks of roughly the same size, parboil and leave to cool completely. Place the cooled veg in a roasting tin and drizzle with some lovely olive or rapeseed oil, along with a sprinkling of onion and garlic powders, salt and pepper (I also like to add a sprinkling of dried thyme and rosemary). Roast for about 45 minutes at 200-220 degrees C or until golden and crispy… gorgeous!