Comfort stew - eating when the vegetarian's away
Preparation time
Cooking time
Total time
Our fabulous stew recipe can be adapted to include whatever you have at hand. Preparation and cooking time depends on the ingredients you use.
Recipe type: Main Course
Cuisine: British
Serves: 6
  • 500 - 1,000 grams protein (a chicken, a couple of lamb shanks, stewing beef, even fish or tofu)
  • 2 - 4 onions (red or white)
  • 6-12 garlic cloves, skinned but whole
  • 500 - 1,000 grams starchy vegetables (potatoes, turnips, pulses, carrots, aubergine, beans, chickpeas or whatever you fancy)
  • Tinned tomatoes
  • 200 - 400 grams texture vegetables (mushrooms, button onions, fennel bulbs, peppers)
  • 0.5 - 1 litre stewing liquid (red wine or white, stock, tomato juice, cider, water)
  • Flavourings (thyme, parsley, ginger, coriander, lime, rosemary, olives, capers, lime pickle... user your imagination and let your palate steer you)
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Trim and prepare the protein. If using fish, put to the side for now.
  2. If using meat, brown in a pan. (Not to seal in the flavour - the long, slow cooking will squeeze almost every bit of meat juice into the stew - but because we like the flavour of browned meat. It adds delicious umami to the sauce.)
  3. Remove the skin from the onions and chop roughly or just quarter.
  4. Remove the skin from the garlic cloves.
  5. Add onions and garlic to the pot where the meat is browning and let soften. It doesn't have to soften much: it's going to stew for a long time so again we're looking for a little extra flavour through browning more than anything else.
  6. Chop he starchy vegetables into similarly sized chunks (1" square works well).
  7. Add to the pot and fry briefly.
  8. (If you have a huge joint of meat, something that will have to simmer for over an hour, reserve the starchy veg for 20-30 minutes. You don't want them to completely disintegrate when the stew cooks.)
  9. Add the tinned tomatoes.
  10. Mix the stewing liquid (or pour straight into the pan). It should just cover the meat and vegetables.
  11. Simmer as per directions on the meat, or until all the vegetables are nice and tender.
  12. This part of the process usually takes between 30-60 minutes, depending on what's being cooked.
  13. Add flavourings and simmer for another 15 minutes.
  14. Season to taste.
  15. Serve with a green salad and/or chunks of bread.
Recipe by Edinburgh Foody at