Vegan Roots and Chestnuts Stew

Now that winter is finally coming, it is a good time to air the heavy iron pots and prepare for a warm and long kitchen session that will help us survive these cold days ahead. Long, slow cooking of heavy stews are always a good solution, they bring you comfort and make it easier to lay in bed with a cup of tea and long for the sun to return.

Living up in northern Germany makes the task of making a stew rather easy. Great roots grow here, and they are also the center of this recipe. But the cold weather also brings craving for other flavors, for high fat content and a warm feeling that doesn’t leave your stomach for some time. And here come the special ingredient that will make you forget that there is not one piece of suffering in this pot – chestnuts.

This recipe gives a lot of respect to every vegetable, so here quality counts. Prefer good, fresh roots from your local farmer on those you get at the supermarket.

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Ingredients:

  • 4 medium potatoes
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 2 parsley roots
  • 1 turnip
  • 1 medium yellow beet
  • 1 small sweet potato
  • 5-6 small jerusalem artichokes
  • 4 small onions
  • 1 leek
  • 250 g chestnuts
  • 250 g fresh spinach (the larger the leaves, the better)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 spoon peppercorns
  • fresh rosemary, thyme, sage
  • 10 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1 small dried red chili

You begin with peeling the chestnuts. Best way of doing it would be to carve a cross with a knife in their base and send them to the oven. 10 minutes at 200 degrees will do the trick. Peel them fast, as they get cold the peel will stick to the nut again.

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Peel the roots. Heat a heavy, oven proof pan. Add half of the oil and the roots. Don’t stir until the bottom of them get golden. Don’t be afraid of dark colors, the slight burn will give flavor for the entire pot later. It can get a bit burned, all good. After you stir the roots once, add the peeled nuts.

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When everything is golden add the herbs, peppercorns, chili and garlic. Stir again. Add water to cover the vegetables and bring to boil. Add salt to taste. When it boils, transfer to the oven. 220 degrees.

After 25 minutes, start making the spinach. Wash it well and place in a pot. Place over a high flame and let it reduce. Mix with the second half of the oil. Like in this recipe. When it’s done, add to different places between the roots, and return to the oven to another 25 minutes. Brush the upper layer with the liquids every few minutes. When it’s done, there should be almost no liquids, and your house will have enchanting smells for the rest of the evening. Enjoy.

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