Saturday, September 30

How do I flavor a vegetable stew? | Meal

How can I make my vegetable and bean stews less boring? I use the same seasonings every time.
Hilary, Brighton

It’s about the base, Hilary. Get it right and you really can’t go far wrong. “If you build the flavor and seasoning from scratch, you’re not going to have a boring, bland stew,” he says. Noor murad, co-author of Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love. When in “stew mode”, Murad always starts with a paste: “I apply garlic, ginger and green chilli with herb stems [coriander, parsley; the fresh leaves will be stirred in at the end], some oil and whatever spices you want. “These could be hot spices (think cinnamon and cloves) or more Middle Eastern flavors (fenugreek, turmeric).” That’s the base, then I’ll add chunks of veggies and broth, either chicken or vegetables. “

Rosie sykes, chef and author of the Roasting pan dinners, start your stews with onions, celery, leeks, and maybe a carrot. “When you sweat your veggies, you need a generous amount of oil to make it creamy,” she says. You’ll also want to add laurel or a bouquet garni; alternatively, “sage is really delicious with beans and squash, just like rosemary,” adds Sykes. Then, to give the beans more body, it turns into whole garlic cloves. “Add several cloves still in your jackets along with the beans, and let them get very soft. At the end, take them out, squeeze the meat into a cup with a stew ladle and a little liquid, and give them a zhuzh with a hand mixer. ” Put it back in your stew with a little oil or butter.

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Rose harissa is another helpful helper. Meera Sodha writes: “It is the equivalent of a friend who always brings the party, no matter the situation.” A good situation is when it is added to a pan of fried onions and red bell peppers, along with minced garlic, tomato puree, salt, sweet paprika, and crushed cumin seeds. Sodha cooks this for five minutes, adds a can of cherry tomatoes, then cooks again for 10 more minutes, before pouring into two cans of chickpeas and their liquid. Let it bubble until the chickpeas are “nice and soft,” and serve topped with fried chard leaves mixed with lemon juice.

The ending of Hilary’s stew story is also crucial. “You need something to brighten up the really strong flavors that have been cooking for a long time,” says Murad, who makes a “lemon-herb paste” to drizzle on top. Similarly, Sykes often ends his stews with an almost gremolata made from lemon zest and mild herbs (parsley, oregano, basil): “The oil takes on the heat and you get a lovely, fragrant finish.”

Alternatively, if you’ve opted for a spicy setting, Sykes suggests a coriander ginger paste: “Chop the coriander, grate some ginger, add lemon zest, oil, maybe lemon juice, and stir last.” Dried limes, meanwhile, are the secret weapon of Shwan Baban, head chef of Berenjak in London. “Pierce a pair and throw them in ghaimeh bademjoon [an Iranian stew of aubergine and split peas] or turnips and chickpeas to add a hint of lemon flavor. ”

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