Sunday, 19 May 2013

Recipe: bean, lentil and tomato stew

I'm such a failure.  I set out to reduce the stuff in my freezer and I just continue to add to it!  Therefore, no Jack Monroe recipe for me this afternoon.  I HAVE to use up some freezer stuff!Ho hum!

1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion (or more, to individual taste!)
2 smallish carrots
100g mixed sliced peppers (I used frozen because they’re such good value)
3 mushrooms 
1 tsp smoked paprika
squidge garlic puree
80g frozen peas
1 can chopped tomatoes
40g red lentils
2 tsp vegetable stock paste
150g mixed pulses (I used chick peas, kidney beans and butter beans)
a good pinch dried mixed herbs
a grinding of pepper
half tube tomato puree

While the oil is heating in a good sized pan, peel and chop the onion and carrot and slice the mushrooms.
Saute the carrots, peppers and onion in the olive oil until softening.  Add the smoked paprika and the garlic puree, stir and saute for a couple more minutes.
Add the peas, mushrooms, lentils, stock paste, dried herbs, pulses, chopped tomato and half a can of water.  Give it a good grinding of pepper but no salt as the stock paste has salt.  Add a tsp sugar and stir well.
Bring to a gentle simmer, reduce the heat to a minimum, cover and allow to bubble away gently until all the veg are cooked and the lentils have softened and are thickening the liquid.  Stir occasionally to make sure it doesn't stick and scorch.
Add the half tube of tomato puree and stir it in well, then cook for about another 5 minutes.  Check seasoning and adjust if necessary.

It should all be nice and gooey and thick, perfect for lasagne, crumble, etc.  You could add meat to it if wanted, such as left over shreds of chicken or ham.  You could add wine to the cooking liquid instead of the extra water.

Today the total cost was £1.40 and I split it into 7 individual and (I think) generous portions that cost 20p each.  Given that it’s packed with protein from the lentils and pulses and also pretty good on the old veg too, I'm pleased with that.  Just shows how much you can save by cooking from scratch (even the pulses were cooked from dried, not a can of mixed beans) and using value ingredients when appropriate.

If one threw in some dried apricots, it would be a delicious tagine – I shall do that to one of the portions.  Start off with chilli and appropriate spices and you've got a very filling curry that just needs rice and a dollop of yoghurt.  This is one I shall do again for sure.

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