My friend Ben had a stew at our house once. Since then, he’s asked me about fifty times (ie twice) what went on so that he might make it for himself. I’m generally pretty low on patience, so I thought I’d get it right out there straight away, then it need never be repeated again. So this one’s for you Ben, now leave me alone.
STEW FOR NEWMAN
Garlic – in bits.
Onions – yes.
Celery – if you know what’s good for you.
Some root veg – carrot, swede, turnip, whatever you fancy.
Greens – leeks, purple sprouting, peas, it’s all good.
Pulses – Puy lentils make it good. Adding borlotti beans makes it better.
Herbs ‘n’ that – I’d say pepper, thyme, maybe a bit of rosemary.
Cook the veg up in a big pan with a lid for a bit, holding fire on the pulses, until it all starts to soften, then pour in a couple of glasses of red wine (or a bottle of half decent ale) and a similar amount of water. Insert herbage, and maybe a good sprinkle of stock if you’re well, er, stocked. Sorry. Get it bubbling-hot, then add a handful or three of tasty puy lentils and let it cook for about 45 minutes or until the lentils are done and the veg is soft enough for an old man’s teeth to manage. Hopefully, you’ll add some borlotti beans near the end, making it a bigger, better and bolder stew all round. Eat it with potato cakes for added fatness.
SCOTT’S POTATO CAKES
Potatoes – hence the name.
Greens – because they’re healthy.
Butter – to counteract the greens.
Salt – because it’s important to live dangerously once in a while.
Make a load of mashed potato, skins ‘n’ all, with plenty of butter and a good pinch of salt. I like a bit of mustard, but more of that another time. Stir in some lightly fried up greens; again, just whatever’s hanging about like leeks, sprouts or cabbage. Mix it all up and form into fat wadges of goodness, about the size of a teenager’s angry fist – you probably want one each, so make as much as you think you can handle, tough guy. Lay ‘em out on a baking tray, add a little pat of butter on the top (because you’re worth it), then bake in the oven for about half an hour or until the edges go crunchy.
Ready? Set the table? Go.