There are two rules for any stew: cook aromatics first (in this case celery, carrot, onion & garlic) and use dry wine. And here’s a personal preference…. Use root vegetables for thickness instead of a roux or corn starch.
This is a basic recipe. The essentials are aromatic vegetables, stock and wine. The rest is up to your discretion. You’ll want to make more than you can eat immediately so that there’s something in the freezer for later.
Vegetable Stew (serves 6)
- 1 head celery, diced
- 2 lbs carrot, diced
- 2 onions, diced (sweet onion suggested)
- ½ head garlic, chopped
- 1 lb white sweet potato, diced
- 1 yellow squash, diced
- 1 zucchini, diced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 ½ cups dry white wine (sauvignon blanc suggested)
- 1 ½ cups broth (either vegetable or chicken)
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, minced (or 2 tbsp dry parsley)
- 1 tsp dry oregano
- Salt & pepper to taste
After a lot of dicing, heat oil in a skillet over a medium setting. Add celery, carrot, onion & garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and sauté until they start to soften and release their aroma.
Add wine and stock. Raise heat till the liquid boils, then immediately reduce to low.
Add remaining ingredients, cover, and let simmer for three hours. Gently stir every half hour to ensure that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot. The sweet potato will break down on it’s own to thicken the stew. You should stir gently because you don’t want it becoming a mash. Taste the broth after an hour to see if more seasoning is needed.
Alternatives: Add whatever vegetables you fancy. I peeled and cubed some Jerusalem artichoke that I found at a local farmers’ market . This added a subtle nutty taste.
You can make a fish, chicken or rabbit stew by adding the raw protein before it’s done cooking (fish should be added in the last hour of cooking, chicken or rabbit can go in after the first hour). I set a few cups aside when this batch was finished and added ¼ pound of leftover fish – instant fish stew from something that would have otherwise gotten chucked.