A Warming Autumnal Stew
Now that epic heatwave has passed, I’ll confess - I’m ready to chuck a jumper on. If you’re with me, get prepped for upcoming cooler climes with this autumnal stew from scientist and nutritionist Melissa Saint Hill - @the_bare_scientist. (Check out her feed for some major food porn.)
“This warming recipe is healthy and hearty with a good mix of brain-healthy nutrients like B vitamins, omega 3s and folate. The mushrooms create great texture as well as a woody flavour and aroma.”
Why is it good for my brain?
Humble chickpeas are a great source of magnesium, which is vital for muscle recovery, sleep, regulating the nervous system, and helping combat depression. B vitamin-rich mushrooms can help protect against brain aging, leafy greens are excellent for fighting the dreaded brain fog, and topped with a handful of antioxidant-rich walnuts - you’ve got yourself some serious #brainfood.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 50 minutes
For the mash
840g Maris Piper potatoes
130 ml milk of choice (almond milk used)
2 tablespoons butter/margarine of choice (plant based version used)
1 tablespoon of a mix of dried thyme, oregano and marjoram
For the Stew
30g dried mixed mushrooms (porcini, shitake, chestnut)
4 dried wood ear mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium yellow onions
2 medium carrots
2 stalks celery
3 cloves garlic
1 400g can chickpeas
250g chestnut mushrooms
6 leaves savoy cabbage
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 vegetable stock cube
4 sprigs thyme
Sea salt and ground white pepper
2 tablespoons of a mix of dried thyme, oregano and marjoram
5 tablespoons plain flour
Handful fresh parsley
Set your potatoes to boil for the mash (this normally takes about 25 minutes).
While potatoes are boiling, place the dried mushrooms into a medium pan with approximately 800ml boiling water, cover and leave to soak for about 20 minutes. Once the mushrooms have rehydrated, do not throw away the water as this will be used in the stew.
Preheat some olive oil in a fairly deep pot, and sweat roughly chopped onions on a high heat for 3 minutes. Add chopped carrots, finely sliced celery and minced garlic and season with salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon of dried herbs. Mix well and sauté for 10 minutes.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the drained chickpeas, quartered portobello mushrooms and shredded savoy leaves.
Roughly chop the rehydrated mushrooms and add them to the pot along with the strained mushroom water. Add another tablespoon of dried herbs, a stock cube and the tomato puree. Re-season if needed and boil for 10 minutes.
Take out about 1 cup of the liquid from the pot and place in a bowl. Add 5 tablespoons of flour, whisk until smooth and return the mixture to the pot. Reduce the heat to medium-low, stir well and leave to thicken.
While the stew is simmering, place the walnuts on a lined baking sheet and toast in the oven on 200°C for 6 – 8 minutes, turning halfway.
Mash your potatoes until creamy and serve with the stew on top. Garnish with roughly chopped walnuts and fresh parsley.
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Melissa is a research scientist, registered nutritionist and food consultant. When not helping to project manage clinical trials, Melissa can be found developing recipes for various brands; part of which finds her styling and photographing food for a variety of projects.
She is also involved with teaching in community kitchens, helping people to gain confidence in the kitchen whilst improving their cooking and baking skills with health in mind.