It’s been so chilly the last few days! I thought the time is ripe to attempt to bulk cook some warming winter dinners. Armed with only a vague notion of what a stew is meant to look like, I wandered around Morrisons to look for some ingredients that I can throw together. Here is my attempt!
- Some “stew-y” vegetables (I used one small butternut squash, one huge carrot, three medium parsnips, and an eighth of the biggest pumpkin I’ve ever seen)
- Meat of some description (I used three cuts of pork belly)
- 2 medium onions
- 440ml red wine (a late addition)
- 3 stock cubes
- Salt to taste, soy sauce (a personal preference, apparently it’s weird), sunflower oil, plain flour
- Pork belly: £1.81
- Butternut squash: £0.64
- Wonky parsnips: £0.52
- Red wine: £5.50
- Pumpkin: free from the Student Union (long story?)
- Onions, wonky carrots, stock cubes, plain flour, seasonings: already in the house
- Total: £8.47; per portion £1.69
N.B.: Obviously the red wine is the most expensive thing on the ingredients list and you don’t have to add it in if you don’t want to / are very strict on not drinking alcohol. You could just substitute it for more stock and season it differently. Also, if you’re a vegetarian you can see it’s going to cost even less if you take the meat out.
- Cut the meat into rough cubes.
- Fry the meat in some sunflower oil in a huge pot. Set aside when cooked through. So I was a vegetarian for five years which meant that I never learnt how to cook with meat at home. Apparently you’re meant to cook the meat first before it goes in things like sauces, stews, and soups to avoid giving people food poisoning. At least I know now…
- Whilst the meat is frying, chop the vegetables into rough cubes.
- Throw all the vegetables in the same big pot to fry.
- Chuck in three stock cubes and 2tbsp of plain flour. Add 1L of hot water. My mistake was adding flour after the hot water went in. It went clumpy. Don’t do that.
- Leave on medium heat to reduce down.
- At this point I remembered that I had a lecture so I abandoned my cooking attempt temporarily. On the bright side, I decided that some red wine might go nicely in the stew and stopped off at a convenience store on the way back for a bottle.
- Pour in the red wine. Season to taste.
- Leave to reduce the sauce down again.
- Portion, let cool, and freeze as needed.
Ta-daaaah! Enough stew to feed a small army. Or one student for a few days.
I know I’m blowing my own trumpet, but for a first attempt this stew isn’t half bad. Apparently you’re not meant to cook pork with red wine (whoops) but I guess I’m not a seasoned enough wine taster to notice if it tastes weird. There’s perhaps too much liquid for the amount of solid food that went in the stew but that’s easily fixed. Plus, the frozen portions came out of the microwave thicker than the portion I ate straight out the pot. In the future perhaps I’ll cook a batch on a lazy Sunday afternoon to save cooking dinners for a week. (Yes, I’m one of those people who are too lazy to attempt culinary variety).
- Cost: 3/5
- Ease: 4/5
- Time: 2/5 (but worth it if bulk cooking)
- Taste: 4/5
If you have any comments or suggestions (like don’t cook pork with red wine), I’d love to hear in the comments!