I bought a 500ml bottle of cider a few weeks back, intending to use it to make this stew - then put it in the drinks cupboard (yes, we have one of those) and completely forgot about it until I was searching for the sherry. So I finally got round to making it yesterday.
When Neil saw the open bottle sitting in the fridge he had a slight panic attack and asked if I'd used one of his Christmas presents. Apparently he was given a bottle of cider with a glass, and he thought I'd purloined it for his dinner. Quite frankly, if I'd remembered he'd got it, I wouldn't have bought the other bottle - but that's between you, me and the gatepost.
It really was incredibly easy to make, and very tasty - I added a couple of sausages to Neil's plate, he's pretty much like a lot of meat eating men, and doesn't believe that vegetables alone constitute a decent meal. I don't mind vegetarian fare at all, in fact, a lot of the time it's more interesting to cook and to eat.
I did try to become vegetarian when I was a teenager ( looooooooooooooooong time ago), and there really wasn't much on offer. My mum did most of the cooking and she wasn't exactly adventurous - vegetarian sausages came in a packet mix that you added water to, and shaped into sausages. The same with burgers.... As a teenager, I wasn't much interested in making an effort for myself as far as my diet was concerned. Bless her heart, she tried so hard find vegetarian alternatives for me... I finally let her off the hook when I confessed that I'd been stopping at a greasy burger van on the way home from work every night, (for weeks) and stuffing my face with a beef quarter pounder with cheese..
I think she threw a cauliflower at me. SEE???... completely unadventurous vegetable to be lobbing at a teen.
If it had been me, I'd have thrown a Butternut Squash.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *Serves 4
Prep time - 10 minutes
Cooking time - 45 minutes
You will need
A large pan/skillet for the stew - with lid
A pan for boiling potates in
5 sprays fry light
1 onion - diced
1 leek - diced
1 stick celery - diced
1 large carrot - peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic - crushed
1 tsp dried thyme
14oz/400g can chopped tomatoes
7oz/200ml vegetable stock
9oz/250ml dry cider
14oz/400g can flageolet beans - drained
14oz/400g can butter beans - drained
Cheddar and Chive Mash
30oz/850g potatoes - peeled and chunked
splash of milk
1oz/25g flora light
2.5oz/75g low fat mature cheddar cheese
2 tbsp fresh chopped chives
salt and pepper
NOTE: Both the mash and the stew take about the same amount of time to cook, so it's easy to cook them at the same time.
For the Cheddar and Chive Mash
Put the potatoes into a pan of cold, salted water. Bring to a boil, then cover and drop to a simmer until cooked - depending on which potatoes you use, this can take anywhere from 20 - 40 minutes. Once cooked, drain the potatoes and mash them, then mix in the milk, flora, cheese and chives and season with salt and pepper. Serve with the cooked stew.
For the Stew
Place the large pan over a medium heat, spray with fry light and add the onion, leek, celery, carrot and garlic. Pop the lid on and cook gently until the vegetables are softened but not browned - about 15 minutes.
Add the thyme, tomatoes, stock and cider and bring to a simmer before adding the drained flageolet and butter beans. Cook for about 20 minutes with the lid on. Take the lid off and cook for a further 5 - 10 minutes, to thicken the stew. Serve with Cheddar and Chive Mash.
4 propoints per serving of Somerset Stew
7 propoints per serving of Cheddar and Chive Mash
Lightly adapted from Good Food Magazine