Though we are technically at the height of summer, and it’s the time of year for salads and ice lollies; we have a freak thunderstorm here in Cornwall today, and I am feeling ill. What started as a stuffy nose earlier in the week has evolved into a throat which feels like its on fire every time I swallow or talk. So for now I’m not planning to do either!!
But I will have to eat at some point, and when I do I want it to be the most ultimate comfort food I can think of…that isn’t boring old soup. So I thought today, for Meat Free Monday, I would share my old favourite Mexican Vegetable Stew recipe; which is soothing on the throat but has a bit of a chilli kick to help with coldy noses!
Mexican Vegetable Stew with Butternut Dip and Spiced Wedges
- 1 onion, finely sliced
- 1 large red pepper, roughly chopped
- 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 pint of vegetable stock
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 red chilli or 1 jalapeño, finely chopped (remove seeds for sore throats though!)
- 1 courgette, cut into chunks
- 2 carrots, cut into chunks (I tend to wash but not peel them, to keep some of those extra nutrients in!)
- green beans
- 2 potatoes, chopped roughly into wedges with skin on
- 1 tablespoon of chilli flakes
- 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
For the dip
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 roasted butternut squash, peeled and left to cool
- 1 tablespoon of tahini
- 3 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- pinch of salt
- pine nuts and fresh basil to serve
- Preheat your oven to 200° C or gas mark 6
- Starting with the dip; mash the squash, tahini, garlic, salt and Lemon juice together to make a thick paste. Gradually add in the olive oil, stirring until you get your desired thickness. Sprinkle on a few pine nuts and chopped fresh basil; then put aside to cool in the fridge.
- For the stew, gently fry the onion in a pan with a drizzle of oil until brown, then throw in the carrots, courgette, beans, chilli and garlic. Once the veg begins to soften (about 3-5 mins of cooking) add the tinned tomatoes, peppers and stock and leave to simmer on a medium heat.
- Toss the potato wedges in a dash of rapeseed or olive oil and spinkle with chilli flakes, rosemary, salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, shaking every 10 minutes to stop them sticking. I recommend investing in a reusable baking parchment and nothing will stick again!
- Reduce the heat on the stew and do a little taste test. Add more stock if you like, but I do like my stews quite thick and tomatoey! You might want to season with salt or add a little more chilli if you’re feeling brave, or even adding a dash of Worcestershire or soy sauce also adds a nice kick.
- Once wedges are ready, serve with your chilled dip, a big bowl of the stew….and a cup of camomile tea if you are feeling as sorry for yourself as I am!