Winter Vegetarian Stew

vegetarian-winter-stew

This vegetarian stew was completely winged tonight but I ran with the concept of trying to heighten each flavor first, and then bring things together. I loved how it came out. The idea of the turnip puree came from Kevin on Top Chef last season and I loved it — was almost like coconut milk.  It reminded another person of a chicken pot pie.  I loved how the puree thickened the meal into a great comfort dish without the need for flour.

This was a big hit so I thought I should write down my best memory of the process while it was fresh in my mind.  The amounts below are kind of rough, but it’s stew — nothing needs to be exact here!

3 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup cream
1/4 tsp sugar
2 medium/large turnips, peeled and roughly chopped
1 large sweet onion, chopped
4 or 5 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb white mushrooms, halved and sliced
1/2 lb shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
3 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 cans of chickpeas (or equivalent dried and cooked)
6 to 8 stalks of kale, stemmed and roughly chopped
5 or 6 small red potatoes
1 cup white wine or vermouth
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp fresh oregano, finely chopped (or half as much dried)
1 to 2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
pinch of hot red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

Stage 1: cooking the separate ingredients
A. In a large pot, saute the onions and garlic in a touch of olive oil and 1 tbsp of butter, and let slowly cook on low heat for 15 minutes. Add the celery and a couple pinches of salt and continue to cook.

B. Place the turnips, 1/2 cup of cream, and 1/2 cup of water in a pot and simmer until the turnips are soft

C. Melt 2 tbsp of butter in a saute pan and cook the mushrooms, with a couple pinches of salt, for 15-20 minutes. Add 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar near the end.

Stage 2: the rest!
Pour 1/2 cup of vermouth (or white wine) into the pot with the onions and celery and let it cook down a bit, then add in the kale.  Cover and let simmer for several minutes.  Once the kale has initially softened, add in the cooked mushrooms and the chickpeas, oregano, parsley. Add another 1/2 cup of vermouth and 1 cup of water and continue to cook.

Place the turnips, with the cooking liquid, in a food processor and let cool.  At this point, I rinsed out this pot, brought water to boil, and boiled the potatoes for 10 to 15 minutes to soften.

Puree the turnip and cream, and add 1/4 tsp of sugar.  Gently stir the puree into the stew, add the pepper flakes and a couple pinches worth of freshly ground black pepper, and add the potatoes when they are done.

Cook the stew for a while longer on very low heat until you are happy the flavors have all come together.  Add some water if it feels too thick.  Taste for salt and pepper.

  • kat

    The addition of the turnip puree has me really intrigued. Kevin was my fav on top chef

  • Giff

    it was great — just added a note to the post because Lisl got to try the leftovers tonight and loved it — she said, “this isn’t floury, so what is the thickener?” and I told her about the puree.

  • Awesome recipe, I can’t wait to try it and love using alternatives to flour for thickening. Especially something with real flavor, like turnips.

  • Who needs meat when you cna enjoy a stew like this? Perfect for this time of year Giff … I love every part from the turnips, to the chickpeas, to the mushrooms.

  • Amaris74

    We made this dish to serve at a party and it was a tremendous success. Even the hard core meat eaters really liked it. We used white wine instead of vermouth and added carrots. We also used less chic peas. Otherwise, we followed this delicious recipe. I have a feeling we will be making this stew quite often. Thanks!

  • well that’s great to hear 🙂 Your comment reminded me of this dish — I need to make it again now that it has gotten cold!