Autumn has arrived in all its cold and crisp glory. As the nights draw in and frost begins to settle, I find myself craving richer, more satiating food, in the form of hotpots, thick soups, and luxuriant stews. Red wine and rosemary, one of my favourite flavour combinations, join hands perfectly in one of these such dishes. I can vividly recall the scent of a beef hotpot bubbling on the stove one autumn of my childhood, wafting its aroma through the entirety of the house, and sending anticipatory tremors down my tastebuds. Casseroles are the perfect mode of resistance to the chillier evenings, and can provide an abundance of leftovers to be eaten on a busier day.
I came across a recipe for a sausage and bean stew, which I used as my base to this meat-free version. Sweet potato, always preferable to beef in my eyes, is the most comforting and satisfying of all vegetables.
This recipe makes two portions. You’ll need:
- half a red onion
- quarter of a carrot
- two cloves of garlic
- two small sweet potatoes
- one tin of chopped tomatoes
- a tin of beans (I used kidney, but cannellini would work excellently)
- 100ml vegetable stock
- red wine, or red wine vinegar
- a small bag of spinach
- dried rosemary
- chilli flakes
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
Begin by preheating the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Scrub clean the sweet potatoes, chop them into chunks, and drizzle with olive oil before seasoning with salt and pepper. Set them in the oven to roast for around thirty-five minutes.
Finely chop the onion and garlic. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large-ish saucepan, and gently cook the onions and garlic until softened, for about five minutes. Pour in the chopped tomatoes and stock, then season with red wine (or red wine vinegar), rosemary, and chilli flakes, until you have a delicate balance of sweetness and herbs. Let it simmer away for twenty minutes.
(I used red wine vinegar, as someone who doesn’t drink very much, thus does not have bottles of wine at hand. However, red wine would give much more depth of flavour.)
When the potatoes are nearly ready, stir the beans into the sauce, and begin wilting the spinach by handfuls. Tip the potatoes in and give it a good mix to incoporate all the ingredients together.
Plate up and enjoy!
(I do apologise for the injustice done to food by my camera – but as I don’t own a good camera, this is the best I can offer. But I can assure you that it tasted better than it may look.)