It’s dark before 4 pm, the wind sounds like it’s about to smash the windows of your room, and the house debate over the heating has been simmering for well over a month now. Winter is well and truly here, and there’s only one thing for it: comfort food.
Read on for some winter warmers packed with seasonal goodness to keep you going as the nights continue to draw in…
Sausage, greens and beans stew (easily veganised)
1 tbsp olive oil
4 sausages (meat or plant-based, whichever you prefer), roughly chopped into chunks
1 onion, finely diced
3 or 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely diced or crushed
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 ½ tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp thyme
½ tin of chopped tomatoes
1 mug of stock (chicken or vegetable)
one or two handfuls of kale, chard or spinach
1 tin white beans
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan on a medium heat. When it is warm, add the chopped up sausages to brown them. Once browned, remove the sausages and set them aside on a plate.
- Lower the heat and add the onion to fry in the sausage fat. If using vegan or vegetarian sausages, it’s best to add a little bit more oil.
- When the onion is soft and translucent, add the garlic and fry for two more minutes. Season with a pinch of salt.
- Add the herbs and spices and cook for one more minute. (I use chilli, thyme, and fennel seeds, but this recipe is great for using up whatever’s in your cupboard!)
- Add the tomatoes and stock and bring to a simmer. Turn down the heat and allow to reduce.
- After 10-15 minutes, add your greens and beans. Stir and put on a lid to allow the greens to wilt for 2-5 minutes.
- If you’re happy with the thickness of your stew, sit down and enjoy!
Leek and potato gratin (vegetarian)
1-2 leeks (depending on their thickness), thinly sliced
1 ½ tbsp butter + extra for greasing a baking dish
1 ½ to 2 potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp ground nutmeg
100ml double cream
milk (dairy or dairy-free alternative)
70-100g comté cheese (or similar), cut into small chunks
25g parmesan, finely grated
- Preheat the oven to 200℃.
- Grease a small baking dish with butter.
- Warm butter in a medium saucepan on a low-medium heat. Once melted, add the leeks and stir.
- Heat your stock in a medium saucepan – it doesn’t need to boil, just warm through. Soak the potato slices in it to allow them to soften.
- When the leeks are soft, add thyme and fry for 2 more minutes. Season with salt.
- Pour double cream and a splash of milk to your leeks, then add the ground nutmeg. Simmer.
- Add a splash of the stock to the leek mix and stir.
- Layer potato slices in the baking dish then spoon some of the leek mix over the potatoes. Sprinkle in a few chunks of comté. Repeat this process until you reach the top of the dish, then cover with a light layer of parmesan.
- Cover with foil and bake for 35-40 minutes.
- Remove the foil and cook for around 20 more minutes, until the top is golden brown and bubbling.
VEGAN LENTIL RAGU
5 dried porcini mushrooms
1 large onion, finely diced
2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely diced or minced
1 tsp chilli flakes
2 small sweet potatoes OR 200g butternut squash, chopped into chunks
350g dried red lentils
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp Marmite or Vegemite (this is vital to add an umami flavour – I promise you’ll like it even if you’re a Marmite hater)
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp oregano
2x400g tins of chopped tomatoes
- Preheat oven to 180℃.
- Roast your sweet potato/butternut squash with olive oil, salt and pepper for 25-30 minutes.
- Soak the dried mushrooms in 250ml boiling water.
- While the vegetables are roasting and the mushrooms are soaking, sweat the onion, celery, and carrot in a large ovenproof saucepan over a low heat.
- Once it has softened, add the garlic and chilli flakes. Fry for 2-3 more minutes.
- Remove the mushrooms from the water, roughly chop them, and add them to the saucepan – keep the water! Once the roasted veg is ready, add it to the saucepan and mix well so it breaks down, along with the lentils. Squeeze in the tomato paste, stirring so everything is coated in it.
- Pour in the tins of tomatoes and mushroom water. Stir in the marmite/vegemite.
- Sprinkle in the herbs and stir.
- Put a sheet of greaseproof paper on top and press the lid on tightly. Carefully transfer it to the oven and cook for around 30 minutes, taking it out to stir occasionally.
- Season to taste and serve with your choice of pasta or polenta.
This article is part of a themed week to commence the term at UOB Her Campus, focused on all things fresh, new and inspiring to kick off 2022.