Vegetable and Butter Bean Stew Recipe

I'm not really one to share a lot of recipes - in fact, I've never posted one on here at all. However, I recently concocted this delicious supper and felt I just had to share it with you. The perfect hearty winter dish, the best thing about it is that you can use up pretty much all of your leftover vegetables in the process of making it. Like the sound of it? Then read on for the recipe...

To begin, I fried off half a large red onion, one clove of garlic and one leek, all chopped up in a large saucepan, with plenty of butter. Alternatively you could just use oil but I like the buttery flavour that this method gives the leeks. I kept stirring these veggies until the onion was looking more translucent and the leeks less green, then added in half a red pepper which I had chopped into very fine pieces.
Next up I added one carton of chopped tomatoes, along with salt and pepper to season. If you have any in your cupboards, this would be a great time to add a couple of teaspoons of paprika to give the stew a slightly sweeter flavour but this is by no means a requirement as mine still tasted great without it. There are also plenty of other vegetables that you could add as well as the ones I mentioned, but it is completely dependant on your personal tastes and what you have to spare - I'm sure butternut squash, spinach or carrots would work really well, for example.
My next step was to add some stock to really give the stew some flavour. Vegetable would work perfectly but I personally used chicken stock, as I felt the slightly meatier flavour would be nice considering the rest of the dish is meat free. After this I just left the stew to simmer for about twenty to thirty minutes, adding more stock here and there where I felt it needed a bit more liquid and stirring fairly frequently. The longer you can leave it simmering the better, as more flavours will come out this way, but as long as the veggies are soft/ cooked through it's fine.
A couple of minutes before serving I added my tin of butter beans, drained. You ideally add these close to the end of cooking as you want the beans to be heated through but not mushy. The beans are a great addition, ensuring you get a protein fix despite it being a meat free recipe, and also serving to bulk out the dish a bit more.
I served the stew with roast potatoes which was a really delicious combination. You can use any roast potato recipe, but my technique was to parboil them for a few minutes, give them a shake in order to fluff up the skins and then roast them in plenty of oil, salt and pepper, at about 200 degrees until golden and crispy. I finished the meal off with a couple of slices of French bread, the perfect accompaniment for mopping up the remnants of scrummy sauce at the end.
These measurements were another for me to get about two portions from, one which I ate immediately and another to freeze for another day. These kind of meals are perfect for me to cook as a student, because it can be a struggle making portions for one without wasting ingredients. By bulk cooking hearty meals like this, I have something to heat up mid week in absolutely no time at all and get to use up all the bits and pieces in my cupboard. If you'd be interested in seeing anymore of my recipe ideas, please let me know in the comments below. I hope you enjoy making and eating my Vegetable and Butter Bean Stew!


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