Stew is quick to prepare but usually takes 2 – 3 hours to cook if you use stewing beef. If that’s how you cook your stew, cook as much as you can in the biggest pan you have and freeze what you don’t use for another time. That way, you’ll save on fuel, and the stew will taste better as the flavours mingle during storage.
However, my recipe is for a quick-cook stew using bacon pieces. Buy lardons,(little cubes of bacon in packets for quiches, etc)or, if you want bigger pieces of meat in your stew, ask for bacon pieces at the deli counter. Smoked bacon gives a better flavour.
Fry the bacon in a little olive oil until browned, then add a chopped onion, or better still, a leek, and cook until soft. Now add whatever vegetables you like. I use carrots, parsnips, peppers and potatoes, but virtually anything goes.
Add a cup of red lentils, a tin of chopped tomatoes and 2 chicken stock cubes, plus enough water to cover the vegetables completely. Bring to the boil, and season with fresh or freeze dried parsley, salt, pepper, garlic and Worcestershire Sauce for extra flavour. Cook on a low heat for a minimum of one hour, or place in a slow cooker and cook according to vegetable soup time.
If your stew is too thick,add more water. If it’s not thick enough,mix a little cornflour with water, add to soup and bring back to boil. Enjoy with fresh bread.