The time has come where I absolutely need to share with the world how to make 30kg of rich vegetable stew, right here, right now. I did this for 45 people at our bothy a few weekends ago, so if you’re ever in need of Big, Cheap, Food, this be it, my pals. You could always scale it down but it’s always funnier to greet people through the front door with the words “I’ve got the weight of a nine year old in stew. Do you want some?”
To serve 40-45 people:
2.5 kg of onion, half red, half white or whatever, doesn’t matter.
3 large swedes (probs around 5kgs lol)
3kgs of Parsnips
4kgs of carrots
1.5 kg of bebe potates
6 cans of cooked green lentils
1 bottle of white wine
1 bottle of stout
More parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme than Simon and Garfunkel anticipated on their trip to Scarborough.
Most of a jar of wholegrain mustard
a quarter of a jar of Marmite
about 6 liters of vegetable stock
A mountain of black pepper
300ml of veg oil
a tablespoon of salt
Right. All that should take up most of your workspace, so do make use of the floor where you can. Get some minions to chop all your root veg (parsnips, carrots, swede) into even chunks probably about the size of those lego duplo blocks – you’re gonna be stewing this for a long time so you want it to cook well and be tender without falling to bits. The only thing I bother peeling is the swedes – and the onions, obvs.
Put the oil into an industrially sized saucepan (honestly, you could charge £450 pcm rent for the one I used if it were centrally located) and heat that up on medium with the oil while you dice your onions. By the time you’ve chopped them, which will probably take about half an hour, your pan should be more than ready to take them and sizzle-bizzle like mad. Add salt and pepper and some of your woody herbs immediately and put the lid on to make them sweat for about 20 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Now, add all your chopped veg – forget about the spuds for a while, we deal with them later – and stir it around for a wee bit before glugging in that £4.50 bottle of pinot, in addition to the mustard and marmite. Put a lid on it and simmer for a wee bit, just to get the veg nice and flavour-infused. Now, you can add your stock – judge the quantity so that is just covers the veg (tbh I just sloshed in cold river-water until I felt like it and threw a packet of stock-cubes in there too, unwrapped of course, morons). Then, you can let that sit for about 2 hours on medium with the lid off while you piss about and watch something epic on YouTube or cry. When you’re bored enough, you can check the stew again and add in the stout as the veg is getting soft. Now, you can toss in a whole bag of baby potatoes without doing anything to them if they’re small, or cutting them in half if they’re a bit bigger. Use your own judgement and opinions, as per. Also take the time to taste the stew at this point – does it need more salt? More pepper? More marmite? Ultimately, you’re on the home run now, so you can cook the stew until all the veg and spuds are tender. I like to do all this about 4 hours before serving because then you turn off the heat and leave it so that the flavours get a chance to get to know each other and meld together. About 10-20 minutes before serving, put it back on a high heat and add your lentils, which will thicken things considerably if you drain them but will keep roughly the same viscosity if you don’t. Make sure everything is really hot, then stir through the rest of your herbs before serving with 10kg of creamy mashed potatoes. Banging.
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