When I was a child I was ultra-fussy.
My Mum will attest, I ate three things and refused all else; mince, chocolate pudding and Marmite on toast. Farm life was amazing for me and the flavours of the food made by Nana and Mum have remained important to me despite being vegan; the flavours were savoury, mustardy, yeasty, sweet and chocolatey and the fruit was always intensely flavoured and fresh from my grandparent’s orchard. This stew is really child-friendly, it managed to satisfy me as one of the fussiest eaters in existence along with my own fussy kid!
The mince my Mum made was so delicious that I regularly crave it even now, and there’s a reason.
Mum had been slipping something into it – Worcestershire Sauce or ‘worsheshhtehshesshterrshrrresauce” as I like to call it. Now that stuff isn’t usually vegan because it typically contains anchovies, however Pams in New Zealand make a Classic Worcester Sauce and it’s totally authentic tasting (water, treacle, colour, spices, salt).
The gravy of this stew is simply 1-1.5 tins of tomatoes, 3 tablespoons of Worcester Sauce and a generous helping of salt.
I don’t need to thicken it I just cook the stew until it reduces over head until it is covered in a thick gravy. The resultant stew is lovely served on toast with tomato sauce. You can use those ingredients to make an addictive gravy that works on everything. Usually you’ll saute onion and then you can use lentils, red kidney beans, TVP, tofu, sunflower seeds, or a combination of any of those as the protein base and then add any veggies you like, potato, carrot, peas, kumara, broccoli, mushrooms, kale, capsicum – whatever – add the tomatoes, stir in lots of salt and simmer until you get something beautiful.
Here’s the recipe for this batch. I didn’t have any capsicum but I definitely recommend adding it in if you have some, I’m not usually a fan but the combination of even a slither of capsicum (red bell pepper) with Worcester is… perfect. Also, don’t forget to finish with pepper and tomato sauce. Trust me, this is a classic, full-bodied savoury stew.
1 dash of oil
1/2 an onion, chopped
4 large mushrooms, chopped
1 large kale leaf, stalk removed, kale chopped
1 potato, diced
1 tin drained brown lentils
200g of crumbled tofu
1-1.5 tins of diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons of Pams Classic Worcester Sauce
generous amount of salt
generous amount of pepper
Saute the onions in a dash of oil until clear. Add in mushrooms, Kale and cook through, add in potato, lentils, tofu, tinned tomatoes and Worcester Sauce. Salt generously, stir and simmer on low until potato is cooked through and sauce has reduced. If heat is too high and sauce reduces before the potato is cooked, add a little extra water. Serve on toast, with salt and pepper and a drizzle of tomato sauce.