Vegetarian Irish Stew

Today is St Patrick’s day, so as well as guzzling an array of boozy beverages from the emerald isle, I will be partaking in some of their fine cuisine this evening. My main go-to of Irish cooking would ordinarily be Irish Stew, but as I will be dining with my herbivore housemate, this is not really an option.

While I am sure there are plenty of Irish vegetarian options I could turn to, I am interested in facing the challenge of making a stew with equally rich and flavoursome gravy, but without the meat. This could prove tricky, as it is usually the meat that provides the basis of the sauce, but I think that with the right brand of veggie sausages, some red wine and some lentils, something that is if not similar, then just as good, can be created. The end result will technically not be an Irish Stew, but more of a sausage casserole, but that seems like a damn fine alternative to me! Watch this space for the results.

My proposed recipe is as follows:

Ingredients (serves 2)

4 vegetarian sausages, chopped into bitesize chunks

1/2 swede

2 carrots

2 parsnips

1/2 butternut squash

2 potatoes

1 handful of red lentils

2 bay leaves

1 onion

2 cloves of garlic

2 tablespoons of tomato puree

800mls vegetable stock

200mls red wine

2 tablespoons of plain flour

oil/salt/pepper

Directions

  1. Finely chop onion and crush garlic. Heat a good lug of oil in a flameproof casserole dish and fry onion and garlic on a med heat for 5-10 minutes until they begin to brown and soften. Add chunks of sausage and continue to fry until browned.
  2. Stir flour into sausage and onion mixture to coat. Add red wine and bring to the boil, scraping any bits of onion/flour off botton of the pan with a spoon as it heats.
  3. Chop all veg into chunks and place in pan. Stir to combine with sausage/onion and pour over veg stock to cover. Stir in tomato puree, lentils and add bay leaves.
  4. Season with black pepper and place lid on dish. Place in the oven at gas mark 5 for up to 2 hours, checking occasionally that liquid has not dried up.
  5. Stir in some gravy granules to thicken if necessary and serve with warmed soda bread.
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