Vegetarian Stew with Potatoes Parsnip Swede and Chestnuts

 A really tasty stew of potatoes, swede, parsnip, carrots and onions cooked in a lovely rich Marsala sauce.  The addition of some fantastic smelling juniper berries really make this dish.  Roasted chestnuts are then added along with some mushrooms.  A perfect warming and filling vegetarian meal. 

Crusty bread is vital for dipping and mopping.
This is my titivated version of Nigel Slater's 'Hearty Party Hotpot' from his television series Simple Suppers.

Now, I used chicken stock, but of course vegetable stock is the way to go for any vegetarians out there.  I added potatoes to my version just to make it more of a meal.
I found the timings given in the original recipe over at the BBC website to be slightly wrong.  I know I added potatoes which take a while to cook, but the carrots and swede were in no way cooked through in the total of 35 minutes given.  So with that in mind, this is how long mine actually took!

To serve 4 you will need:
a knob of butter and a glug of olive oil
2 onions
a few new potatoes - skin on and cut into quarters
sprig rosemary
pinch salt
2 teaspoons juniper berries
2 carrots
1 parsnip
½ swede
5 tablespoons Marsala wine
2 tablespoons plain flour
150g chestnuts - ready roasted and vacuum packed
2 bay leaves
500ml vegetable stock - I used a Knorr chicken stock pot
freshly ground black pepper
4 chestnut mushrooms
handful dried porcini mushrooms - rehydrated in warn water for about 20 minutes
2 tablespoons wholegrain mustard
2 tablespoons redcurrant jelly

How to do it:
Roughly chop the onions and slowly soften in a large, heavy cast iron or flame proof casserole with a little butter and olive oil.
You can throw in the potatoes at the same time as they will take a while to cook anyway so they might as well get going.
Pick the leaves from a sprig of rosemary and chop finely.  Tip the chopped leaves into a mortar and pestle with a pinch of salt and the juniper berries. 
Give them a good bashing then add to the onions and potatoes.
Now chop the carrots, swede and parsnip into hearty sized chunks, and add those to.
To start to make a sauce, tip in a few glugs of whatever Marsala wine.
 Add a spoonful of flour and stir in allowing it to cook through and thicken the sauce. 

Add the chestnuts, bay leaf and stock, season with freshly ground black pepper, then leave to simmer for 40 minutes with a lid on.
Quarter the chestnut mushrooms; then add them to the pot along with a handful of rehydrated porcini.
This will give the stew a lovely depth. Now for the finishing touches to the sauce add a spoonful of wholegrain mustard and redcurrant jelly, and let it all simmer gently with the lid on for about an hour and a half.
Serve with crusty bread for dipping and mopping.


  1. I've been experimenting with Juniper berries...added them to a sausage casserole the other day...was fab. A nice hearty warming meal here Jan.

  2. That looks hearty and wholesome. Perfect for these gray January nights.


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