Meat/veggie alternative (cheap cuts such as stewing beef/shin, skinless chicken thighs on the bone, or diced pork work well here as they do well with being cooked low and slow)
Optional casserole veg (bag of frozen casserole mix, root veg, or any frozen mixed veg)
Stock (and/or tomato sauce)
optional dried mixed herbs for extra flavour
Cook the meat/veggie alternative according to package instructions if using (usually this is just frying in a little oil until lightly golden, cooked through and piping hot). Add the veg, if using, and pour over the stock or sauce (and herbs, if using), then turn the heat up until your stew is bubbling.
Turn the heat back down to simmer the stew, covered with a lid, for an hour, or until everything is cooked through and soft, checking occasionally and stirring, even adding a little extra stock or sauce if needed to stop it sticking.
For a casserole, instead of simmering on the stove, preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4 while you are bringing the stew to the boil, then cover the (ovenproof) pan with a lid and pop in the oven for an hour or until ready.
If your stew looks too dry when you check on it, add a little more stock and/or sauce. If it looks too thin at the end, then mix 1 tbsp cornflour with 1 tbsp water in a bowl and stir in a few spoonfuls of the stew, then add it into the pan and cook for another 5-10 mins uncovered, stirring regularly, until thickened.
There is no need to go any further with this recipe until you are confident with it and feel up for the next step.
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Communications Manager: After leaving Exeter University with a degree in English Literature, Claire worked in various fields ranging from youth work and charities to publishing, before starting up a food-focused website when her first child was born. After being asked to project manage the publication of Veg Power's Crowdfunder book, Claire came on board as a fully-fledged team member in 2018 to take on the role of Communications Manager, looking after Veg Power's website and social media platforms.