Veggie Stew and Chocolate Mousse
This wholesome hearty stew is a great winter warmer for those wanting to cut down their meat intake, for those wanting a gluten free, dairy free or low fat diet and will tick the boxes for veggie, and vegans too. This stew can be cooked on the hob, in the oven, in the Aga, in a slow cooker or a pressure cooker. I reserve the liquid from the tin of chickpeas (aquafaba) which can be whipped up to serve a light and delicious chocolate mousse for 4 or five people for ‘afters’.
METHOD FOR STEW
In a large saucepan, bowl of a multi-cooker, pressure cooker or oven proof casserole heat the oil then fry the onion and garlic for 5-10 minutes over a low heat until starting to soften. Stir in the celery and herbs, a hefty pinch of salt and pepper and cook a few minutes then add the prepared veggies.
Turn the heat onto high and fry the vegetables until they are just starting to colour at the edges. Stir regularly so that they don’t burn. The light caramelisation of the veg helps to bring out their flavours.
Add then the chilli, soaked and drained lentils and strained chickpeas – making sure to reserve the aquafaba in a separate bowl for dessert.
Finally add the tomatoes and hot fresh vegetable stock and give a good stir.
Oven Cook : Cover with a well fitting lid and transfer to the oven preheated to 200 degrees Celsius for about an hour or until the vegetables are tender and soup has thickened.
Slow Cooker : Cook for 5-6 hours or until the vegetables are tender and soup has thickened.
Pressure Cooker : Pressure cook on high for 20 minutes
Hob / Stove Top : Bring to the boil then reduce down to a simmer, cover and cook for 40-50 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
Aga Cook : Bring to the boil on the hot plate, cover then transfer to the low simmering oven for 2-3 hours or until the vegetables are tender and the soup is thickened.
When ready to serve – taste the stew and adjust the seasoning if necessary then stir through a cup of frozen peas and serve in warmed bowls.
METHOD FOR CHOCOLATE MOUSSE
Take the reserved water from the chick peas, add the cream of tartar and whisk up with a hand held electric whisk until the mix is light, white and standing in soft peaks. Add the icing sugar in two parts, whisking well between each addition – whisk in the vanilla too.
In a microwave proof bowl break up the chocolate into small pieces then microwave on high 2 x 30 seconds until the chocolate is fully melted.
Take a spoonful of the mousse and stir into the chocolate to loosen it then pour the whole lot into the mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
Divide the chocolate mix between four or five small bowls or serving glasses, banging them down on the surface to smooth and release any air pockets. Add a few sprinkles to decorate and chill for an hour or two so that the mousse fully sets.
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