This fabulous recipe is by Nigel Slater and is so very versatile. You can substitute the carrot, parsnip and swede for celeriac or squash, or, your very own favourite vegetables, you can add leftover meat if you want to, or, make it just as it is. A vegetarian dish which is so flavoursome and exciting to eat that it really does not require meat to make it good.
To remove the seeds from the Pomegranate, score a line with a sharp knife around the fruit and then twist the two halves apart in a bowl of water. Pull apart the two halves and gently release the grains from the white pith. You will find that the pith floats to the top of the water. Scoop this out the bowl and drain the Pomegranate seeds. It is a slightly messy business! But worth it.
- 2 onions
- 20g/1oz butter
- sprig rosemary
- pinch salt
- 2 tsp juniper berries
- 1 carrot
- 1 parsnip
- ½ swede
- 4 tbsp Marsala wine
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 150g/5½oz canned chestnuts
- 2 bay leaves
- 400ml/14fl oz vegetable stock
- freshly ground black pepper
- 4 chestnut mushrooms
- handful dried porcini mushrooms
- 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
- 1 tbsp redcurrant jelly
- 1 pomegranate, seeds only, white pith removed
- Roughly chop the onions and slowly soften in a casserole with a little butter. Meanwhile pick a sprig of rosemary into a mortar and pestle with a pinch of salt and the juniper berries. Give them a good bashing then add to the onions.
- Now chop the carrot, swede and parsnip into hearty sized chunks, they are going to be the body of the stew, and add to the onions.
- To build the sauce, tip in a few glugs of whatever Christmas wines you have to hand, here I particularly like Marsala. 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 15 minutes.
- Quarter the chestnut mushrooms; then add them to the pot along with a handful of dried porcini. This will give the stew a woody depth. Now for the finishing touches to the sauce add a spoonful of wholegrain mustard and redcurrant jelly, and let simmer for a further 20 minutes.
- Finally serve with a scattering of pomegranate seeds over each helping.