Have you heard of ‘Meatless Monday’? ‘One day a week, cut out meat’ is the tagline on www.meatlessmonday.com. Up until the last 20 years suggesting that people cut meat out for one day a week would have seemed crazy - most people only ate meat twice a week if they were lucky! But with intensive farming and the influx of cheap meat from outside of the EU many people eat meat every day, sometimes twice a day. Unfortunately though, much of this is not great quality (and as we found earlier in the year with the Horse Meat scandal we can’t always trust the contents to match the label!) Also, many people are now questioning whether this huge increase in animal protein in our diet is actually good for us. It is obvious from our menu in Organico Cafe that while we are not completely vegetarian we love vegetarian food, and we do believe that eating less meat is a good choice both for our own health and for the future of our planet. Jamie Oliver is a big fan of ‘Meatless Monday’ and puts out some really interesting vegetarian recipes every Monday on Facebook . According to www.meatlessmondays.com there are millions of households now around the world now following the practice of eating vegetarian meals on Mondays. In 2009 Paul McCartney launched Meat Free Mondays in the UK, and now if you type #meatfreemonday into either Google or FaceBook you will find tons of recipes from cafes and restaurants, Chefs and food writers, all encouraging us to give meat a break. At least one vegetarian day a week is a good way of giving your digestion a rest (meat can be difficult to digest particularly as we get older) and cutting down on calories. Luckily vegetarian food can be very tasty! Here is a simple and really satisfying stew which uses Autumn Veg complemented by butter beans for protein. Very soon we hope to have local grown ‘Crown Prince’ pumpkins in Organico, which have a grey-green skin and an intensely sweet orange flesh, and we have local leeks at the moment. Try this stew out as a filling lunch or a light dinner, perhaps with some herb couscous or quinoa to go on the side.
Autumn Stew with Butter beans, squash, leek and rosemary
700g butternut squash or pumpkin
4 big carrots, diced
50 mls olive oil (Organic extra virgin - we use Olvia)
2 big leeks
7 cloves garlic
4 sprigs rosemary
50mls white wine (optional!)
1 litre organic vegetable stock (we use Marigold Vegetable Bouillon)
400g cooked butter beans (1 tin - we use Biona organic)
Bunch of parsley, chopped
4 big leaves of kale or spinach, roughly shredded
Salt and pepper
To prepare the squash, first cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, and then if the skin is thin use a peeler to remove it. If it’s thick you will need to use a sharp knife, cutting as close to the skin as possible to avoid losing any of the flesh. Then chop the squash into bite sized chunks.
Cut the carrots into similar sized pieces. To prepare the leeks, cut off any discolored leaves, and cut the green part of the leaves in half before washing them to get any earth or grit out. Cut into thick, inch long slices.
Saute the leeks, pumpkin, carrots, 3 sprigs of rosemary and garlic in olive oil for about 5 minutes then add the wine if using. Saute for 10 minutes before adding the beans and the stock and cook until the carrots and pumpkin are soft, approximately 20 minutes.
Remove the rosemary stalks. Take 2 cups of the stew out and blend to a puree, then add back into the pot. Add the chopped parsley and kale, taste and adjust the seasoning, the greens need a few more minutes to soften.
This stew can be made in advance but do cool and refrigerate as soon as possible as butter beans do not have a long shelf life after cooking. Serve with some of our Granary bread or herby couscous or quinoa and some feta cheese crumbled is nice addition.