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Simple Stew

Claire Wright

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In season now

Ingredients:

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)

Fresh or frozen sliced carrots (optional)

1-2 tbsp flour (optional)

Stock (and/or tomato sauce)

Dried mixed herbs for extra flavour (optional)

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Not made a stew before, or not ready to try the next steps? Start here!

Method:

  1. Brown the meat/veggie alternative – fry in a little oil until lightly browned all over. Add the carrots, if using, and cook a few more mins until softened, stirring through a tablespoon or two of flour if you like to help the stew thicken nicely. Pour over enough stock or sauce to cover (and herbs, if using). Turn the heat up until your stew is bubbling.

  2. Turn the heat back down to simmer the stew, covered with a lid, for 30 mins-3 hours (check cooking instructions for your choice of meat – diced meat will usually take closer to 30 mins, but bigger pieces of meat or ones that do best being cooked low and slow can take several hours), until everything is cooked through and soft (slow-cooked meats will pull apart when you check them), checking occasionally and stirring, even adding extra stock or sauce if needed to stop it sticking.

  3. 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 1-3 hours or until ready.

  4. If your stew/casserole looks too dry when you check on it, add 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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Engaging Kids

Engaging Kids

Kids who engage regularly with veg through veg-themed activities, such as arts and crafts, sensory experiences, growing and cooking are shown to be more likely to eat the veg they engage with. Encouraging kids to engage and play with veg is the handy first step to them developing a good relationship with veg and life-long healthy eating.

Kids in the kitchen

Kids in the kitchen

The eventual aim, if possible, is to get kids in the kitchen. Don’t worry, this doesn’t have to mean they are with you from start-to-end creating mess and rising stress levels! It can be as simple as giving them one small job (stirring, measuring, pouring, grating, chopping…) ideally involving veg. They can come in to do their little bit, and have fun with you for a few minutes. Getting them involved, making it playful and praising them plenty for their involvement, perhaps even serving it as dinner they “made”, makes it much more likely they will eat the food offered, not to mention teaching them important life skills. Find ideas, safety tips, videos and even a free chart in our Kids in the Kitchen section here.

Activities

Activities

While getting kids to interact with veggies for real and using their senses to explore them is best, encouraging hands off activities like arts & crafts, puzzles & games or at-home science experiments can be a great start, particularly for those who are fussier eaters or struggle with anything too sensory. Use these veg-themed activities as a stepping stone to interacting with the veg themselves. We have loads of crafty downloads here, puzzles here, and quirky science with veg here.

Sensory

Sensory

Once you feel your child is ready to engage a little more, you can show them how to explore the veg you have on hand with their senses, coming up with playful silly descriptions of how a veg smells, feels, looks, sounds and perhaps even tastes. Find ideas, videos and some simple sensory education session ideas to get you started here.

Serving

Serving

The moments before food is offered can be a perfect opportunity for engagement that can help make it more likely a child will eat it! Giving children a sense of ownership in the meal can make a big difference to their feelings going into it and the pride they take in it. You know your child best, but if you aren’t sure where to start, we have some fun and simple ideas for easy roles you can give them in the serving process over here.

Claire Wright

Editor: 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, then Editor, looking after Veg Power's website, content, recipes and social media platforms.

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