Gill Meller’s hearty winter stews – recipes | Food


Leek, potato and smoked haddock stew with bacon and parsley

This makes a welcome change from some of the richer, meatier, slow-cooked braises I tend to make at this time of year. Swap the potatoes for celeriac, if you like, but the leeks are essential: they give the stew a real sweetness and go beautifully with the smoked fish.

Prep 15 min
Cook 50 min
Serves 4

20g butter
bacon lardons
1 large onion
, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
500-600g white floury potatoes, such as maris piper or king edward, peeled and cut into roughly equal 3-4cm pieces
Sea salt and
freshly ground black pepper
180ml medium-dry cider
2 medium leeks, trimmed, washed and cut into 2cm rounds
1 large fillet smoked haddock (about 400-500g)
Finely grated zest of ½ lemon
150ml double cream
1 medium bunch parsley, leaves picked and chopped

Set a large, wide-based pan over a medium-high heat. Add the butter and, when it’s bubbling, add the lardons and fry, stirring regularly, for three to four minutes, until it’s beginning to crisp around the edges. Add the onion and garlic, stir, then cook for five to 10 minutes – don’t let the onions colour: they should be soft and sweet.

Add the potatoes to the pan, season, then pour over the cider and an equal amount of water. Bring up to a simmer, turn down the heat a bit, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes are almost tender. Stir in the leeks, replace the lid and cook for seven to eight minutes more.

Meanwhile, skin the fish and cut it into chunky pieces. Add these to the pot with the lemon zest, double cream, parsley and a good twist of pepper, stir gently (so you don’t break up the potatoes and leeks too much), then cover and let the fish cook through for five minutes. Take off the heat, leave to stand for five minutes, then ladle into warm bowls and serve with buttered bread.

Chicken, chorizo, white bean, olive and preserved lemon stew

Gill Meller’s chicken, chorizo, white bean, olive and preserved lemon stew.
Gill Meller’s chicken, chorizo, white bean, olive and preserved lemon stew.

There is something wonderful about a good, hearty chicken stew, and this version is my absolute favourite way to do it. There are some big-hitting flavours here, but, despite their punchy character, they all get along famously. I’m using chicken thighs, but you could use a whole chicken, if you prefer; just portion it up and follow the recipe in the same way.

Prep 15 min
Soak Overnight
Cook 1 hr 40 min
Serves 4

150g dried cannellini or haricot beans, soaked overnight
2 tbsp olive oil, plus a little extra-virgin olive oil to finish
8 chicken thighs
chorizo, cut into chunky rounds
2 medium red peppers
, stem, pith and seeds discarded, flesh cut into 1cm-wide lengths
1 large onion (or 2 smaller ones), peeled, halved and thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tsp fennel seeds
tbsp smoked paprika
1 x 400g tin
chopped plum tomatoes
pitted green olives
1 medium
preserved lemon (or 2 small ones), quartered, flesh removed, skin thinly sliced
3–4 sprigs
2 bay leaves
600ml chicken stock
4–5 sprigs
dill, chopped

Drain the beans, put them in a large pan, cover with fresh water and bring to a simmer on a medium-high heat. Cook for about 35-40 minutes, until tender, then drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, set a large, wide, heavy-based casserole pan over a medium heat. Add the olive oil and, once hot, add the chicken thighs, season and fry, turning regularly, until crisp, golden and smelling delicious.

Transfer the chicken to a plate, then put the chorizo, peppers, onion, garlic, fennel seeds and paprika into the hot pan and fry, stirring regularly, for eight to 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, drained beans, olives, preserved lemon skin, rosemary and bay, give everything a good stir and bring up to a simmer. Add 500ml chicken stock, give the stew another stir, then lay the chicken pieces skin side up on top. Cook, uncovered, in a 190C (170C fan)/375F/gas 5 oven for an hour, stirring once or twice. If the sauce looks a bit on the thick side, add some of the spare stock to loosen. Leave the stew to stand for 10-15 minutes, scatter over the dill and a trickle of your best olive oil, and serve with a green salad and some warm crusty bread.

Mushroom and jerusalem artichoke stew with seaweed dumplings

Gill Meller’s mushroom and jerusalem artichoke stew with seaweed dumplings.
Gill Meller’s mushroom and jerusalem artichoke stew with seaweed dumplings.

I occasionally make a salad using raw chestnut mushrooms, sliced raw artichokes and seaweed flakes, dressed with lemon and olive oil. That may sound an unlikely combination of flavours, but they are all incredibly good together. That bright, fresh salad inspired this rich, dark, deeply savoury stew. It’s amazing how ingredients can be taken in such different directions with equally enjoyable results.

Prep 15 min
Soak 1 hr
Cook 1 hr 50 min
Serves 4

1 large knob butter
tbsp olive oil
chestnut mushrooms, halved or quartered if they’re big
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
5-6 sprigs
thyme, leaves stripped
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
1 pinch dried chilli flakes
2 bay leaves
400-500g jerusalem artichokes, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
100g pearl barley, soaked for an hour in cold water, then drained
30g dried porcini
1.2 litres vegetable stock
tbsp tamari

For the dumplings
250g self-raising flour
tbsp dried flaked dulse
125g cold butter

Up to 150ml cold water

Heat the oven to 180C (160C)/350F/gas 4. Set a large, wide casserole on a high heat, add the butter and a tablespoon of olive oil and, once bubbling away, add the mushrooms. Season, sprinkle over the thyme, then fry for up to 10 minutes, until the mushrooms start to darken and crisp at the edges.

Lift the mushrooms out of the pan and turn down the heat a tad. Add the remaining olive oil, followed by the onions, garlic, chilli flakes and bay, season and cook, stirring regularly so the onions don’t catch, for eight to 10 minutes.

Return the cooked mushrooms to the pan with the artichokes, drained pearl barley and porcini, pour in the stock and tamari, then bring to a gentle simmer. Cover and bake for 50 minutes to an hour.

Meanwhile, make the dumplings. Put the flour in a bowl with a good pinch of salt, plenty of black pepper and the seaweed. Coarsely grate the cold butter into the flour and rub it in with your fingers (it wants to have a breadcrumb-like texture). Add just enough water to bring the dough together, then form into 10 spherical dumplings.

Take the stew from the oven, remove the lid and give it a gentle stir; if it looks a little dry, add a splash more water. Arrange the dumplings evenly on top of the stew, cover and return to the oven for 20 minutes. Remove the lid, cook for 10-15 minutes more, until the top of each dumpling has taken on a little colour, then serve with buttered greens or a lovely mixed salad.

The Guardian aims to publish recipes for sustainable fish. For ratings in your region, check: UK; Australia; US.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here