Crispy Roasted Cavolo Nero & Split Pea Stew
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My god has it gotten cold! Freezing in fact! I am currently huddled under a big furry leopard print blanket with two jumpers on and wooly socks as I type this, and I STILL feel cold!
So, there is no doubt about it, it is time for deliciously warming, rich and comforting stews. We need them. On so many levels!
The stew is essentially any dish that has been cooked for a relatively long time that is half way between a soup and a dry dish. It should be creamy, thick, warming and packed full of long lasting energy that will give our body what it needs to survive this ruddy cold weather. It should hit that emotional comfort spot that is just what we are craving whilst we shiver away.
Sorry, I hate the cold. I’m an Asian girl for god’s sake! I’m meant to be by the ocean on the beach somewhere! So excuse me as I struggle through this season!
The stew is a dish our grandmothers and great-grandmothers and great-great-great-grandmothers were making long before out time. When they had little or no electricity and didn’t have things like central heating, and the only way to warm the bones was to make food that was deeply warming from the inside out. Long, slow & deeply nourishing cooking!
Did you know that how we cook a dish also affects the energy of the dish? Which essentially then affects how it affects us? Without even thinking about it too much, in Summer we crave more raw foods right? Hardly cooked or very quickly cooked foods that are light in feel and refreshing to balance out the warmer weather. And as soon as the seasons get colder we instinctively start cravings soups and stews and no raw, more compotes over raw fruit salads. That sort of thing. Well this is because the energy that we put in the food by how we cook it also determines how the dish will affect us.
When we make a stew we take time for it to cook. It should be cooked slowly. Slowly building up each ingredient, one by one, letting the stock slowing cook everything until it becomes creamy, rich and filling. But the extra ingredient in it that will nourish us and give us that real satisfaction, is all the energy that went in to it from being cooked so long. You won’t find this ingredient on nutritional chart tables or in scientific suggestions for diet. But yet this ingredient is incredibly important and one that will nourish you from the inside out.
This stew is a new one I created this week. I saw all this beautiful Cavolo Nero at the market and just couldn’t resist buying a whole load of it. It is beautifully in season right now here in the UK and is one of the only veg that literally thrives in the freezing cold. Literally! It actually grows more and stronger, the more frost it gets on it. Isn’t that amazing? I mean if that isn’t the clearest sign from nature that this is what we need to be eating right now then I don’t know what is?
IT ACTUALLY GROWS STRONGER THE MORE FROST THERE IS! Amazing!
It has the most wonderful earthy flavour to it and then when you roast it the flavour becomes even more powerful and you get the crispy texture to balance out the creaminess of the stew. It really is delicious!
So yes, this stew is not a quick one to be done in 20min. It takes a little time. But taking that time for yourself is precious. Trust me, just the act of cooking this, one step at a time, will be grounding and nourishing for you. So I hope you try it out.
Make sure that you make a big batch of it as it will last for 4 days refrigerated, so perfect for left-overs for the following days when you don’t want to cook for long. And with stews like this, it is even more delicious the next day. Even more full of flavour and scrumptious.
I really hope you enjoy this as much as my family did
- 400g Split Peas (Soaked for 1hr – 24hrs)
- 2 Large White Onions (Peeled & sliced into half moons)
- 3 Medium Orange Carrots (Cut into diagonal or diamond cuts or just nice chunks)
- 350g Cavolo Nero (Roughly chopped and off the main stalk)
- 2 Large Garlic Cloves
- 3-4 Pinches Sea Salt
- 2-3 Tbls Organic Sesame Oil, Coconut Oil or Ghee
- 1.2-1.5l Cups Water or Vegetable Stock
– Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C
– Add the sesame, coconut oil or ghee to a large pot on high heat and once hot add the onions and a good pinch of sea salt. Let the onions fry on high heat for 2-3min then turn heat down to medium and fry for another 5min or until they turn translucent in colour
– Then add carrot, that are cut in nice big chunks or diamond cuts which are the best cuts/size for them to hold the most amount of heat and energy. Add another pinch of sea salt and mix well. Fry on medium heat for another 2min
– Turn heat down to low and put the lid on and leave the veg to sweat and soften for at least 5-7min or until the carrots are really softening and all their natural sweetness and juices begin to sweat out
– Add the drained soaked split peas and mix everything in really well for 1min
– Add 500ml of water or stock and let it all come to a boil. Once rolling, turn the heat down to a low simmer and let it simmer continuously until the split-peas have soaked up all the liquid. Maybe approx 10min. You can leave the lid off if you want, to keep an eye on it
– Once the liquid has been absorbed add another 900ml of water or stock and another 1-2 good pinches of sea salt. Let it simmer again for another 20-30min or until the split-peas have absorbed all the liquid and become really nice and creamy. Leave the lid off or half off so there is air getting to the stew. This will help it become really creamy
– Whilst the stew is cooking, in a separate frying pan heat up 1tbls of oil and add the roughly chopped garlic and cavolo nero. Fry for 1min then add 1tbls of water and let it fry for another 3min as it softens. Then turn off the heat
– Add the cavolo nero to a roasting pan and put in the oven for 10min. After 10min take it out and mix it then put it in again for another 10min
– Once the stew is soft and creamy, the carrots are well cooked and most of the liquid has been absorbed into the stew, turn the heat off and mix in 3/4 of the roasted cavolo nero. The consistency of the stew is thick, rich, meaty and creamy.
– Then you can begin to serve! Serve with some delicious crispy cavolo nero leaves on the top and voila! You’re done! Enjoy x
– This dish will go really well with some simple grain – like brown rice, quinoa, millet or barley. Or even a nice chunky piece of sourdough bread! x