This cool-weather dish sparkles with color and flavor. To save time, cut up the squash, parsnips and carrots the night before you plan to cook and serve the stew, and refrigerate them in an airtight container. Accompany the stew with a green salad and thick slices of buttered whole wheat bread. If your slow cooker doesn’t have an insert that can be placed on the stovetop, you can start the stew in a Dutch oven and then transfer the contents of the pot to your slow cooker.
Winter Vegetable Stew
4 Tbs. (2 fl. oz./60 ml) olive oil
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
10 garlic cloves, smashed
2 Tbs. tomato paste
1⁄2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) medium-dry sherry
1⁄2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) vegetable broth
1 tsp. sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
1 butternut squash, about 2 1⁄2 lb. (1.25 kg), peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) chunks
3 parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) chunks
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) chunks
1 tsp. dried tarragon
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 bunch watercress, tough stems removed and leaves chopped
Place the a stove-top-safe slow-cooker insert on the stove over medium-high heat, then add 2 Tbs. of the oil and warm until hot. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring, until softened and beginning to brown, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Pour in the sherry, broth and vinegar and deglaze the insert, stirring and scraping up any browned bits on the insert bottom with a wooden spoon.
Transfer the insert to the slow cooker. Add the squash, parsnips, carrots and tarragon, season with salt and pepper and stir to mix well. Cover and cook on the low-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours, or until the
vegetables are tender.
Stir the lemon juice into the stew to taste, then transfer the stew to a warmed serving bowl or shallow
individual bowls. Drizzle with the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil and top with the watercress and a sprinkle of lemon zest. Serve immediately. Serves 6.
Learn to make the most of your slow cooker with this and other inspiring recipes in our Quick Slow Cooking, by Kim Laidlaw.