| by Dan Black
The days are getting darker and colder, and many of us are slowing down the pace in time for Christmas. During this time of recalibration, we often look to food for added warmth and comfort. The temptation, however, can be to reach for more heavy, stodgy food that may not always give us the nutrients we need to power through to spring.
Last week we brought you our favourite soup recipes, ideal for decanting into our Thermo Pot - to be enjoyed from anywhere at anytime. This week we’re looking to lunches with a bit more substance that work perfectly to be eaten on the go from our range of lunch boxes. From hearty stews to rustic hot pots, these winter warmers bring nutrition and energy right to the heart of your day.
Vegan Shepherd's Pie
Image from BBC Good Foods
This delicious vegan recipe serves eight, making it the perfect, cost effective treat to be enjoyed throughout the week.
1.2kg floury potatoes such as Maris Piper
50 ml vegetable or rapeseed oil
20 ml olive oil
2 large leeks - chopped
2 small onions - chopped
4 medium carrots - cubed
30g dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 15 minutes (keep the water once strained)
1 vegetable stock cube
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp tomato purée
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into small cubes
½ small pack thyme
½ small pack sage
4 celery sticks, chopped
400g can chickpeas
300g frozen peas
Place the unpeeled potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with water, bring to the boil and simmer for 40 minutes. Drain and leave to cool.
Meanwhile, heat the vegetable oil in a large heavy-based pan. Add the mushrooms, leeks, onions, carrots and the stock cube and cook for approximately five minutes, stirring every so often.
Add the garlic, tomato purée, paprika, squash and herbs. Stir and turn the heat up a bit, cook for three minutes, add the celery, then stir and cook for a few more mins.
Now add the chickpeas along with the water in the can and reserved mushroom stock. Add the peas and stir well. Cook for an additional five minutes, stirring occasionally, then season, turn off and set aside.
Peel the potatoes and discard the skin. Mash 200g with a fork and stir into the veg. Break the rest of the potatoes into chunks, mix with the olive oil and parsley and season.
Place the filling into your pie dish and top with the extra potatoes. Place in the oven (pre-heated to 190C/170C fan/gas 5 and bake the pies for 40-45 mins, until the top is golden and the filling is heated through.
Recipe from BBC Good Food
Chicken Chilli with Sweet Potatoes
Image from Eating Well
This spicy delight is delicious and provides the perfect cure for the cold weather and all the nasty bugs it brings. Carry to work in the Black+Blum lunch pot, reheat and serve with your favourite hot sauce.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups cubed sweet potato ( ½-inch)
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 15-ounce can low-sodium cannellini beans, rinsed
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or homemade chicken stock
1 cup frozen corn
2 cups cubed cooked chicken ( ½-inch; about 10 ounces)
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
Sour cream, avocado and/or cilantro for garnish
Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, sweet potato and bell pepper and cook for five to six minutes until the vegetables are soft. Be careful they don’t go mushy.
From here, stir in chili powder, cumin and oregano and cook for about one minute until you can really smell the aromatic fragrance of the spices.
Add beans and broth (or stock) and bring to the boil. Reduce heat, partially cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes. From here, increase the heat to medium-high and stir in the corn. Cook for an additional minutes. Add the chicken and cook until heated through.
Recipe from Eating Well
Pea and bacon risotto
This tasty, hearty and filling recipe will last for three lunches and is guaranteed to make your colleagues jealous.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves crushed garlic
300g risotto rice
900ml chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
A pack of smoked bacon
100g frozen peas
100ml white wine
1 teaspoon salt and pepper
Heat the oil in a large pan and saute the onion, bacon and garlic over a medium heat, stirring now and then, until it is transparent and just softened - this will take a few minutes. Then add all the rice and stir well to coat all the grains. Cook for two minutes.
Now add a quarter of the hot stock, stir and bring to a simmer. Stir continually while the rice absorbs the liquid and then add another quarter of the stock. Add the white wine and repeat this process until all the stock is used up and the rice is tender and creamy - this will take about 25 minutes. Add the peas and stir until they are heated through. You may need to add a little more liquid if the dish becomes dry.
Our Box Appetit lunch box is the perfect container for this delicious dish. We love bacon and pea risotto with some balsamic vinegar drizzled on top. Transport your vinegar using the small dressing dish that comes with the lunch box.
Spiced Mushroom and Lentil Hotpot
Image from BBC Good Food
Comforting, tasty and cheap to make, this spicy hotpot is a real office lunchtime favourite at Black+Blum HQ.
1 medium onion sliced
300g mini Portobello mushrooms or chestnut mushrooms, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 ½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 x 400g cans green lentils, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 medium sweet potato peeled and very thinly sliced
1 large potato very thinly sliced
1 thyme sprig, leaves picked
Begin by heating the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. While the oven is warming up, heat half the oil in a medium saucepan. Fry the onion for three minutes until they begin to soften, then add the mushrooms.
Cook for another three minutes, then increase the heat and add the garlic, ground cumin and paprika, and cook for one minute. Remove the pan from the heat and add the lentils, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar and 100ml water. Season, then scrape the mixture into a casserole dish.
Rinse the saucepan and return to the hob. Add a kettle full of boiled water and bring back to the boil over a high heat. Add the potato slices, cook for three minutes, then drain. Arrange the potato slices on top of the lentils, then brush with the remaining oil - this will help them to go crisp and golden. Roast in the oven for 25 mins. Once you have removed from the oven, sprinkle over the thyme to taste.
Recipe from BBC Good Food