Winter warmers | Women's Running

Winter warmers

Read Time:   |  December 4, 2018

Guy Watson started growing organic veg on the family farm in Devon, with a wheelbarrow and a borrowed tractor in 1987. He went on to found Riverford and his pioneering veg box scheme now sends out around 47,000 boxes a week to a loyal band of customers who share his commitment to fresh, seasonal food, produced with respect to customers, staff, farmers, livestock and the environment.

Riverford have shared these healthy, warming and filling recipes with us – perfect for mid-week meals…

Kale, spelt & chorizo big soup
Serves 4

This ‘big soup’ is a chunky broth that’s almost a stew. It’s a great style of dish for using up the last odds and ends in your winter veg box. The basic requirements are onion and garlic, a grain, good stock and lots of veg, but you can liven it up with bacon or chorizo, by stirring in pesto or by sprinkling over gremolata. It also reheats well.

2 tbsp rapeseed or sunflower oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cooking chorizo sausages, skins removed, crumbled into small pieces
1 dried red chilli or a good pinch of chilli flakes, to taste4 tomatoes (peeled if you have time), finely chopped, or 1 tbsp tomato purée
150g pearled spelt, rinsed well and drained
1.5 litres chicken or good vegetable stock
200g curly kale or cavolo nero, leaves stripped from their stalks and roughly chopped
salt and black pepper

Heat the oil in a pan over a low heat, add the onion and fry gently for 10 minutes, stirring now and then to stop it catching, until soft and translucent. Add the chorizo and fry, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes more. Stir in the chilli, tomatoes, spelt and stock and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, blanch and squeeze the kale, as instructed on page 128. Add the kale to the pan and cook for a further 15 minutes or until the spelt is tender. Keep an eye on the liquid and top up a little if needed. Check the seasoning before serving.

Tip: Peeling tomatoes – To skin tomatoes easily, cut a little cross in the base then lower them in a bowl of boiling water. Leave for about 45 seconds until you can see the skins just starting to furl away at the base, then transfer them to a bowl of cold water and peel off the skins. A good tomato purée (containing only tomato) is often a better alternative in winter.

Lemony chicken and spinach curry
serves 4

This is a healthy curry with no creamy sauce which freezes really well. A pile of basmati rice and a good dollop of yoghurt will make it into a meal.

1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp sunflower, light olive or coconut oil, plus a little extra if necessary
600g diced chicken (leg, thigh or breast)
1 large or 2 small onions, finely sliced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped, crushed or grated
5cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped or grated
1–2 fresh chillies, finely chopped (add the seeds too if you like it hot)
1 tsp turmeric
10 cardamom pods
juice of 2–3 lemons, depending on size
400ml vegetable or chicken stock
300g spinach, tough stalks removed and leaves roughly chopped if large
large handful of coriander, roughly chopped
salt and black pepper

Lightly toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a dry frying pan until you just start to smell their aroma, then grind them with a pestle and mortar. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based pan. Add the chicken pieces and fry over a high heat, turning once, until golden brown. (Don’t overcrowd the pan – cook in batches if you need to.) Transfer the chicken to a plate. Add the onion to the pan with a splash more oil if needed. Fry gently for 10 minutes, stirring now and then, until soft. Add the garlic, ginger, chillies and all the ground spices and fry, stirring, for another 2 minutes. Return the chicken to the pan with the lemon juice and stock. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes or so, until the chicken is cooked through. Stir in the spinach and let it wilt for just a minute or two before seasoning and stirring in the chopped coriander.

Parsnip, cauliflower and chickpea korma
serves 2-3

Curries are a really good way to use up vegetables. This mild, warming spicy curry transforms parsnips into a creamy, comforting cold-weather dinner in less than half an hour. The Indian flavours of ginger, coconut and fresh coriander work beautifully with parsnips. Eat with boiled rice or warm naan bread, and pickle or chutney.

2 tbsp groundnut oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
2.5cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
2 tsp medium–hot curry powder
2 tsp ground cumin
2 parsnips (about 300g), peeled and cut into 1cm chunks
400ml can coconut milk
400ml can chickpeas, drained
50g ground almonds
1 cauliflower (about 850g), cut into large florets
juice of 1 lime
1 bunch fresh coriander, roughly chopped
salt and black pepper

Heat the oil in large heavy-bottomed pan then add the onion and fry, stirring occasionally over a medium–low heat for about 10 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for a minute then add the curry powder, cumin and a good pinch of salt. Gently stir in the parsnips and cook for a further minute. Add the coconut milk, chickpeas and ground almonds, cover with a lid and cook at a gentle boil for 10 minutes. Check the seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if needed. Add the cauliflower, then cover again and cook for a further 5 minutes or so, until the cauliflower is just tender. Sprinkle the lime juice over the curry and stir in the coriander.

Squash and black bean chilli
serves 4

Either stuff a whole squash with the chilli, or dice and roast the squash and add it to the chilli. The latter opens up a whole variety of serving suggestions: eat it with rice or in a baked potato; top it with a dollop of soured cream, some spicy tomato salsa or some guacamole; stuff it in a taco with some grated cheese; or spread it over a tortilla. If you are stuffing the squash you will need to use one that is a suitable size and will hold its shape when cooked, such as onion squash.

1 medium butternut, large onion or smallish crown prince squash
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for roasting
1 large onion, chopped
4 celery sticks, finely chopped
1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped
1 green pepper, deseeded and chopped
3 large garlic cloves, crushed
1–2 tsp crushed chipotle chillies (if you can’t source them, substitute another fresh or dried red chilli)
1 tsp dried marjoram or handful of fresh oregano
2 bay leaves
2 tsp ground cumin
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
2 x 400g cans black beans, rinsed and drained
juice of 1 lime (approx. 2 tbsp)
small bunch of coriander, finely chopped
salt and black pepper
grated cheese and/or soured cream, to serve (optional)

Heat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4. If stuffing a whole squash, cut it in half, scoop out the seeds and pulp, and stuff each half; or roasting in chunks. Heat the oil in a large heavy pan over a medium–high heat. Add the onion and celery. Reduce the heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes until soft. Add the peppers and continue cooking for a further 10 minutes or so, stirring frequently.

Stir in the garlic, and cook for another minute. Add the chilli, 1–2 teaspoons of salt, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, the herbs and cumin. Give everything a good mix then add the tomatoes. Simmer, uncovered, for about 30 minutes. Stir in the beans and continue to simmer for a further 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaves, stir in the lime juice and coriander and adjust the seasoning to taste. If using roast squash, add it now, heat through, and then serve. If stuffing a whole squash, fill each roasted squash half with the filling mixture. Top with grated cheese or soured cream (or both), if you like.

Turkey meatball broth with greens
serves 2

Easy to scale up to serve more, these meatballs could be made with chicken or pork mince, but turkey is a good lean meat and is often available from Riverford over the winter months. Its leanness makes it prone to drying out, so adding milk-soaked breadcrumbs keeps the meatballs moist, as does poaching them in the stock. The onion, carrot and celery add an extra flavour, but a good stock is really essential here – we of course recommend the chicken stock we sell, if you don’t make your own.

50g white bread, blitzed into crumbs
1 tbsp milk
250g minced turkey
1 large egg yolk
1 tbsp finely chopped sage
1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
sunflower or light olive oil, for frying
1 large or 2 small onions, finely diced
1 large carrot, peeled and finely diced
1 celery stick, finely diced
300g shredded green cabbage (e.g. Savoy or January King)
1 litre chicken stock
salt and black pepper
small handful of finely grated Parmesan, to serve

In a large bowl, stir the breadcrumbs into the milk. Add the turkey, egg yolk, sage and parsley. Season with salt and pepper and use your hands to mix and squidge it together well. Roll into walnut-sized balls. Heat a thin layer of oil in a large, deep frying pan and fry the meatballs to lightly brown them all over (cook in batches if they don’t all fit). Transfer to a plate. Add the onion, carrot and celery to the same pan and cook for 15–20 minutes on a low heat, until tender but not coloured, stirring now and then. If the veg looks like catching at any point, add a splash of water. Add the meatballs, cabbage and stock. Simmer for 5–6 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through (cut one open if you’re not sure) and the cabbage wilted. Check the seasoning and serve sprinkled with the Parmesan.

Tip: This works equally well with shredded kale or even Brussels sprouts. And if you can’t find minced turkey, try minced chicken or pork.

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