Hearty, veg-based mains: Yotam Ottolenghi’s winter vegetable recipes | Food (2024)

Yotam Ottolenghi recipes

Spring may be around the corner, but there’s still time to enjoy winter veg in the form of celeriac steaks, barley stew and a Tunisian potato and butter bean stew

Yotam Ottolenghi

Sat 29 Feb 2020 09.30 GMT

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With spring officially three weeks away, ingredients that provide ballast are still very much the order of the day. Starchy root veg – potatoes, kohlrabi, celeriac – bring both sustenance and reassurance that, at this time of the year, it’s OK for our raw materials to be pasty-white, knobbly-kneed and slightly hairy – nothing that a lick of oil and a bit of heat won’t sort out.

So enjoy the delights of hibernation for a while longer yet. Stack the shelves with jars of creamy butter beans, briny capers, salty anchovies and nutty barley. Fill the fridge with soft herbs, rich cream and sweet little tomatoes.

And keep lemons in a bowl on the counter as a daily reminder that the sun – spring! – is just around the corner.

Bkeila, potato and butter bean stew (pictured above)

Bkeila is a Tunisian Jewish condiment made by cooking lots of spinach in lots of oil for many hours, leaving you with a very dark, intense paste that’s traditionally used to flavour soups and stews. This version is simpler – less oil, fewer hours – but it still delivers on the flavour front. It will keep in the fridge for up to three days or in the freezer for up to a month.

Prep 35 min
Cook 1 hr 10 min
Serves 4 as a main course

80g coriander, plus 20g extra to serve, roughly chopped
30g parsley
600g baby spinach
120ml olive oil, plus extra to serve
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 green chillies, finely chopped (pith and seeds removed if you like less heat)
1¼ tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
1½ tsp caster sugar
2 lemons – 1 juiced, to get 2 tbsp, the other cut into wedges, to serve
1 litre vegetable stock (chicken stock would work, too)
500g waxy potatoes, peeled and cut into 3cm pieces
1 x 700g jar cooked large butter beans (425g drained weight) – we use the Navarrico ones from Brindisa

In a food processor, pulse the coriander, parsley and spinach in batches, until finely chopped (or do so by hand), then scrape into a bowl.

Put 75ml oil in a large, heavy-based pot on a medium heat. Add the onion and fry gently, stirring occasionally, for eight minutes, until soft and golden.

Add the garlic, chilli and spices, and cook, stirring regularly, for six minutes. Turn up the heat to high, add the chopped spinach mix and three more tablespoons of oil, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, until the spinach turns a dark green, almost grey colour. You want it to catch a bit, but not to burn, so turn down the heat if need be.

Stir in the sugar, lemon juice, stock and two teaspoons of salt, scraping the bottom of the pan with a spatula as you do so. Bring to a rapid simmer, then lower the heat to medium, add the potatoes and cook gently for 25 minutes, until they are soft all the way through. Stir in the butter beans and cook for five minutes, until warmed through.

Off the heat, stir in the roughly chopped extra coriander, then divide the stew between four bowls. Drizzle over some more oil and serve with the lemon wedges.

Celeriac steaks with Café de Paris sauce

It turns out that roasting whole celeriac for the best part of three hours with lots of oil and salt makes it taste very “meaty”. This isn’t what any card-carrying Parisian would recognise as steak with Café de Paris sauce, I know, but it is a punchy, meat-free alternative.

Prep 20 min
Cook 2 hr 45 min
Serves 4 as a main course

2 large celeriac, hairy roots discarded and scrubbed clean – no need to peel (1.8kg net weight)
120ml olive oil, plus extra, if needed
Flaked salt and black pepper

For the sauce
110g unsalted butter, cut into 2cm cubes
1 small banana shallot, peeled and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
3 anchovy fillets, drained and finely chopped (optional, but adjust the salt if not using)
½ tsp medium curry powder
¼ tsp cayenne powder
1 tbsp mustard powder
1 tbsp baby capers
2 tbsp finely chopped chives
2 tbsp finely chopped tarragon leaves
1 tbsp finely chopped parsley leaves
2 tsp thyme leaves
2 tsp lemon juice
110ml single or whipping cream

Heat the oven to 190C (170C fan)/375F/gas 5. Pierce each celeriac all over with a fork about 40 times and put them on an oven tray lined with baking paper. Mix the oil with a tablespoon of flaked salt, then rub this all over the celeriac. Roast the celeriac for at least two hours and 15 minutes, or up to two hours and 45 minutes, depending on their size, basting them in the oil every 20 minutes or so, until the celeriac is deeply browned all over, soft all the way through and oozing “caramel”. Leave to rest for 15 minutes, then cut each celeriac widthways into 2½cm-thick steaks and brush all over with any oil left on the tray.

Put the first seven ingredients for the sauce and a half-teaspoon of flaked salt in a small saucepan on a medium heat. Cook, swirling the pan, for six minutes, until the shallots have softened and the butter has melted and turned golden. Add the capers, herbs and a very generous grind of pepper, cook for a minute, then turn off the heat.

Turn the grill to its highest setting. Line a large oven tray with greaseproof paper, arrange the celeriac steaks on top in a single layer and spaced well apart, then brush all over with extra oil, if need be. (Make sure there is no overhanging paper, because otherwise it might catch and burn.) Grill the steaks on the top shelf for six to eight minutes, until golden brown on top, then keep warm while you finish the sauce.

Return the sauce pot to a medium heat, leave for a minute just to warm through, then add the cream and lemon juice, and swirl the pan around for two minutes, until the sauce is again warm – take care you don’t mix it too much: you want this sauce to stay split, not hom*ogenise.

Pour the sauce on to a large platter with a lip and arrange the celeriac steaks on top (or plate them up individually with the sauce alongside). Sprinkle over a little flaked salt and ground black pepper, and serve hot.

Barley, tomato and watercress stew

Vegans, vegetarians: this dish is easily adaptable to suit you by dropping the anchovies and/or the cream – there’s more than enough going on flavourwise for it to work without either. If you do omit the anchovies, however, you’ll need to up the amount of salt.

Prep 25 min
Cook 1 hr 15 min
Serves 4 as a maincourse

4 small kohlrabi (1kg), trimmed and peeled
4 anchovy fillets, drained and finely chopped (optional)
140ml olive oil
1 large whole head garlic, top cut off to expose the bulbs, plus 4 cloves extra, peeled and crushed
Salt and black pepper
300g sweet, ripe cherry tomatoes, such as datterini
300g pearl barley
2-3 banana shallots, peeled and finely sliced (120g net)
2 tsp caraway seeds
2 lemons – 1 zested in 5 fine strips and juiced, to get 2 tbsp, the other cut into wedges, to serve
1 red scotch bonnet chilli (optional)
3 tbsp tomato paste
150ml dry white wine
100g watercress
60ml double cream (optional)

Heat the oven to 210C (190C fan)/410F/gas 6½. Cut each kohlrabi lengthways into eight 2½cm-wide wedges (if they are on the large side, you may need to cut them into more than eight wedges). Put the kohlrabi in a large bowl, and toss with the anchovies (if using), two tablespoons of oil, half the crushed garlic, half a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper, then spread out on a large oven tray lined with baking paper.

Drizzle the whole garlic bulb with a teaspoon of oil and sprinkle over a little salt and pepper. Wrap the bulb tightly in foil, put it in one corner of the tray, then roast everything for 25 minutes. Turn the kohlrabi wedges, add the tomatoes to the tray, then return to the oven for another 15-20 minutes, until the kohlrabi is softened and browned and the tomatoes are nicely blistered. Keep warm in a low oven (or reheat gently before you serve).

When the garlic is cool enough to handle, peel off the foil, squeeze out the flesh from each clove into a small bowl and discard the papery skins.

Meanwhile, put the barley in a medium saucepan, add plenty of cold water to cover and put on a medium-high heat. Once the water comes to a boil, turn down the heat and leave to simmer for 20 minutes, until the barley is semi-cooked but still has a good bite, then drain and set aside.

While the barley is cooking, put a large saute pan for which you have a lid on a medium-high heat with 50ml oil, the remaining two crushed garlic cloves and all the roast garlic flesh, the shallots, caraway seeds, lemon peel, scotch bonnet (if using) and two and a half teaspoons of salt. Fry gently for 12 minutes, stirring often, until the shallots are soft and golden brown (turn down the heat if the mix starts to catch). Stir in the tomato paste, cook for 30 seconds, then add the wine, 500ml water and plenty of pepper. Bring to a gentle simmer on a medium heat, cook for seven minutes, then add the drained barley and cook for 10 minutes more, until it swells a little and takes on the flavour of the sauce. Discard the chilli and lemon peel.

In a spice grinder or the small bowl of a food processor, blitz half the watercress with the lemon juice, the remaining 60ml oil and a quarter-teaspoon of salt, until you have a smooth salsa.

Drizzle the watercress salsa and cream (if using) over the barley mixture and gently swirl them in. Top with the remaining watercress and the roast veg, and serve straight from the pan with the lemon wedges alongside.


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Hearty, veg-based mains: Yotam Ottolenghi’s winter vegetable recipes | Food (2024)


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