Theo Michaels' winter-warming autumn stews... made in mugs
Do you ever feel that it takes hours slaving over a cooker to create delicious autumnal stews? Well, think again, because Theo Michaels is in the kitchen armed with a mug and a microwave ready to prove you wrong!
Lemon and oregano lamb stew
Cooking time: 7 ½ minutes (800w microwave)
Equipment: 300ml / ½ pint mug
30g/1 ¼ oz potato, diced into small cubes30g/1 ¼ oz onion, grated2 chestnut mushrooms, chopped1 clove garlic, grated30ml/2 tbsp olive oil Pinch sugar15ml/1 tbsp dried oregano50ml/2fl oz/1/4 cup stock, ideally lamb but chicken or beef if not30ml/2tbsp frozen peas100g/3 ¾ oz minced lamb22.5ml/1 ½ tbsp plain flour15ml/1 tbsp lemon juice Salt and ground black pepper
Place the potato, onion, mushrooms, garlic and 15ml/1 tbsp olive oil in the mug and microwave uncovered on full power for 4 ½ minutes
Remove from the microwave and stir well. Add the sugar, oregano, stock, peas, lamb and flour and mix thoroughly until well combined. Microwave again uncovered on full power for 3 minutes.
Stir in the lemon juice and if the stew appears too thick add a little water. Serve seasoned with salt and ground black pepper to taste.
If you want a more traditional mint and lamb stew, simply swap in mint instead of oregano and malt vinegar instead of lemon juice.
Chicken and dumpling stew
For the dumplings:
60g self raising flour30g butter, cubedPinch of salt, sugar, black pepper1tbl semi-skinned milk
For the chicken stew:
130g chicken breast cut into chunks20g onion, finely diced20g carrot, finely diced20g leeks, finely sliced15g celery, finely diced1 large clove garlic, chopped3 tbl white wine (dry-to-medium)1tbl cornflour150ml good quality chicken stock2tbl chopped parsley3 tbl olive oil
For the dumplings:
Mix butter and self-raising flour together until you have a breadcrumb texture, season and add the milk
Knead into a dough (don’t overwork it) and form five ping-pong ball sized pieces and just flatten a little
For the stew:
Start frying all the vegetables (except the carrots) in a frying pan with some olive oil
In a large pyrex bowl add the chicken, carrots, 125ml of tepid water and dumplings on top (ensuring dumplings are not fully submerged), cover with cling film, pierce and microwave for 4 minutes.
While the chicken is cooking combine the cornflour with the cold chicken stock and reserve
Once the chicken has cooked, add a splash of white wine to the frying pan with the vegetables, then add the chicken, carrots and the cornflour and stock mixture to the pan. Bring to a simmer to thicken and then finally add the chopped parsley.
Serve in a bowl and place dumplings on top of the stew.
Free beef stifado stew
Serves: 1Cooking time: 7 ½ minutes (800w microwave) plus 3 minutes standingEquipment: 300ml / ½ pint mug
70g/2 ¾ oz onions, thinly sliced1 clove garlic, thinly sliced4 tbsp olive oilGood pinch salt and ground black pepper1 tbsp tomato puree/paste½ tsp ground cinnamon1 stick cinnamon, about 5cm/2in in length100g/3 ¾ oz tinned butter beans, drained and rinsed50ml/2fl oz/ ¼ cup beef stock1 ½ tsp malt vinegar80g/3 ¼ oz rump steak, very thinly slicedSprig of fresh parsley
Place the onions, garlic, 45ml/3 tbsp of the olive oil and a good pinch of salt and ground black pepper in the mug and microwave uncovered on full power for 4 minutes.
Stir well and then add the tomato puree, cinnamon (ground and stick), butter beans and the stock and microwave again, covered, for 3 minutes.
Stir well and finally add the vinegar, remaining 15ml/ 1 tbsp olive oil, and the steak slices. Add the splash of water or stock at this stage if the mixture is too thick. Microwave on full power for 30 seconds, leave to stand for 3 minutes and serve garnished with a sprig of fresh parsley.
Ensure the steak is at room temperature because it is predominantly cooked in the residual heat of the stew. This ensures the meat is really tender but cooked through.