There’s no recipe for this special stew written down... and to be perfectly honest it turns out different every time, more delicious and nutritious than the last. That’s why it’s a favourite, and why it’ll keep coming around again.
To start with, you need to have all your ingredients prepared...
Your meat pieces, the steady base of the stew sizzling in the pan that really get the show on the road.
Stock. (AFRIL comes highly recommended.)
An unusual mixed bag of lentils- very rare as every single one of them is different, not only in their form or where they come from but on how they are cooked.
Vegetables: for additional colour and support.
Spices, added along the way.
A lot of background preparation completed in the tenderising of the meat and stock, means that you can start cooking pretty much straight away. Add the lentils and vegetables.
Throughout the cooking of weekly sessions, something magic happens. The juice of each ingredient infuses the other and music appears each ingredient bringing something new to the mix. Of course the variety in lentils can sometimes be tricky, some being hard, some sticking to the side of the pan, however what is always amazing to see how even these lentils suck in the juices one way or another.
The spices never forgotten come in the form of training sessions, and evaluations; unforgettable and really helpful, bringing new ideas and keeping the stew fresh and interesting.
Finally finished, it is shared as a dish amongst others throughout the year- at an end of term party or in Festivals. It is always wonderfully received but as any chef will tell you, the joy of the meal, comes in the making as much as the eating.
Whilst munching its always important to reflect, to hear what all the ingredients have to say, and see if everything is ok, if there’s anything that can be improved on for the next stew, or if any particular lentil needs more attention, or even to bring new ideas to add to the pot next time. This is perhaps one of the most important aspects of cooking the stew. The level of communication and reflection done, to further the stews flavour, is in my opinion what makes the Fairbeats stew so special.
This quote comes from one of the carrots involved in this year’s stew:
“It has truly been a wonderful year. I’ve learnt so much from the whole dish. The lentils are hard not to get too attached to, as they are such interesting and lively beings. The support and chances given to lead have been brilliant. It’s showed me the importance of both roles. The communication, idea sharing and feedback have meant that I have really felt a team member and part of the stew. This would not have been possible without the brilliant facilitation and organisation of the tasty and reliable base. The taste has improved throughout the year of this fine dish and I can wholeheartedly recommend trying to get involved in it next year.”