For this week’s H post, I’ve decided to share with you my recipe for a harvest stew that I prepare each year at the autumn equinox. Actually, this is my longest-going spiritual practice since I made the first stew in 2008, shortly after reading my first introductory Wicca books. Needless to say, the recipe has progressed through various incarnations since then. But that’s the beauty of it – if you’re out of one ingredient, you can just as easily substitute another and/or experiment with different vegs.
Note: this is the vegetarian version of the recipe; you may just as well include meat like beef or pork.
Ingredients (this makes a stew for about 4 hungry people):
a pumpkin (Hokkaido or something similar works best; I wouldn’t use butternut squash) – alternatively, use two smaller ones
about 8 potatoes
2 bell peppers (I normally use one red and one yellow pepper, but any colour will do)
a handful of mushrooms
as much garlic as you like
1,5-2L vegetable stock (alternatively, you can use beef broth if you’re a meat-eater)
tomato purée to taste
salt and pepper
You can start by assembling all the ingredients on your kitchen table (or wherever you usually chop your vegs). Take a moment to perceive and reflect on each vegetable – what does it smell and taste like? What shape does it have? Do you know where it usually grows?
Then, thank the Goddess (or Whoever you feel is appropriate for the occasion – for me, it’s my matron Anann) for the bounty She gives us in the harvest. You may also want to extend your thanks to the rest of your life – in which other areas has the Goddess given you bountiful harvests?
When you’re done communing with the Goddess, start by cleaning your vegs.
Peel your vegs and chop them up into nice little cubes (potatoes, onions, peppers, tomatoes, garlic) or slices (carrots, mushrooms, courgettes). Cut the top from your pumpkin(s) and hollow it out – you won’t need the seeds.
In a big saucepan, heat 3-5 tbs of oil. Let the onions and the garlic roast for about 1-2mins, then slowly add your vegs, starting with the potatoes. Let them roast gently for a bit, then add carrots and bell peppers. Let them roast again, then add tomatoes and courgettes.
Pour in vegetable stock and let simmer for about 5mins. Add pumpkin and mushrooms and let simmer for about 25mins.
If you want to, you may add some meat substitutes now.
Add salt, pepper and tomato purée to taste.
Cooking times may vary depending on how many vegs you’ve used.
Serve your stew with some slices of buttered, home-made bread. Put some in a bowl for the land spirits if you honour them, or place a bowl of stew on your altar to share with your Gods.
All photos © by Harzgeist.