Lerato’s roasted stew

leratos_roasted_stewSauces can turn any meal from stale and boring to glorious and delicious, but we absolutely need to get the base right for a wonderful sauce with great flavour and texture. One of my favourite sauces and the most cooked sauce in Nigeria is a tomato stew. Why has this become such a staple in our diets. We eat almost everything with stew; bread, vegetables, grains, soups, everything! My obsession with tomatoes extend beyond my nickname as Lerato Tomato.

It is such a food that I cannot imagine being without, for sauces, salads, and my much loved roasted stew. I had always loved roasted vegetable, the intense flavour from the char and so when I decided to roast all the ingredients of my stew I embarked on a flavour high that is so incredible you will wonder why you never roasted stew before. The process is incredibly simple. Roast the tomatoes, peppers, garlic, ginger and whatever else goes into your typical blend for a stew. Mine consists of all of the above which I finish off with herbs and spices that’s I simply couldn’t live without. Now go to the market and let’s get cooking!

Roasted Tomato Stew
Feeds 4 hungry tummies
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 60 minutes

Ingredients
12 whole tomatoes / 2x 400g chopped or plum tomatoes
2 large red bell peppers / 4 tatashe peppers
2 red scotch bonnets
4 cloves of garlic
4 sprigs of spring onions
1 medium white or yellow onion
A small thumb of ginger
1 tsp of dry pepper
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp dried thyme
1 tbs of vegetable oil
2 stock cubes
1 tsp of dried oregano
Freshly ground black pepper
Salt to taste

Let’s get cooking!
Pre-heat your oven to 200c. Wash and roughly chop the tomatoes, peppers and onions and place in a bowl. Crush the garlic with the back of your knife, chop the ginger and throw into the bowl. Pour one tablespoon of oil into the bowl and toss it carefully to make sure its contents are covered in the oil.

Prepare a roasting tray or baking dish with foil to cover it. Pour the contents of the bowl into the tray and roast for up to 30 minutes. Keep an eye on it to make sure it does not burn. The skins will wrinkle and darken. Take out once it starts to blacken around the sides.

Pour all the contents of your roast into a blender, add water starting with 235ml or a cup of water, adding more, just a little at a time to avoid a watery paste. Blend to a fine paste.

Place a saucepan under medium heat with a tablespoon of oil. Pour your blended sauce into the hot oil. Add all your spices and herbs and stir. Add freshly ground black pepper and salt if needed. Leave to cook for another 10 – 20 minutes. Taste to make sure the tomatoes are well cooked. Once the sauce is further thickened, take off the heat and eat any and everything you want! I rather enjoy scooping this thick sauce with a crusty baguette or a sweet and fluffy roll, it takes me back to my good old childhood eating bread and stew!

Make this recipe yours by using your favourite vegetables and spices. Share your success with me and other food lovers on social media.
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