Thursday, 23 January 2020

Vegan Stovies (potato stew with home made 'mince meat')

It has been such odd weather lately that it is just the weather for a warm winter stew like these stovies.  Yesterday was warm and humid but in the evening a cool change arrived and the rain came on.  Not just any rain but dusty rain.  This morning the ground had patches of red dirt that the storm had brought in from the drought affected north of Australia. 

Mind you, this is only the 2nd dust storm I can remember in my life.  The first was at school in 1983 when there was no rain but just red dust.   We closed the windows and the sky darkened with dust.  Afterwards our school books were covered in red dust.  This time it was the dirtiest rain but late at night so I missed it.

Back to the stovies!  I actually made these in November during a period of cold weather.  It was a bit of an experiment.  I had seen that Jacqueline had made a vegan version of the Scottish dish, stovies.  (Check out her blog if you want to know more about this traditional Scottish dish.)  She used lots of gravy and I had some in the fridge.  However she used vegetarian mince which I don't tend to use and she cooked hers in a slow cooker. 

I drew on two previous recipes.  Firstly I used riced cauliflower and finely chopped walnuts as I had in this vegan mince but I did not do the drying out, which was just as well because the slow cooking tended to dry it out anyway.  Then I drew on the chulent I had made years ago that cooked potatoes and barley very slowly.  I cooked it for ages with the occasional stirring.  Sadly it was quite a while ago that I made it so I think I might have actually served some, being unhappy with it not being cooked enough and cooked it more.

Another challenge with the recipe is getting it dark enough.  I also find it can be a challenge with gravy.  Dark seasonings such as soy sauce, worcestershire sauce and vegemite help this.  But it is really the taste the is special.  There is such wonderful comfort in meltingly soft slow-cooked potatoes. 

However I had to have it with some colour.  As it is a Scottish dish and the Scots are not known for lots of exotic vegetables, I served it with carrots and peas.  It was delicious and reminded me of childhood dinners.  I have never had stovies in my life but my mum used to make meat and potato sort of casseroles when I was young.  I highly recommend this dish for some winter comfort, to use up leftover gravy or to celebrate Burns Night which is coming up on Saturday!

More traditional Scottish recipes on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Coconut ice (gf)
Tattie scones 
Vegan haggis

Vegetarian Stovies
Adapted from Tinned Tomatoes and Green Gourmet Giraffe

2 tsp olive oil
1 large onion, halved and sliced
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup water
1/2 cauliflower, finely chopped (or 3 cups cauliflower rice)
1 cup walnuts, ground to crumbs
1 tbsp worcestershre sauce
1 tsp vegemite dissolved in 1/2 cup hot water
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 1/2 cups gravy
1 kg potatoes, cut into 1-2 inch chunks

Fry onions and garlic until soft in olive oil in a medium  casserole (my preference is one that can go on the stovetop and in the oven).  Stir in the cup of water to deglaze.  Then add remaining ingredients.  Check and adjust seasoning.  Bring to the boil on the stovetop.   Transfer to the oven (scrape into another dish if your stovetop casserole is not ovenproof).  Bake at 160 C for 3-5 hours until potatoes soft and collapse at the touch of a knife.  Stir about every 1/2 hour and if it seems too dry add more water (also check seasoning if you add quite a bit of water).  Keeps for about a week in the fridge.

NOTES: I used homemade gravy but you could make it from a packet if that is your thing.  My gravy was thick and made with onion so that probably added to the flavour.  The potatoes get quite dark in colour on the outside but that is as they should be.  To make this gluten free use a GF form of vegemite.  If you don't have vegemite you could substitute with marmite, vegetable extract such as vecon, a stock paste/powder or any seasoning that adds a punch with flavour.

On the stereo:
Electronic (self titled)


  1. That looks just right and warm and comforting for the cold weather we have here this week!

  2. You always do a great twist on recipes Johanna and this looks great. They are total comfort food, aren't they?

    Will you be making your homemade veggie haggis for Burns Night this weekend?

  3. I had never heard of stovies before. It sounds delish though - I love a good stew.

  4. Ooh I'm definitely going to check out Stovies. I've never heard of these in my travels to Scotland before. It would be great for winter :D


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