Wintery veg stew with onion and thyme gravy We don’t like to stew in our own juices when it comes to leftovers. This freezer-friendly hearty dish contains a multitude of veg that might just be hankering to be used post Christmas. Perfect with a crusty bread hunk to dunk. By Food Cycle. Ingredients (Serves 6) Stew 3 medium carrots, chopped into medium sized chunks 1 large butternut squash (or other variety), chopped into medium sized chunks 1 medium onion, sliced into thick chunks 2 cloves garlic, crushed 500g mushrooms (mixed, any variety), chopped into medium sized chunks 1 large leek, chopped into medium sized chunks 300g-400g of cooked puy lentils 1 tbsp paprika Olive oil Salt and pepper Fresh parsley, for garnish Gravy 8 tbsp flour 9-10 tbsp butter 2-3 large onions, diced into small squares 1 tbsp fresh or dried thyme Water or veg stock (about 2 litres) Salt and pepper Olive oil Marmite (optional) Method Make the gravy In a saucepan, soften the onions in some olive oil (about 5-8 mins). Once the onions have softened, add in the thyme and season with salt and pepper In another heavy based saucepan melt the butter then whisk in the flour, stirring constantly. This will form the base of the gravy called a roux. Once the flour and butter have combined into a smooth and thick paste, start slowly adding the veg stock/water, about 500ml at a time. As you add in the liquid, stir constantly. Add enough liquid to make a relatively thick sauce. To this sauce, add in the cooked onion mixture and stir. At this point you can stir in about 2 tbsp of marmite (if using). If the gravy is too thick, add more liquid. Taste and season if needed. Then turn off the heat, a set aside to use later. Make the stew In a large pot add enough oil to just cover the bottom and turn on to medium heat. Once hot, add in the onion and cook until just soft (about 5-8 mins). Stir in the garlic, and cook for a further 2-3 mins. Add in carrots, leeks and squash and cook for about 10-12 mins, until they begin to soften. Add in mushrooms then stir in paprika until all the veg is coated. Turn the heat down slightly and cover pot with a lid. Allow this mix to cook for about 15 mins, checking every so often to make sure the veg isn’t sticking (if it is, add a splash of water). Pour the gravy mix over the veg. There might be too much gravy, you want enough to barely cover the veg. Allow this to simmer together until the squash and carrots are soft but still holding their shape. Stir in the puy lentils and season if needed. To serve, dish it up in large bowls with a sprinkling of parsley on top. For added texture you could also top it with crispy onions or make some veggie dumplings! Recipe provided by Food Cycle. Want to get to grips with gravy? It's a great way to add ooomph to a dish and make the most of old bones, veg ends, bottles of wine, sauces, herbs dripping and more. Check out this guide to the many ways that you can make gravy and top recipes.