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Vegetable Pot au Feu with Harissa

A man-sized meal to satisfy vegetarians and carnivores alike.

The dish can be served as soup one day and as something more substantial the next, perhaps with "Pilau Rice". Determined meat eaters could have a side dish of fiery "Pickled Pork Vindaloo".

Key Features

  • Suitable for Vegetarians
  • Suitable for Vegans


For the stock -
6 smallish Red Onions, trimmed but unpeeled
6 ordinary Onions, of a similar size, trimmed but unpeeled
6 big cloves of Garlic, peeled but left whole
2.8 litres/5 pints Boiling Water

For the stew -
6 Old Carrots, peeled and trimmed
2 Celery Hearts, divided into quarters
3 big Leeks, cut across to make 6 pieces, carefully washed, or 6 small Leeks
1 Bouquet Garni, comprising a teaspoon (5ml) Herbes de Provence and a Bay Leaf - wrapped in a little muslin parcel, or held in a tea infuser
2 big cloves of cloves of Garlic, peeled and chopped
2 Cinnamon sticks
a firm Cauliflower, divided into segments
170g/6oz string-less Kenya beans, headed and tailed
2 Sweet Peppers, de-seeded and cut into 2.5cm/1in pieces
230g/8oz frozen Peas
1 * 400g tin of chopped Tomatoes
1 * 400g tin of Chick Peas, drained
2 teaspoons (10ml), or more, of Harissa (easily available from big supermarkets in small tins. tubes or jars)
Salt and freshly-ground Black Pepper

Equipment needed: A big casserole, stainless steel if possible, capable of holding all the ingredients.


1. Put the stock ingredients with the boiling water. Return to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes.

2. Carefully fish out the solids with a perforated spoon and cool on a plate.

3. Add the carrots, celery leeks, chopped garlic bouquet garni and cinnamon to the water/stock. Return to the boil and simmer for 5 mintes.

4. Add the cauliflower pieces and five minutes later the courgettes, peppers and chick peas.

5. While the vegetables are cooking, carefully peel the onions - add these intact, with the garlic and frozen peas to the pan. Cook for a further 5 minutes.

6. Taste for seasoning, add as much salt and pepper as necessary.

7. Add the harissa and gently mix well in. taste again, adding more harissa if you want more fire.

* can be prepared ahead up to this point and re-heated. If planning this, be careful not to overcook the vegetables.

Recipe taken from 'Foolproof Entertaining' by Simon Scrutton - available from

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