Minggu, 08 Januari 2017

Winter vegetable casserole...

Happy new year everybody, I hope you all had a good time over the holidays. At this time of year, I find that there is nothing more comforting than a hearty one pot dish to enjoy on those cold and gloomy evenings. After all of the excitement of the holiday season, January seems like a cheerless month, devoid of the vibrancy and the sense of anticipation which abounds in the approach to Christmas. Another challenge January can present is a lack of spare time; I have spent the past week catching up and as a result I have not had much time to cook. I decided that this weekend was the perfect time to revisit one of my favourite recipes, winter vegetable casserole.

At first glance, this does not sound like a very inspiring dish but it has so much going for it because it is easy to make, it requires simple ingredients, it can be made in one pot and it is so rustic and satisfying on a cold winter evening.

One diced onion (I used red onion)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 tablespoons curry powder (depending how spicy you like your food)
salt and pepper
1 medium swede, peeled and chopped
3-4 carrots, peeled and chopped
3-4 parsnips, peeled and chopped 
3-4 potatoes, peeled and chopped 
200g red lentils 
2 litres vegetable stock 
Sour cream (to serve)

In a good quality stockpot (I used a cast iron casserole dish), heat the olive oil over a medium heat and gently fry the onion until softened.

Add the various vegetables, stir well with a wooden spoon to combine them, fry them until slightly browned and then add the curry powder.

At this point, add the vegetable stock and turn up the heat to bring the pan to a boil. Add the red lentils and turn the heat down to a simmer, stir well again and then cover the pan. Leave to simmer for a good 20-25 minutes (or until the vegetables are tender), popping back to stir occasionally.

The stew will begin to thicken nicely due to the lentils (which is why stirring it often is important to prevent it from sticking to the pan), taste it to check seasoning levels and ensure that all the vegetables are tender before serving. It may not look pretty, but trust me when I say this is such a filling and delicious dish for this time of the year!

When it is ready, ladle in to serving bowls and top with a little sour cream or plain yogurt.

Crusty bread, naan bread or garlic bread all work well as accompaniments and you can also serve this with boiled rice, chips, couscous or a jacket potato. It is so warming, filling and tasty that this is the type of recipe I just love to eat on a chilly night. I made a large tray of extra crispy roast potatoes to go with this and we heated up some vegetable samosas to accompany it too.

Once cooled, this can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days, or frozen in a lidded container for later use. I also find it goes well with a stack of poppadoms and chutneys as a curry alternative, or simply served on its own for a speedy lunch or supper. This is one of those go-to recipes which does not require much time or expenditure, exactly what I like when it comes to a lazy one pot winter meal.

What do you all think, do you like one pot dishes and which recipes are your favourites during winter? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post.

Until next time, 



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