Warm your cockles with this hearty dish
When my day has consisted of red noses, struggling in and out of layers of coats and jumpers, battling to scrape ice from my car windscreen, and the ground is hard and crunchy with frost, there’s nothing more comforting than sitting down at the end of the day with a big bowl of something tasty, nourishing and hearty.
This easy, one-pot recipe is a hug in meal form, and I just love it. Plenty of seasonal vegetables bring colour and flavour, and the recipe is super-flexible – use up those languishing veggies from the bottom of the fridge, mix in beany protein power and top with a luxurious, cheesy potato crust for a delicious winter dinner that all ages can appreciate.
- One large onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- Two sticks of celery
- Four carrots
- 200g parsnips
- … and whichever other vegetables you fancy!
- 200g tin baked beans
- 500g large potatoes
- 25g butter
- 200ml vegetable stock
- One tablespoon plain flour
- 3 sprigs of thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- Sharp cheddar/parmesan cheese/vegetarian hard cheese
- Salt and pepper
You will need:
- Cutting board
- Sharp knife
- Cheese grater
- Large, ovenproof casserole dish with a lid
Let’s get cooking!
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
- Peel and dice the onions, garlic, celery, carrots and parsnips (or whatever other vegetables you’ve decided to use).
- Melt the butter in your casserole dish over a low heat. Add the onions and cook for about five minutes, until translucent, then add the garlic.
- Sweat the onions and garlic for a few minutes, then add the carrots, parsnips, celery and other veggies. Stir thoroughly to coat them in the melted butter.
- Add the thyme, bay leaves and salt and pepper, and stir through. Place the lid on the pot, and allow the veg to cook for around ten minutes.
- Whilst they’re frying, peel and slice the potatoes into rounds about 5mm thick. Place aside.
- Remove the lid from the pan, and add the tablespoon of plain flour. Stir to coat the vegetables and allow the flour to mix with some of the cooking juices. Add the vegetable stock and the tin of baked beans, cover again and simmer for about five minutes.
- When the mixture is nicely thickened and bubbling, place the potato slices neatly on top so that the entire surface is covered, and sprinkle with some black pepper. Grate your chosen cheese on top – you can afford to be generous! Vegetarians, be aware that parmesan does contain animal rennet – you may want to select another cheese.
- Place in the preheated oven, and bake for around 45-50 minutes until the potatoes are tender and fluffy, and the cheese is golden and bubbling. Serve immediately!