Is there anything better more heart warming than sitting down to a hot and hearty meal with your family on a cold winter’s night? This is my own recipe for an easy casserole, chock full of winter vegetables and natural goodness. You’ll need to start this the day before you plan to eat it (to prepare the dried pulses). The quantities stated are enough to feed a family of four for two nights.
Ingredients (give or take a handful or two!):
½ cup dried split green peas
½ cup dried red lentils
½ cup (or more) or dried pearl barley
(referred to as pulses* later on)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1kg round or rump steak
4 large carrots
6 large potatoes
1 bag of mushrooms
1 large onion
3 cloves of garlic
3 or 4 zucchini
1 or 2 large parsnips
3 sticks of celery
A few sprigs of thyme
1.5 litres vegetable stock (I used the cooking water from last night’s spinach)
Couple of packets of your favourite casserole mix (Gourmet Granny’s is great!) or use some Oxo cubes (add flour to thicken it) or even your favourite gravy mix.
I start the day before by soaking dried green split peas, dried lentils and dried pearl barley (my favourite ingredient) in warm water overnight until they are nice and plump (use a large container as they swell). If you forgot to do this, then boil the pulses on high heat for 30 minutes before use.
Preheat oven to 200 fan forced. Peel and/or chop all the vegetables into fairly small pieces, but leave the potatoes and mushrooms a bit bigger, crush the garlic and rinse the thyme.
Trim the fat from the meat and cut into bite size (or larger) pieces. Toss the meat in flour and shake off excess. Heat the oil in a large frying pan until quite hot and stir fry the meat quickly until just browned on all sides (a minute or two). Take care not to overcrowd the pan, do in two batches if needs be.
Butter the base and sides of a large casserole dish (mine is 30cm x 23cm x 8cm). Place half the meat into it, along with half the vegetables and half the soaked pulses, stir to mix ingredients. Scrape the pan juices and the remainder of the meat into the dish along with the rest of the vegetables and pulses* and stir again to combine.
Add the vegetable stock and mix up two packets of Gourmet Granny’s Quick & Easy Casserole Mix (600ml) and pour over everything. Cover with a lid or 2 layers of aluminium foil and place in the hot oven – turn down to 180 fan forced after 30 minutes. Stir the casserole a couple of times to prevent sticking and to help it cook evenly. Cook for at least 1.5 hours, better to leave it for 2 hours. This quantity feeds our family of 4 for two nights (and hubby’s lunch for work if we don’t have seconds!). It is very hearty and just fab for a cold evening. Add some more veggie stock before you reheat it the following day so it doesn’t dry out. Take a photo of yours, tell me if your family likes it! Enjoy!!