Saturday, 23 October 2010

Root vegetable casserole

My first proper winter dish of the year [sob] goes hand in hand with the arrival of the first frost. Yesterday the lawn was transformed from an unruly but lush green into a snowy winter wonderland. 

On the plus side, the chill outdoors gives me permission to revel in those wonderful comfort foods that just don't seem right before the cold weather proper kicks in.  And I love this casserole - the new potatoes sit proudly atop the bubbling vegetables beneath and emerge from the oven crisp and golden.  They make a nice contrast to the melting textures of the veg underneath and stop this teetering over the edge from comfort food into baby food.

Serves 4

6 Glamorgan vegetarian sausages
2 sticks celery, finely diced
3 medium carrots, cut into 1cm slices
2 medium onions
1 swede, cut into 2cm chunks
2 parsnips, cut into 2cm chunks
1 tomato, finely chopped
400g new potatoes, peeled and cut into 3mm slices
4 cloves garlic

1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
large pinch rosemary and thyme, chopped
a small handful of chopped parsley
1 bay leaf
3 tsp vegetable oil
2 tsp butter
500ml vegetable stock mixed 2 tbsp cornflour

1) Fry the sausages in a teaspoon of the oil until golden brown, then cut each into three and place into an 8cm deep casserole dish with the swede, carrots and parsnips.

2) Cut the onions in half then slice them finely. Fry on a low heat with the remaining oil until they are soft and very lightly coloured, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic, tomatoes, bay leaf, and celery, and fry for a further 5 mins before adding the stock and herbs. Turn up the heat until the sauce is bubbling, then season to taste with salt and pepper, remove the bay leaf and pour over the vegetables.

3) Toss the potato slices in a little olive oil and some salt, then arrange over the other vegetables in a circular pattern (not necessary but it looks pretty!), and scatter over some more rosemary and a little sea salt. Bake for about 90 minutes at 350f/180c/gas mark 4, or until the top is golden and crunchy and the veg is tender (test with the tip of a knife).

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