A tasty casserole, started on the stove and finished in the oven, this has a wonderful sweet smoky flavour from the paprika and is warm, hearty and satisfying.
Don’t be put off if you cannot tolerate paprika, or if you are gluten-free and cannot tolerate barley – there are suggestions for alternative ingredients in the recipe.
For the vegetable base:
2 tbsp olive oil
3 onions, peeled and chopped
3 small (ordinary) potatoes, washed but unpeeled, diced
3 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 good handfuls of dried broth mix, or any combination of barley, lentils or split peas that you know you’re safe with, soaked and pre-cooked according to packet instructions
4 good handfuls frozen mixed vegetables, or any combination of peas, sweetcorn, green beans, broad beans, diced carrot or similar vegetables that you know you’re safe with
1 teaspoon each of sweet paprika and coriander
2 teaspoons each of smoked paprika (hot or sweet depending on how you like it) and cumin seeds (whole, not ground)
salt and black pepper as desired
(OR – instead of paprika, try a combination of liquid smoke flavouring and black treacle or dark muscovado sugar. I suggest between 1 and 3 teaspoons of each, depending on how much you like the flavours)
2 tbsp safe yeast extract (vegemite or Tescos own are okay for most of us)
1 beef stockpot or stock cube
good shake balsamic vinegar (can be omitted if you’re sensitive to vinegars)
1. In a casserole pan that’s safe both on the stove and in the oven, heat up the olive oil and fry the onions until they are soft and beginning to brown. Add both varieties of diced potato and continue to fry until they all start to brown slightly.
2. To the potatoes and onions, sprinkle in all the dry spices that you are using, and the salt and pepper. Stir well and keep cooking for another few minutes to take the raw taste off the spices.
3. Add the cooked broth mix and the frozen vegetables to the pan, with enough boiling water to cover. If it’s convenient you can use the cooking water from the broth mix.
4. Once the dish has come to the boil, add any liquid flavours together with the stock ingredients. If using a jelly stockpot, stir it in well to ensure it melts into the water.
5. Transfer prepared casserole to a medium oven and cook for around 45 minutes, until all the vegetables are soft and the sauce is syrupy and bubbling.
This can be served on its own but is delicious with crusty home-made bread.
Sausages also work well with this meal. Note that if you find some good sausages they can be placed on top of the casserole once the stove-top cooking is complete and baked along with it in the oven. Cooking times and temperatures do not need to be changed as long as the sausages are not frozen.
For another alternative, in a separate frying pan, brown some cubes of stewing steak and add to the casserole at step 3., and at step 5 cook in a low oven for about 2 hours.