Monday, 16 May 2011

Vegetarian "Lancashire" Hotpot

Food is an obsession for me. It makes me so incredibly happy at times, and so incredibly frustrated too.
How does one remain trim while there are so many glorious food temptations out there?

In my constant quest for new dinner ideas, I made an excellent vegetarian hotpot. Very easy and very tasty.

Vegetables, lots of vegetables...
I used a head of broccoli, 2 white onions, a clove of garlic, one fennel bulb, 4 carrots and 700 grams of peeled potatoes
about 500ml of vegetable stock from a cube
a splash of soy sauce
a tablespoon or two of safflower oil
a tablespoon of maizena (cornstarch) mixed with cold water
seasoning (salt, pepper, dried herbs from my cupboard)

Heat the oven to about 180 degrees Celsius.
Then start by gently frying the onion and garlic (which I chopped finely) in a casserole dish.
Add the rest of the vegetables (roughly chopped) and keep two thirds of the potatoes for the topping.
Add the stock and let it simmer away on a medium heat for about 10 minutes.
While the veggies are simmering, slice the potatoes (or if you have the tools, feed them through a vegetable slicer) in to thin round discs. I would say about 3 - 5 mm thick at most.
Add the maizena mixture and stir the stock until it thickens up.
Dont forget to season the veggies.
Take your pot (casserole dish or whatever) off the heat and arrange the sliced potatoes on top. Make a pattern, or not.
Gently brush some oil on top of the potatoes, add some more seasoning. Then pop it into the oven, without the lid.
Leave it in there until the potatoes on top are cooked and starting to brown.  This can be anything from 45 mins to an hour.

Remove from the oven and enjoy!

This recipe can be made with any vegetables you have in the house...  and if you dont feel like potatoes as a topping then a nice doughy crust (ready made pastry) is pretty good too. Experiment and adjust to your taste, that is after all part of the pleasure of cooking.

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