Meat Free

For some reason I had the urge to cook a meal from a recipe.  Rather than throwing together a meal, which I often do according to what I fancy, I wanted to follow a structured recipe that someone else had developed.  It needed to be veg-heavy as that’s what I wanted to eat.  But it also had to be tasty and satisfying.  I had sufficient time to faff around – interpret that as time to put together different components which I wouldn’t do at other times!

I chose a recipe from the BBC GoodFood ‘The Collection’. And made some amendments according to what I thought might taste good.

Vegetable & Bean Bake(Serves 4)

1T sunflower oil

2 large onions, sliced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1t paprika

2T tomato puree

410g can cannellini beans, rinsed

2T fresh parsley, chopped

2 large baking potatoes, peeled and sliced

1 large courgette, sliced diagonally

4 ripe tomatoes, sliced

150ml vegetable stock

25g grated Parmesan

Heat the oven to 220*C/Gas 7/fan 200*C.  Parboil the sliced potatoes in some salted boiling water for 5 minutes, and drain.  Heat the oil in a pan and gently fry the onion and garlic for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the paprika – cook for one minute.  Then stir in the tomato puree, beans and parsley.  Tip into a 3 litre ovenproof dish.  Spread the drained potatoes over the bean mixture.  Top with the courgettes and tomatoes.  Pour over the stock.  Bake in the oven for 35 minutes.  Sprinkle with cheese and bake for a further 10 minutes.  Serve and enjoy!

Thick potato slices.

Beans, parsley and garlic.Tomatoes and courgettes, sliced.

Tomato puree – beautiful!

The bean mix.

All layered up and ready to go.

Cheese on top, and melted.

This bake was good.  Lots of flavours, a variety of textures – the chunky beans, the firm potato slices, the soft roasted vegetables on top.  It was satisfying to cut into.

I made some changes:

  • I used smoked paprika – wow!  The aroma and flavour were so good.  And I added two teaspoons rather than only one, to maximise the smokey flavour.
  • I added just a little less than the recommended amount of stock – to avoid a sloppy dish at the end.  The sauce was thick and good.  I also used chicken stock as that’s what I had in the cupboard.
  • I used strong Cheddar rather than Parmesan.
  • And I added seasoning as there was none added in the recipe.  So I salted the water for the potatoes.  And I added a grinding of salt to the bean mix, and plenty of fresh ground black pepper.
  • I also used a deep dish – the book recommended a shallow dish but I’m not convinced that would have worked too well.  I think the dish would have overflowed and made a mess.

This dish made a wonderful change and lasted for three meals – my Beloved would not touch it with a barge pole!  It would be good with fresh crusty bread to mop up the juices, but I enjoyed it just as is.

Recipes or own concoction?

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