Sunday, 16 January 2011

Spicy Veg and Lentil Casserole

Last night's dinner was a rather tasty casserole; it was all a bit spur of the moment, but for some reason I was feeling short on inspiration and nothing seemed to appeal. There were loads of bits and pieces in the fridge that needed using up, so I got the whole lot out on the worktop to see what I could come up with. It turned into a fragrant veg casserole that cheered up a wet Saturday night no end and was very nice indeed.

I would have served it with naans if I'd had any in the freezer but onion bhajis provided a pretty good substitute. Incidentally, I know the list of ingredients looks as long as your arm but it's mostly store-cupboard stuff; nothing too tricky.

½ a small butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
12 small new potatoes, halved
1 large onion, peeled and sliced thinly
1 medium parsnip, peeled and cut into chunks
100g small chestnut mushrooms
3 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
3 sticks of celery, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp black mustard seeds
¼ tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tin chopped tomatoes
450mls veg stock
100g red lentils
100g french beans cut into 1inch pieces
100g frozen peas
1 tsp garam masala
handful of fresh coriander, chopped finely

Prepare the first seven vegetables, put into a very large pan with the olive oil and saute gently for about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, turmeric, cumin, coriander, mustard seeds and chilli flakes and stir for a minute or two until the spices become fragrant. Add the tinned tomatoes and the stock, give everything a really good stir and bring to the boil; simmer gently for 15 minutes. Add the red lentils and simmer for another 15 mins (you may need to add a bit more stock). Add the French beans, frozen peas and garam masala, bring back to the boil and simmer for another 5 mins.

Stir in the chopped coriander before serving with naans (or, in my case, onion bhajis!)

Serves 4 generously

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