Nigel Slater’s Greengrocers’ Hot Pot
I found this recipe quite by accident when I was browsing online for a Sunday lunch casserole recipe recently. As soon as the weather gets a bit cooler I find myself transitioning from light salads to warmer, more comforting food and this vegetable casserole is one I can make in bulk and then store in the freezer.
The original recipe uses flageolet beans but as my supermarket didn’t have any I used black beans instead. I’m sure you could use pretty much any type of pre-soaked bean if your local store doesn’t stock a wide variety. And I was a bit concerned about the amount of onion used in this dish! However, because they are stewed they become really soft and sweet and not overpowering at all.
You could experiment with the herbs too. The original recipe uses sprigs of fresh thyme placed on top of the dish before baking. I sprinkled a teaspoon of dried thyme on top but I think next time I make it I’ll use oregano and thyme which I’ll mix through the dish before baking.
- 8 tbsp olive oil
- 4 onions, sliced
- 1 aubergine (eggplant), sliced in half lengthways then cut into 1cm thick semi-circles
- 1 courgette (zucchini), sliced into 1cm thick rounds
- 800g tomatoes, cut in half (or quarters if they're very large)
- 1 x 400g tin haricot beans
- 1 x 400g tin black beans
- 50g butter
- 1 large carrot, cut into ribbons
- 2 cooked beetroots, sliced into 1cm thick rounds
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- Salt & pepper
- Preheat the oven to 160C/320F.
- Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a medium casserole pot over a medium heat. Add the onions and fry for 4-5 minutes until the begin to turn golden brown.
- Add 500ml (18 fl oz) of water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat until the water is simmering and simmer gently for 20 minutes or until the water has all but evaporated.
- Heat 4 tablespoons of oil in a separate frying pan over a medium heat. Add the aubergine pieces (cook in batches if necessary) and fry until lightly coloured on both sides (about 5-6 minutes).
- Repeat this process with the courgette rounds. Set aside.
- Add the halved tomatoes to the stewed onions and season well with salt and pepper. Put the lid on the casserole pot and cook for 8-10 minutes or until cooked through.
- Add the black and haricot beans to the onions and tomatoes, then stir in the courgettes and aubergines.
- Melt the butter and and the remaining 1 tbsp of oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Stir in the carrot ribbons until completely coated in the fat then arrange them in a tangle on top of the casserole.
- Add the beetroot slices to the frying pan and cook for 4-5 minutes until softened. Arrange the beetroot slices among the tangled carrot ribbons. Sprinkle over the thyme.
- Bake the hotpot in the oven for 45-60 minutes or until the vegetables on top have turned crispy and golden brown and the casserole has thickened.