Monday, October 11, 2010
Her version is fat free. I added a tablespoon of olive oil to mine but honestly, it didn't seem to make much difference. Better would be to follow Celia's suggestion and serve the dish with something a little oily like garlic bread.
I didn't actually follow her recipe, nor did I use the same vegetables she recommends, though that is all probably part of the "hotchpotch" experience and she probably wouldn't mind. First chop slow cooking vegetables into bite-sized pieces. I used celery, mushrooms, kabocha squash, garbanzo beans, sweet potato, sweet red pepper, and sweet millions. I missed the part in the recipe where she adds red onions, so I didn't put any onions in mine, but if you make it, you should, as they will improve it. Mix the vegetables in a shallow baking dish or a casserole dish. You don't want them too high, but they can be layered a bit higher than you would for roasting.
Now add your spices. Celia and I used the interesting mixture of lemon zest, basil, coriander seeds, nutmeg, salt and black pepper, and cayenne pepper. I liked the coriander-nutmeg blend and will use it again. Now pour on a considerable amount of carrot juice. I've had a bottle in the fridge for a while and wanted to use it up, which was my inspiration for this dish, along with the lovely photograph in Party Food for Vegetarians. For about 5 cups of vegetables I used almost 2 cups of carrot juice. This seems like a lot of carroty goodness, and it is, even for a carrot fan like me. Next time I'll probably sub half of it for vegetable broth, but you can't deny that it turns the dish a gorgeous fluorescent orange. Now cover with tinfoil or the lid for the casserole dish and bake it at 400F for about 40 minutes. It will smell great--the lack of onions (and garlic) prevented it from being overpowering in my small house, however, for which, later, I was grateful. After 40 minutes I took it out and stirred it and also took the opportunity to add shredded red chard and some frozen edamame beans. After another 10 minutes, it looked like this:
Nothing got browned; it's intended to be more of a baked stew than a roast. With that in mind, this would probably be a fine dish for the slow cooker. Next time I'll try it. I served it over couscous, topped with pumpkin seeds and almost the last of the chives. It was tasty and colourful and no-fuss, and you can't ask for much more than that.