Sunday, 12 January 2014

Winter Vegetable Casserole & Herby Stuffing Bites GF SCD

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!! Hope you've all had a wonderful Christmas break. My eldest son and his gorgeous family landed safely back in Toronto early yesterday morning and life is now slowly getting back to normal. The last three weeks have been jam packed full of wonderful, precious moments which will stay with me for ever. How lovely it's been to have my whole family back together and how extra special for all of us that we were able to spend so much time with the latest addition to the family, it was just perfect!

The temperature dropped today and I was craving something warm and comforting and what better than a tasty vegetable casserole! The root vegetables are a fantastic source of vitamins and minerals and their earthy flavours make them ideal for Winter casseroles and stews. The herby bites were a favourite over the Christmas period and I thought they would make a lovely addition to the dish.

Winter Vegetable Casserole & Herby Stuffing Bites GF SCD

I made this in a 1.5 pint casserole dish which made about 3 servings. Just increase the quantities for a larger casserole.

175 g butternut squash
200 g swede (rutabaga)
3 medium carrots
1 medium leek
1 stick celery
1 red onion
4 tblsps red lentils washed under a running tap
250 g cooked kidney or black beans
6 sage leaves
4 small sprigs of thyme
1 sprig of rosemary
1 bay leaf
1¼ pints boiling water
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Herby Bites (makes 6)
65 g organic almonds
150 g butternut squash (about a quarter of a medium one)
small handful of washed spinach
2 medium onions
3 heaped tsps dried sage
1 tsp dried parsley
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil

  • Set the oven to 180° C (fan/convection oven).
  • Peel & dice the butternut squash and swede (rutabaga).
  • Peel and chop the carrots into round pieces.
  • Slice the celery & leek.
  • Thinly slice the red onion.
  • Tip the vegetables into the casserole.
  • Add the washed lentils & herbs.
  • Pour in 1¼ pints of boiling water.
  • Place the lid on top of the casserole & put in the oven on a tray.
  • Cook for 15 - 20 minutes until the water begins to boil.
  • Turn down the heat to 160° C.
  • After about 60 minutes, take out the casserole and stir in the cooked beans.
  • Cook for a further 45 to 60 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.

Meanwhile, make the mixture for the herby bites. These are made in the same way as my Grain Free Bhaji Bites and Almond & Butternut Squash Bites if you would like to see pictures of the method. I bake these after the casserole is cooked since it needs to cool down a little before eating but they can be cooked with the casserole at the beginning of cooking and heated up in the last half an hour of cooking.

  • Set the oven to 180° C (fan/convection oven).
  • Slice the onions and dice the butternut squash.
  • Gently heat about a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in a frying pan then add the onion, butternut squash and dried herbs and cook over a low heat until the vegetables are soft, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Take off the heat and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.
  • Grind the almonds in a food processor until fine but not quite as fine as almond flour.
  • Tip in the cooked vegetables and season well with freshly ground sea salt and black pepper, add the spinach and process well.
  • Shape the mixture with your hands into six balls and place on an oiled baking sheet.
  • Place in a cool place until ready to cook.
  • Bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until the outside begins to firm.

When the casserole is cooked take out of the oven to cool down a little and cook or heat up the herby bites.

Add the herby bites to the top of the casserole and serve immediately.

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