What could be more satisfying than casseroles on a cold, January night? A casserole is a culinary dish that combines various ingredients into a single, often hearty and flavorful, baked or cooked preparation. This dish originates from the French word “casserole,” meaning a saucepan or stewpot.
If you’re familiar with the Scots vernacular, then you’ll know that neeps are swedes and tatties are potatoes. Traditionally, neeps and tatties are mashed up together and served as a side dish, and will always be found on the table for Hogmanay, Burn’s Night, and any other dark winter’s eve when there’s a cause for a feast.
I decided to put a twist on this classic dish by using neeps and tatties in a full-on casserole that makes an easy, comforting main dish instead. Turned out, it became one of the best vegetarian casseroles I’ve ever tried.
To my recipe for neeps and tatties, I added an onion, a couple of carrots, lentils and split peas to make it a substantial, satisfying dish. I had all the ingredients just lying around in the stock cupboard, but the whole big pot of ingredients probably cost less than $4 and easily made enough to feed 6.
Best of all, it’s incredibly versatile. You can serve it simply with a bit of green veg, put it into a pastry case and have it as a hearty pie, pile it onto a bed of spinach and kale, or turn it into a curry and serve with rice. Make a whole load in one go, then save it for a variety of different meals when time is short. You’ll make huge savings on your shopping bill, too.
This is how to make neeps and tatties casseroles:
Neeps and tatties casserole
- 1 medium swede
- 1 large baking potato
- 2 or 3 large carrots
- 1 onion
- 50 g red lentils
- 50 g split peas washed and soaked according to packet instructions
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 pint vegetable stock
- 1 tsp garam masala
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp crushed dried chillies optional
- 1 bay leaf
- salt and pepper to season
- Peel the potato, swede and carrots and chop into chunks.
- Finely chop the onion and crush the garlic.
- Place the onion and garlic in a large pan with a dash of oil.
- Turn on the heat to medium and gently sauté the onions until they begin to soften.
- Add the spices and stir.
- Add the chopped veg, lentils and drained split peas, and stir until well mixed with the onions and spices.
- Add the stock and bring to the boil.
- Turn down the heat and allow to simmer for 20-30 mins, until the vegetables and lentils have softened and absorbed some of the stock.
- Heat the oven to 180oC.
- Put as much of the casserole as you want into a casserole dish and put into the oven for 15-20 minutes, until more of the stock is absorbed, and the top starts to crisp up.
- Serve with green veg for a simple supper.