ROASTED VEGETABLES WITH BEANS

 

This is such a simple dish I feel a bit of a cheat for including it but it more than deserves its place given the ease of preparation, the uncomplicated cooking process and the sheer deliciousness it provides. It’s also a good standby for those times when you have odds and ends of vegetables in your store or fridge. Usually an autumn or winter dish I’ve been known to use this at any time of year when I want a little comfort food. The ingredients are flexible, it depends on what you have but my list is below.

 

Ingredients:

1 medium onion

1 large carrot

1 parsnip

1/3rd of a cauliflower including the leaves

7 or 8 small potatoes-washed but not scraped or peeled

2 sticks of celery

A good handful or two of squash if you have any (pumpkin, courgette or butternut would do)

7 or 8 button mushrooms or a large field mushroom

3 tablespoons of the cooking oil of choice

1 can of beans (butter beans, kidney beans, cannellini beans or chick peas-drain the liquid and set aside)

½ pint of vegetable stock

 

Method:

Wipe, chop and set aside the mushrooms. Wash and roughly chop the vegetables and place in an ovenproof dish, large enough to allow them to cook evenly. Pour the oil over the top, I used UK grown rape seed oil for its colour and nutty taste, and add a handful of fresh chopped herbs. I have thyme, rosemary & a few sage leaves in the garden but any herbs will do. Toss the vegetables in the oil and herbs and place into a medium hot oven (depends on your oven but I set mine around 180c) until they are cooked but not well done. Halfway through cooking add the chopped mushrooms and the beans (I used butter beans in this instance, they add protein and texture) mixing them into the other vegetables. Add the stock (this can be home-made but I’m not averse to using a good quality stock cube dissolved in the appropriate amount of water). 

 

Return the dish to the oven until the vegetables are cooked, this should only be another 10 minutes, and all the flavours are amalgamated. Taste for seasoning and add a little black pepper if required. I would expect to see slight charring on the top which adds to the flavour but don’t allow it to burn. The stock should have soaked into the other ingredients but if there is excess liquid and you want to thicken it stir in a squeeze of tomato puree, not too much otherwise it can start to overpower the flavour but tomato puree is a good last minute thickening ingredient. Worth remembering.

 

I like to serve this with a fresh green vegetable, for its colour as well as its mineral and vitamin content. There’s purple sprouting broccoli in the garden which needs only a few minutes in a couple of inches of water to cook through, but any green vegetable you have to hand will suit this purpose. Green beans, cabbage, spinach or even a few frozen peas will all brighten up the plate.

 

The addition of herbs and the stock should reduce the need for extra seasoning but a pinch of sea-salt will enliven flavour, just be aware of using too much.

 

From fridge and garden to plate in less than an hour and for very little outlay. Cheap, nourishing, comfort food. Enjoy.