Beef or lamb Casserole or hotpot, baby new potatoes with broccoli and carrots.
This sounds like a complicated meal to prepare, but honestly, with the lovely selection of ready-made casseroles and hotpots on the market, along with pre-packed, washed new potatoes and vegetables, it couldn’t be easier.
To serve 2 you will need:
- Your favourite supermarket’s brand of chilled casserole or hotpot, I’m using Tesco’s own brand which comes in a plastic dish with cardboard outer sleeve. Buy either a 450 g to 600 g, beef, beef and ale, or beef bourguignon casserole, you could even try one with a dumpling or cobbler topping. Alternatively, select a lamb casserole or hotpot.
- 1 700 g, pack of baby new potatoes, which will give you enough for two meals.
- 1 pre-packed 250 g, fresh broccoli.
- 1 small 300 g, pack of baby carrots.
- Begin by pre-heating your oven to Gas Mark 4, 325 F, 170 C, 150 Fan.
- Remove the outer cardboard sleeve from the casserole.
- Stand the dish on a baking sheet, pierce the plastic film that covers it with a small pointed kitchen knife, in several places.
- Put half the baby new potatoes into a bowl of lukewarm water to wash away any dust. Rub each one between your fingers to help clean them, this way you can check for any tiny eyes, impurities or soft potatoes.
- Then transfer into a large saucepan with enough water to cover them, add a sprinkle of salt, and put on the lid.
- Pull apart the stems of broccoli and drop it into the luke warm water to clean it and discard the root.
- Add to a medium sized saucepan along with enough cold water to partially cover it, with a sprinkle of salt and a little lemon juice if you’re concerned about cooking odours, and cover with a lid.
- Count out several carrots per person. Rinse them in some clean lukewarm water, check them over with your fingers, as with the potatoes.
- Then top and tail them, i.e. remove a small piece from each end, then put them into a deep sided microwaveable bowl along with several tablespoons of water, and cover with a plate or pierced microwaveable Cling film.
- Put the casserole into the pre-heated oven and set your kitchen timer for 40 minutes, please allow between 15 and twenty minutes extra if you are using a frozen casserole.
- Put your saucepans onto the stove and your carrots into the microwave.
- Put some plates to warm.
- Ten minutes into the cooking time, turn on the heat under the potatoes and bring to the boil, turn down to simmer and cook for 20 to 25 minutes until slightly soft when tested with a fork.
- When the casserole has about 15 minutes to cook, bring the broccoli to the boil, turn down to simmer and cook for about 10 minutes until slightly tender when tested with a fork.
- At the same time, set your microwave for 11 minutes on a medium heat and cook your carrots.
- When your casserole has cooked, i.e. you can hear it sizzling slightly when you remove it from the oven, or, a little steam escapes as you take off the plastic film, use a slotted spoon to evenly distribute it between your plates, then pour over the rest of the gravy.
- Tip the contents of your new potato saucepan into a large colander and use your slotted spoon to serve them out, or, if you’re careful, you can push them on to the plates from the colander with your fingers.
- Tip the contents of your broccoli pan into the colander, allow a few seconds to let the water drain away, give the colander a gentle shake while it’s still over the sink to dislodge any remaining water, and serve this up too.
- Finally, drain and serve your carrots.
This meal is good and nutritious and gives a lovely contrast of flavours.
You might think it strange not to have peeled the veg, but its so fine on both these baby vegetables that it won’t matter, and, after all, that is where a lot of the goodness is.
If you really can’t stand the thought of eating any peel, just use a small vegetable brush to scrub the carrots and baby new potatoes when you clean them in the lukewarm water.