I was chuffed to bits when I won Jacqueline's Slow Cooking Challenge over at Tinned Tomatoes. I was even more pleased because the prize was a copy of 'Market Vegetarian' by Ross Dobson. When the book arrived this week, I was so excited, that Kay commented that I was acting like I'd never won anything in my life. Well, I hadn't... not after those singing competitions in college anyway :-)
I loved the fact that book was of vegetarian recipes. I tend to struggle to come up with new ideas to feed Aditi, who's veggie, and keep a balanced diet all round. Aditi is actually refusing to try fish and seafood, so getting protein into her is a real challenge. Kay eats fish and seafood, but he tends to only eat fish that's caught by him or his brother, or from relatives. In fact, I can't remember the last time I bought fish at the supermarket. He does eat prawns and mussels, but is really into sustainable fishing, which of course makes my life difficult trying to source them for him. But, hey ho, that's the way life is and I make the best of it. It does mean that we eat a lot of vegetables, and pulses and that can only be a Good Thing, as my mum would put it.
Plus, we are expecting a good crop of veggies from all the seedlings Kay is growing... can't wait for the day I can wander into my back garden and pick veg for dinner. Yum!
So, to get back to the book, both Kay and I looked through it, and before I knew it, Kay had already bookmarked recipes that he wanted me to make. The first recipe was this delicious looking hotpot with Great Northern Beans. Now it so happens, that I always keep a bag of these dried beans in my pantry, as they are really good in other dishes like my chili, and some of the dals I make. I also had all the other vegetables on hand. I didn't adapt the recipe heavily, the only difference being that I changed quantities around, and used a yellow pepper instead of a red one. I also didn't have smoked paprika, and used normal paprika instead.
I was really very impressed with this hotpot. It was beautifully hearty, yet delicate, and was simply packed full of flavour. For someone who normally uses at least three or four spice mixes, it was a shock to find that I could only use paprika, and yet have so much flavour in the dish. And all the colours of the vegetables and beans were just so pretty. Both Aditi and Kay loved the hotpot, and I served it with just some buttered home made bread rolls.
Now I really do have to go out and try to find some Spanish smoked paprika, as I think we have a new favourite in this house. And also to send a giant 'Thank You' to Jacqueline :-)
Adapted from Ross Dobson's 'Market Vegetarian'
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup great northern beans
1 garlic clove, minced
3 celery sticks, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
1 red or yellow pepper, chopped
1 potato, chopped
1 cup vegetable stock
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp paprika (Ross uses Spanish smoked, I used just normal paprika)
Salt and pepper to taste
Soak the beans overnight. If you are not organised enough, try this. Boil a kettle of water. Place the beans in a pot, and add the boiling water. Boil hard for 3 - 4 minutes, then turn off the heat, and soak for 1 hour.
Boil the beans for between 25 - 35 minutes, or until tender.
In a pot, heat the oil, and add the onion and garlic. Fry for 2 - 3 minutes, then add the paprika. Cook for an additional minute.
Add the chopped carrots, celery, pepper and potato, and saute for 3 - 5 minutes.
Add the vegetable stock, and the cooked beans, and simmer on a low heat for 25 - 30 minutes or so, until the beans are very soft and the vegetables are almost falling apart. Season to taste.
Serve with warm bread rolls with a sprinkle of paprika on top.