Here is a great recipe for the Autumn, and a very healthy one.
2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, chopped finely
2 carrots, chopped finely
150g small mushrooms, quartered
1 tbsp tomato purée
350g mixed root veg, peeled and chopped into 2cm pieces (I used parsnip and swede)
2 teaspoons of dried thyme
100g pearl barley
1 vegetable stock cube
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 medium potatoes, peeled
2 beetroot, peeled
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled
2 tsp honey
- Heat the oil in a large non stick frying pan over a medium heat. Cook the onions until starting to caramelise, about 10-15 mins. Tip in the carrots and mushrooms, and cook for another 5 mins until the mushrooms have softened a little. Stir in the tomato purée.
- Tip in the root veg, 1 teaspoon of dried thyme and all the pearl barley, stir well. Crumble in the vegetable stock cube and add the bay leaves, soy sauce, mustard and vinegar. Pour in 600ml water. Bring to a gentle simmer, cover with a lid and cook for 10 mins. Then season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.
- Meanwhile, prepare the potato, beetroot and sweet potato for the topping. Using a food processor or mandolin slice the potatoes, beetroot and sweet potatoes as thinly as you can (do the beetroot last as it will stain the rest of the veg if mixed before putting on top of the dish.
- Melt the butter in a pan over a very low heat and mix with the honey, remaining thyme and a grind of black pepper.
- Remove the pan from the heat. Place the mixture into a deep oven safe dish 28 x 18 cm. Arrange the sliced vegetables on top of the dish in concentric circles, overlapping potato, sweet potato and beetroot slices until the whole dish is covered. Brush the butter and honey mixture over the top, making sure every slice is covered. Season very well with salt and pepper.
- Cover the dish with a piece of foil and bake for 25 mins in the preheated oven. Uncover the dish and cook for a further 35 mins until the topping is crispy and the potatoes are golden.
Based on a recipe at https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/make-ahead-hearty-hotpot