Technically, it's a stew.
So what's the difference between a casserole and a stew?
Both of these terms are used interchangeably by most people. Both meals are slow cooked. However, a casserole is cooked slowly in the oven in a dish of the same name (casserole). A casserole dish has a tight fitting lid and the heat circulates all around. Stews are cooked slowly on a simmering stovetop with the heat being applied from underneath.
Pumpkin and Chickpea Casserole
1 tablespoon oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 large red onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon curry powder
3 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoon tomato paste
1 ½ tablespoons plain flour
300g pumpkin, peeled and chopped into 2 cm cubes
250g kumara, peeled and chopped into 2cm cubes
½ small cauliflower, chopped into florets
2 medium zucchini, cut into 2 cm rounds
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Toss pumpkin and kumara pieces in plain flour. Heat oil and butter together in a heavy based saucepan. Sauté onion and garlic until tender, add spices, and cook one minute until aromatic. Add pumpkin and kumara to pan and cook further minute.
Add stock and tomato paste and bring to the boil, scraping bottom of pan. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes, covered. Add cauliflower and zucchini and cook a further 10-15 minutes until vegies are tender. Stir in chickpeas and warm through. Serve with boiled or mashed potatoes or rice.
*For gluten free variation, substitute plain flou
Last year, I received a heavy duty, stovetop-to-oven, casserole dish as a Mother's Day present. It's become one of my favourite kitchen items, particularly in the winter months.
I love a one-pot dish. Sauté everything together on the stove top and then put on the lid and throw it in the oven for a couple of hours. Go away and do something else while dinner cooks. Perfect.
I have never used a slow cooker so am not sure if any of my casserole recipes will be suitable. There's only one way to find out if you own one.
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon oil
1kg chuck steak, cut into 3-5cm cubes
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons paprika
1 cup beef stock
2x 400g tins diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Sour cream, chopped fresh parsley to serve
Cooked pasta to serve
Preheat oven to 160°C.
Heat oil and butter together in a large saucepan over medium heat. Brown beef in 2 batches. Remove from pan and set aside. Sauté onion and garlic until tender. Add paprika and cook further 1 minute or until aromatic.
Return beef to pan and add stock, tomato paste, tomatoes and bay leaf. Bring to boil, scraping any residue from the bottom of the pan.
Cover dish and cook in oven for 2 hours.
Remove bay leaf. Serve on top of cooked pasta with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of chopped fresh parsley.
· Add bacon and/or mushrooms when sautéing onions and garlic .
Note: Casseroles are best made in a dish that can be used on both the stovetop and in the oven. However, if you don't have a casserole dish, just prepare the casserole in a heavy based saucepan and transfer the mix to an ovenproof dish with a tight fitting lid.
Life for us has been all about survival on a shoestring budget. I cook from scratch and don't buy prepackaged mixes of anything. I've learnt how to live on very basic (and cheap) staples. I've raised happy and healthy kids and I believe that good food is central to a good life!
I have an unpublished cookbook manuscript that lives on my kitchen bench. This is the collection that I have fed my family from for many years, all made from a core list of practical and economical ingredients. The manuscript is splattered with butter, flour and milk from daily use. It moves between the kitchen and the office as I edit and test-kitchen the recipes.