If you had asked me a few months ago what my favourite kind of recipes to create were, I would have undoubtably said dessert. However, I definitely think my palette has changed now, even in such a short space of time. I’ve actually found that I really enjoy coming up with new ideas for dinners and main meals. I love taking a few simple ingredients and mixing them with some spices to create a dish that’s full of flavour. There are so many amazing things you can make when you use some of your creativity.
My latest creation was this casserole dish. Originally, I made this as a lentil casserole. However, one time I decided to change it and make it with mixed beans and the recipe’s been that way since. Using beans really sped up the cooking time, and made an easy dish that doesn’t take too much effort to prepare.
I used black eyed beans (my new favourite) and flageolet beans to make this as I wanted to try some beans I hadn’t really used before. I really like this combination, but you can easily substitute them with any other beans you like, or have at home. I think kidney beans would also work well in this, so feel free to add whatever you like and make a dish you’ll want to come back to for seconds!
I also decided to top the casserole with some baked aubergine (eggplant) slices. I’m really addicted to aubergines at the moment. Since I’ve discovered how to cook them this way, I’ve seriously fallen in love with them. By topping them on the dish, they give a nice light, soft texture that goes really well with the sauce.
This recipe is one of those dishes that’s perfect for a simple family dinner, and I would recommend serving it with some rice or couscous to finish.
two bean casserole
serves about 6
1 aubergine (275g)
1 medium onion (100g)
oil of choice
1 red pepper (250g)
1 orange pepper (200g)
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp dried oregano
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp tomato purée
2 tbsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp hot paprika
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 cups (375ml) boiling water
2 tbsp veg stock
1 400g tin tomatoes (1 1/2 cups worth)
1 500g carton passata (2 cups worth)
1 400g tin flageolet beans drained (265g 1 1/2 cups worth)
1 400g tin black eye beans drained (235g 1 1/2 cups worth)
pinch cayenne pepper
salt and pepper, to taste
PREHEAT YOUR OVEN TO 200 C / 392 F
1. Firstly, chop your aubergine into about 5mm – 1cm thick circles, then set aside. Now, finely chop your onion, and peppers. Drizzle a large pan/wok with some oil, place on a medium heat and add in the onion to fry for 3 or so minutes until golden. Then add in the red and orange peppers, garlic, basil, oregano, hot paprika, smoked paprika, cinnamon, cumin, tomato purée and coriander. Continue to fry for a few more minutes.
2. In the meantime, place your aubergine onto a baking tray. Generously drizzle with 1 tbsp oil, and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper. Then, add into the oven to cook for 7 minutes.
3. Continue to fry the onion and pepper mixture together, then add in the tin of tomatoes, passata, vegetable stock, boiled water, and the beans. Stir all together and add in a sprinkle of salt, pepper and cayenne to taste. Keep on the heat until the aubergine has finished cooking.
4. When the aubergine has cooked, remove from the oven and set aside. Remove the the bean casserole from the heat and pour into a large heat proof dish. Then, top with the aubergine slices. Place the casserole into the oven and cook for 30 minutes. When this is done, remove from the oven and serve with what else you like.