The Ultimate Adaptable Casserole

Well, today is the day my book – Low Tox Life FOOD comes out and I’m so excited to think that it’s just days before people’s online pre-orders arrive in your hot little hands and we can share conversations about what you find inside as you read and cook your way through. You can grab a copy here for Australia, or from here for global peeps.

I thought I’d share perhaps the most boringly simple YET the most powerful recipe in the whole book, because when you nail the flexible thinking of a ‘choose your own adventure’ casserole, you can make something out of nothing; you can always have a low maintenance, 10 minute prep, 2 hours cooking itself, type dinner on the table. Use your smarts with this. If the liquid is running dry top it up with more stock or water. If it’s too liquidy at the end and you want to thicken it up a little, the magic of a tablespoon of arrowroot or tapioca powder stirred through for a couple of minutes turns it all into an unctuous, silky deliciousness.

Learn to master a casserole and dinner will never be stressful again – perfect for the time/budget challenges too, so everyone can muck in, no matter what. I genuinely believe no one should turn 18 or leave home without mastering this and getting comfy getting flexible with it depending on what you have at hand and what’s seasonally available. Casseroles should be mandatory learning and I will continue to advocate for them forever. hehe. Yep. Big fan.

Hope you love it and the book,

 

 

 

 

 

The Ultimate Adaptable Casserole

Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Servings: 6 people

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion roughly diced
  • 300 g base vegetables (e.g. onion, carrot, zucchini/courgettes, celery), cut into chunks
  • 1 kg diced protein food (e.g. pasture-fed beef chuck steak, lamb shoulder, pork shoulder, cooked beans or chickpeas)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp tapioca flour
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 cup tomato passata (pureed tomatoes)
  • 2 cups organic stock (e.g. chicken, vegetable, beef, fish)
  • 4 cups loosely packed chopped dark leafy greens
  • 1 large handful freshly chopped parsley or coriander (cilantro)
  • black pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 160 °C (315 °F)
  • Heat the olive oil in a large flameproof casserole dish over medium heat.
  • Saute the onion and base vegetables, leaving the lid on to sweat them for 2-3 minutes, untl tender.
  • Add the protein food. If using meat, cook for 2-3 minutes, until lightly browned.
  • Sprinkle with the sale and tapioca flour and add the garlic. Cook for a minute until the protein food is coated and the garlic is fragrant.
  • Add the tomato passata, stock, leafy greens, and half the herbs (along with any flavor accents from the notes).
  • Bring to a boil, then pop the lid on and transfer to the oven for 2-3 hours, until the meat is tender; or for bean or chickpeas for 1 hour.
  • When ready to serve, adjust the seasoning and top with the remaining herbs.

Notes

There can be any number of reasons a casserole made to a recipe in someone else's home ends up a bit different so if you're thinking "gee it doesn't look like there's enough liquid' then add a cup of stock or splash of water with a pinch of salt. No big dramas. If you feel it's not spicy enough for you with my guidelines below, add more. No dramas. I think the sooner we just go with our instincts and do what feels right, the sooner we grow our cooking confidence. Enjoy these ideas also to jazz things up and take your casserole into different flavour directions. 
Options to jazz it up:
  • Australian bush: Add 1/2 teaspoon each of ground coriander, akudjura (bush tomato), wattleseed, and mountain pepper leaf.
  • Moroccan: Add 2 teaspoons grated fresh or ground ginger, 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander, and 10 halved dried apricots.
  • Local: Add 1/2 tablespoons dried herb mix local and/or native in your area.
  • Creamy: Stir through 1 cup (250 ml) organic thin (pouring) cream at the end of cooking.
  • Hearty: Add 2 cups diced starchy vegetables and 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) extra stock.
  • English stew: Add 1/4-1/2 cup (60-90 g) Dijon mustard.
  • Freshness: Add the juice of 1 lemon or lime at the end.
  • Greek: Add 2 rosemary sprigs and 1 teaspoon dried oregano.
  • French: Add 1 tablespoon dried Herbes de Provence mix and 1/3 cup (80 ml) red wine with the passata.
  • Mexican: Add 2/3 cup (100 g) chopped red capsicum (pepper) strips and 2 tablespoons taco seasoning.
  • Indian: Add 2 tablespoons of curry powder with the salt, then use half the passata with 1/2 cup (125 ml) coconut cream.

Comments 2

  1. Good morning, yet to try your casserole but will certainly do so in the near future so won’t leave a star rating. Can’t wait to receive your book in the mail, got the email yesterday saying it was on its way I really enjoyed your last book and have done some of your courses, I try to keep the food waste to a minimum by paying attention to what truly gets used each week in our home, occasional new recipes are tried but I do find that I lean on a few favourites pretty heavily so shop accordingly.
    Love your work, hope your health is on the mend and stays that way

    1. Hi Megan, it sounds as though you have made some really mindful changes, good for you. Let me know what you think of the casserole x

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