It’s definitely the time of year for comfort foods! It’s dark early in the evening, the wind has a chill and the rain…..well, I really hope those empty reservoirs are feeling full now!
And with many people turning the heating down due to high fuel bills, warming comfort is even more needed. So this super tasty hotpot really hits the spot. Why? Well, it’s:
- cheap (see below)
- full of healthy fibre, protein and other nutrients
- hits the comfort food spot full on
- really filling (great if you are feeding extra-hungry tummies)
- can be batched baked so you can have a dish waiting to be used on those super hectic days
In the UK, hotpot (Lancashire hotpot that is) is traditionally made with the scrag ends of mutton or lamb as a cheap but filling family meal. And some would still say that’s what hotpot is. However, if you check out the internet, there are numerous ways of making hotpot. This lentil and vegetable one is my favourite, although I’ve also created a rich mushroom one which is delicious although more expensive. I’ll save sharing that recipe for another day!
You can use whatever veg you like in this recipe, especially if you have bits and bobs hanging around the bottom of the fridge that need using up. I’ve gone for simple carrot, courgette and peas, with the stem of the broccoli we had on the side added in as well.
Cost wise, this filling mains dish is cheap, particularly if you use uncooked green lentils. In total it comes to £2.11 (based on todays Tesco prices). However, uncooked green lentils do take longer to cook, which means it uses more energy and takes more time. So if you prefer to use a tin of cooked lentils, it pushes the price up to £2.54, which is still pretty good. Certainly cheaper than anything with meat in, scrag ends or not!
Soaking the lentils in advance will help reduce the cooking time. Two hours is a good guideline, but if you’re out all day, popping them into soak before you leave in the morning will mean much less cooking time later in the day. Soaking also helps to reduce windy after effects and can make the nutrients more absorbable, so it’s really worth remembering if you can (and more pleasant for everyone in the house too 😉 )
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do. Do let me know if you give it a go – enjoy the food hug!
Lentil and vegetable hotpot
- Medium-sized pan suitable for stove top and oven eg: le creuset pan or stainless steel pan with no handle
- 100 grams green lentils or 400g tin, drained
- 2 large potatoes
- 1 medium red onion
- 2 medium carrots
- 1 medium courgette
- 1 clove of garlic
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 500 ml vegetable stock if using uncooked lentils OR
- 150 ml vegetable stock if using tinned lentils
- 1 tbsp tamari
- 1 tbsp dried mixed herbs
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 150 grams peas frozen is fine
- salt and pepper to tasty
- Tip the dried green lentils into a bowl and cover with water. Leave to soak for at least 2 hours if possible.
- Peel the potatoes and cut into medium slices. Pop into a pan of boiling water, reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until cooked but not mushy. Turn off the heat, drain and leave to cool a little in the pan until you're ready to use them.
- Whilst the potatoes are cooking, prepare the other vegetables. Peel and finely chop the onion. Peel the carrots and chop into bite-sized chunks. Wipe the courgette and dice. Peel and finely chop the garlic.
- Heat a couple of tablespoons of water in the base of an oven-proof saucepan (see note above). Add the onion and carrot and sauté on a medium heat for 5 minutes, adding more water if needed to stop them sticking.
- Add the courgette to the pan and cook for another 2 minutes before popping in the garlic. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring from time to time.
- IF USING UNCOOKED LENTILS: Drain the soaked green lentils and add them to the pan along with the tamari, mixed herbs and paprika. Stir well and cook for another minute or so. Mix the tomato puree with 400mls of the vegetable stock. Pour it into the pan, stirring well to mix everything together. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until the lentils are cooked.
- IF USING TINNED LENTILS: Add the tamari, mixed herbs and paprika to the pan. Stir well. Mix the tomato puree with 150ml of vegetable stock. Pour it into the pan, stirring to make sure everything is combined. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the vegetables are cooked. Rinse and drain the tinned lentils and add to the pan. Simmer for another 2 minutes.
- If the mix is a little thick once the lentils are cooked, add more vegetable stock to the pan so there's a good sauce, but not runny.
- Add the peas to the pan and cook for a couple of minutes. These get a late entry otherwise they get overcooked and loose their bright green vibrancy.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste (although go easy on the salt as the tamari can be quite powerful)
- Turn off the heat. Pre-heat the grill to high.
- Layer the cooked slices of potato over the top of the pan, overlapping if needed to make sure it's all used. Place under the grill for 5 minutes or so until the top is lightly browned.
- Serve straight away with some greens on the side.