There are some recipes that promise so much from the outset. Their list of ingredients is as envious as the impressive cast of stars in a Hollywood blockbuster. You know the kind of recipes that I mean ... the ones, for example, that contain two and a half bars of best 70% chocolate with ... well, anything really. You'd have to try SO hard to turn that into a dud.
But not all recipes have a Hollywood cast of ingredients ... sometimes the unexpected, low-budget movie can be a winner too.
Enter 'Holiday Hotpot' - stage left.
Read the ingredients first and this is not a dish that promises the world ... minced beef, onions, carrots, potatoes, stock cubes, water - it's not grabbing me so far. But there are also a couple of other ingredients lurking in the sidelines ... These are the ones that make the difference and turn this hotpot from a school dinner disaster into a delicious, tasty, family supper - Worcestershire sauce and baked beans (yes, really!). I'd also not underestimate the value of that sprinkling of parsley at the last moment - it's the va-va-voom to lift you to a new culinary place.
But it's true to say that a leap of faith is required here for sure. You need to go with me on this one. Have a try - you won't regret it, I promise.
The recipe is adapted from the BBC Good Food magazine. I first made it years ago while on holiday in Bosherston, Pembrokshire and it has become a popular choice ever since. It is something of a rustic soup, with chunky vegetables, beans and a meaty stock. It is best served in a bowl and bread for dunking is essential. This is comforting, simple dining at its best.
And in case you're still not sure - here are 10 reasons why I think Holiday Hotpot will quickly become a favourite in your family meal repertoire
- It's very cheap.
- It's quick and easy - the only browning required is the mince.
- It's a one-pot dinner.
- It scales up beautifully so you can double up and have that smug feeling of knowing that dinner is ready for tomorrow too.
- Overnight the liquid will thicken and develop from a 'broth' on Day 1 to a 'gravy' on Day 2 - two different meals in one.
- And if you want to make even more of a difference to Holiday Hotpot Day 2 - throw in a few frozen peas and soya beans at the end of the reheating ... the pop of colour is beautiful too.
- It's great in a soup flask for school lunch the next day - cut the potatoes up a little to make it slightly easier to manage.
- It freezes like a dream.
- It cuts across all the generations - squash down the potatoes with a fork for toddlers; serve it with some soft, nutty bread for carb hungry teenagers and for the grandparents, finish it off with a cup of tea!
- It really is 'gorgeous food - no fuss' ...
And if you fancy reading about what happened when two teenagers tackled making Holiday Hotpot for the family, you can read about it here.Print