My Dad is a great hearty food cook, he also makes seriously nice bread. One gloomy afternoon a few weeks ago I sat down at his kitchen table, a sleep deprived Mummy, soggy from the rain and really hungry (fed the kids and forgot to eat myself in the hustle to get on the road before rush hour). He put a steaming plate of this double decker dinner in front of me and took the Junior Gingerbreads off to play. All was well in my world for ten precious minutes of tranquility, eating, listening to the rain drum on the window next to me. Pause. Recharge. Bliss. I love my Dad.
I'm not quite sure how to catagorise this - part casserole, part stew, somewhere along the line of a chili con carne type texture. Who needs labels anyway, certainly not my Dad. This is deliciously different, packing the perfect amount of heat whilst delivering some real depth of flavour. Like any aspiring cook (after I had scoffed the lot) I promptly re-entered the fray and quizzed him for the recipe.
1 large butternut squash
1 large sweet potato
1 packet of lean minced beef
1 tin of baked beans (low sugar and salt variety)
1 tin of chopped plum tomatoes
1 tablespoon of tomato puree
Garlic to taste
1 packet of chili con carne mix (or your own chili mix)
Peas (both peas and broccoli can be swapped for any 'firm' vegetable, there is no measurement here, as much as is your personal preference)
1 Onion, chopped
Knob of butter
Small amount of grated cheese
Peel and chop the butternut squash and sweet potato. Cook in boiling water and when soft drain and mash with a little butter and season to taste. Set to one side.
Whilst the root vegetables are cooking, in a stir fry pan, fry the onion in a glug of olive oil until soft, then add the mince cooking until brown. Add the garlic and chili mix leaving to simmer.
Cook the vegetables, I usually steam them. Add chopped tomatoes, baked beans, drained vegetables and tomato puree. You may want to add some water. Let simmer together so the flavours can infuse.
Transfer to an ovenproof dish. Spoon the gloriously orange mash onto the top making an even layer. Sprinkle a little cheese on to the top and pop under the grill until golden.
Serve in the dish, and let everyone dig in and help themselves.