Hearty family casseroles to warm them up

Most of us were brought up on the humble casserole - the one pot dish that often fed the family for days.
The popularity of slow cooking has kept this warming comfort food on the menu for many a home cook.
Here's some tasty easy casseroles that the family are sure to love!

Spanish Chicken Casserole

1.5 kg chicken pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 chorizo, thinly sliced
1 large red capsicum, halved, deseeded, cut into 2cm pieces
1 red onion, coarsely chopped
½ cup dry sherry
2 x 400g cans diced tomatoes
¾ cup chicken stock
2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
Saffron rice, to serve
Fresh oregano leaves, to serve

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole dish or large frying pan over medium heat. Add half the chicken and cook for 4 minutes each side or until golden. Transfer to a large plate. Repeat with remaining chicken, reheating the dish between batches.

Add the chorizo, capsicum and onion to the dish. Cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes or until chorizo is golden. Add the sherry and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until reduced by half.

Transfer the chorizo mixture to a casserole dish, if necessary. Add the chicken, tomato, stock and dried oregano. Cover and bake in oven for 1 hour or until the chicken is tender.

Divide the rice among serving dishes and top with the chicken mixture. Sprinkle with fresh oregano to serve.

Beef & Red Wine Casserole

1 kg diced round steak
¼ cup seasoned flour
¼ cup oil
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, trimmed, chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 L beef stock
400 g can diced tomatoes
½ cup red wine
4 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves

Preheat oven to moderate, 180°C. Toss meat in seasoned flour, shaking off excess.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large flameproof casserole dish on high. Brown meat in 3 batches for 3-4 minutes. Transfer meat to plate.

Heat remaining oil in same casserole dish on medium. Saute carrot, celery, onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes, until the onion is tender.

Return meat to casserole. Stir in stock, tomatoes and wine. Add thyme and bay leaves and season to taste. Bring to boil, stirring.

Transfer casserole to the oven and cook, covered, for 1 hour, then uncover and cook a further 30 minutes, until meat is very tender.

Lamb Casserole

1kg lamb neck rosettes
2 cloves of garlic, crushed to a paste
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs of thyme
4 carrots, cut into chunks
100g fresh or frozen peas
100g green beans, shopped
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 160°C.

 Brown the meat, garlic and onion with the olive oil in a large flameproof casserole (cocotte). Add the bay leaf, thyme and carrots, and enough water to cover the meat by at least a couple of centimetres. Bring to a simmer and remove any scum that rises to the top. Once all the scum is removed, cover the pan and transfer to the oven. Cook for 1½ - 2 hours or until the meat is tender.

Ten minutes before serving, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the peas and beans. Cook for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender, then drain.

Take the casserole out of the oven and remove the bay leaf and sprigs of thyme. Add the peas and beans to the lamb with salt and pepper to taste, and serve straight away.

Knights Meats