As much as I love having a crockpot bubbling away, every so often I feel that the most stress-free way to cook dinner is by leaving it to my reliable, right-hand man “the oven”. On days when I’m exhausted, I firmly believe that the light and easy casseroles are the way to go, especially on a cold and gloomy day. Enjoying the simplicity of the oven is what I do best on a frazzled day: you just bung everything in higgledy-piggledy and voilà.
Any casserole is versatile and can be reborn from its modest roots into a warm and filling dish for the modern cook. Casseroles are filling, flavoursome and there’s always plenty to go around. A cheesy meat-lovers casserole is always a delight, it can be light and satisfying, especially with a variety of squash. I love how easy this recipe is to do, it’s snappy and flavoursome but for me, it’s how the vegetables absorb the rustic taste of the smoked paprika, which tantalises your taste buds with every bite.
This dish is so simple, it’s white and green courgette, jumbled with potatoes and aromatised with smoked chorizo and goat’s cheese is a delectable combination. The casserole is kept light, there isn’t an overdose of cheese and no cream is needed, only a healthy dose of milk. The combination of ingredients keeps the dish tender and fresh tasting. It is a perfect dinner for anyone.
1 small white courgette, thinly sliced
1 small green courgette, thinly sliced
1 small sweet potato, peeled and thinly sliced
A handful of new potatoes, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
56g/ 2oz goat cheese, roughly chopped
56g/ 2oz chorizo, roughly chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon thinly sliced basil or thyme leaves (optional)
Preheat the oven to 200°C/ Gas mark 6/400°F.
Either using a mandoline or a chef’s knife slice the courgettes and potatoes into very thin slices. Once sliced, place the vegetables into a large bowl and toss the sliced vegetables with the 3 tablespoons olive oil.
In an ovenproof dish place half of the vegetables at the bottom of the dish, there is no need to layer them, just ensure the vegetables and evenly placed and season with salt and crushed black pepper. Next, scatter the goat’s cheese and chorizo. Finish by placing the final half of the vegetables on top, covering the chorizo and goat’s cheese and season with salt and pepper.
Pour the milk over the entire casserole and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese. Place the casserole dish in the oven and cover with foil to ensure the aroma of the chorizo and goat’s cheese infuse its flavour into the vegetables, bake for 30-40 minutes. Next, remove the foil and bake for a further 15 minutes, until the top browns. Garnish with herbs if using.