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Cold Weather Casseroles

Cold Weather Casseroles
As the temperature starts to drop and the autumn and winter months are upon us or fast approaching, our thoughts turn to comfort food. Hearty, warming, slow-cooked casseroles made with seasonal veg and cheap cuts of meat will fill your home with delicious aromas and bring everyone to the table. As great value meals that can be made in advance and are easy to prepare and cook, they’re ideal for both weekday dinners and when entertaining.

Irish stew

The long cooking time of this traditional Irish stew means that cheaper cuts of meat are ideal as any tough, chewy sinews will break down, rendering the meat meltingly tender. Thrown alongside root vegies and smoked streaky bacon, this is one meal that may be small when it comes to cost but is certainly big on flavour.

Serves 6


  • 1tbsp sunflower oil
  • 200g smoked streaky bacon, roughly chopped
  • 900g stewing lamb, cut into large chunks
  • 5 medium onions, sliced
  • 5 carrots, thickly sliced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Small bunch thyme
  • 100g pearl barley
  • 850ml lamb stock
  • 6 medium potatoes, scrubbed and cut into chunks
  • Small knob butter
  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced


  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C (gas mark 3).
  2. Heat the oil in an oven and cooktop-safe casserole dish over a medium flame and fry the bacon for 4 minutes, or until starting to crisp.
  3. Turn up the gas and cook the lamb for around 6 minutes, until browned all over, and then remove the lamb and bacon with a slotted spoon and keep to one side.
  4. Turn the heat back down to medium and add the onions, carrots, bay leaves and thyme to the casserole dish, allowing them to soften (this should take around 5 minutes).
  5. Tip the meat back into the casserole, stir in the pearl barley, add the stock and bring to a simmer.
  6. Add the potatoes to the top of the stew, cover the casserole dish and cook in the oven for 1.5 hours, until the potatoes are soft and the meat is tender.
  7. Remove from the oven, dot with butter and scatter with the spring onions.

Sausage and bean casserole

Based on a French classic, this hearty casserole will banish winter blues and fill hungry tummies.

Serves 4


  • 1tbsp vegetable oil
  • 8 pork sausages
  • 2 celery sticks, roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1tbsp tomato puree
  • 400g tinned plum tomatoes
  • 400g butter beans
  • 1/2 bunch thyme
  • 200ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 slices white bread, made into breadcrumbs


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (gas mark 6).
  2. On a cooktop, heat half the oil in a large oven and cooktop-safe casserole dish over a high heat and brown the sausages all over before removing them and setting to one side.
  3. Turn the heat down to medium, add the rest of the oil and all the vegetables to the dish and fry for 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in the tomato puree and tomatoes, breaking them up with a wooden spoon, bring to the boil and then simmer for 15 minutes. 
  5. Return the sausages to the dish with the beans and thyme, season with salt and pepper, pour in the stock and bring back to a simmer.
  6. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the casserole and then bake in the oven for 30 minutes until the breadcrumb topping is golden and the stew is bubbling.
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