We spent Anzac Day quietly, at home. We'd stocked up on ingredients to make Messy Vegetarian Cook's Lancashire hotpot and it was lucky that I reviewed the recipe in the morning - it spends nearly three hours in the oven!
Watch the whole charming episode, or skip to 18:55 for the line
Lancashire hotpot traditionally spends all day on low heat, with lamb and vegetables slowly cooking in stock under a layer of sliced potatoes. I really only know it from a throwaway-yet-character-defining line in Wallace and Gromit. Messy Vegetarian's version of the hotpot replaces lamb with tempeh, and smothers it in a gravy flavoured with yeast extract (i.e. Vegemite) and red wine.
Vegetables don't usually need quite so long to cook down to tenderness as meat, and in fact our hotpot ended up a little overdone. (This was probably our fault for increasing the tempeh quantity and leaving the liquids unaltered.) It was still enormously satisfying, with the gravy's flavours permeating the tempeh and the potato roasted golden-brown.
(adapted slightly from Messy Vegetarian Cook)
500mL vegetable stock
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon tamari
2 teaspoons Vegemite
1 teaspoon dried thyme
100mL red wine
300g tempeh, cut into 1cm cubes
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 cup onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups carrot, sliced into coins
1 tablespoon flour (try cornflour for a gluten-free version)
5 small potatoes, peeled and sliced ~3mm thick
salt and pepper
In a medium bowl, stir together 300mL of the stock, the Vegemite, Worcestershire sauce, tamari and thyme. Set it aside for later.
Pour the remaining 200mL stock into a large frypan and add the wine. Drop in the tempeh, bay leaf and dried coriander. Set the frypan on medium-high heat and simmer the tempeh for 10-12 minutes, shuffling the tempeh pieces around occasionally for even cooking. Transfer the tempeh pieces to a dish and pour any remaining liquid into a large baking dish. Discard the bay leaf.
Without bothering to clean it out, pour the tablespoon of oil into the frypan. Plonk the tempeh pieces back in, still on medium-high heat, and saute them for 5-7 minutes. The aim is to get them nicely browned on the outside, you should notice it even through that red wine soaking that they've had. Tip the tempeh into the baking dish and spread it out across the base.
This is a good time to preheat the oven to 140°C.
Get that frypan back on the stove and add the last teaspoon of oil. Use it to fry the onion and carrot for 5-7 minutes, until the onion is translucent and the carrots have begun to soften. Sprinkle over the flour and stir it through the vegetables. Pour in the stock-Vegemite mixture and stir it through for several minutes, until the gravy begins to thicken. Season to taste.
Pour the vegetables and gravy over the tempeh in the baking dish and even it out. Layer the potato slices over the top in overlapping tiles and brush or spray them with oil. Cover the dish and bake it in the oven for up to 2 hours (I might just go for 1 1/2 next time). At this point, crank the oven up to 200°C and remove the dish's covering. Bake it for up to 40 minutes more, until the potatoes are browned and crispy (I'd keep a more regular eye on this next time).