Braised roots with Hunza apricots

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1hr20min


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About this recipe: Orange juice and caramel-tasting Hunza apricots enhance a comforting mix of traditional root vegetables. This can be served as a light main course, or a side dish for 4, providing warming nourishment on cold winter days.

Norma MacMillan

Ingredients
Serves: 2 

  • 100 g (3½ oz) dried Hunza apricots
  • 100 g (3½ oz) shallots
  • 100 g (3½ oz) carrots
  • 100 g (3½ oz) swede
  • 100 g (3½ oz) turnips
  • 100 g (3½ oz) celeriac
  • 100 g (3½ oz) parsnips
  • 100 g (3½ oz) sweet potato
  • 100 g (3½ oz) mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 200 ml (7 fl oz) vegetable stock
  • 200 ml (7 fl oz) orange juice
  • black pepper
  • fresh flat-leaf parsley to garnish

Method
Prep:20min  ›  Cook:1hr  ›  Ready in:1hr20min 

  1. Rinse the Hunza apricots to remove any grit, then place them in a bowl and cover generously with cold water. Leave them to soak for about 8 hours or overnight until rehydrated.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F, gas mark 4). Pull apart the shallots, allowing them to fall into their natural segments. If the shallots are large and not segmented, halve them lengthways. Cut the carrots, swede and turnips into 5 cm (2 in) chunks. Cut the celeriac, parsnips and sweet potato into 6 cm (2 1/2 in) chunks. Quarter or halve the mushrooms, depending on size.
  3. Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole and add all of the vegetables, stirring to coat them lightly with the oil. Cook over a high heat, stirring frequently, for 5–10 minutes or until the vegetables are browned.
  4. Meanwhile, drain the apricots thoroughly. Using your fingers, tear each apricot open to remove the stone and divide the flesh into quarters.
  5. Pour the vegetable stock and orange juice into the casserole and bring to the boil. Add the apricots and season with pepper. Transfer the casserole to the oven and bake for 45–60 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the liquid has reduced to a reasonably thick sauce. Garnish with parsley and serve, with crusty bread.

Some more ideas

To make a spicier vegetarian main course dish, add 2 tsp ground cumin and 1 tsp garam masala to the oil before adding the vegetables. Add a drained can of chickpeas, about 425 g, to the casserole before adding the stock. The chickpeas will add protein. * Onions, cut into wedges, can be used in place of the shallots and canned chopped tomatoes can be used instead of the orange juice. If desired, beef or chicken stock can be used instead of vegetable stock. * Dried apricots can be used instead of Hunza apricots, but will give a sweeter flavour.

Plus points

Root vegetables are generally good sources of fibre. Carrots also provide vitamin A as beta-carotene, which is essential for night vision and an important antioxidant. * People in Hunza, a region in northern Kashmir, are famous for their long lives – and some have put this down to eating apricots. Whether true or not, dried apricots are a good source of fibre and iron and a useful source of vitamin A.

Each serving provides

A, B1, C, potassium * B6, folate, niacin, calcium, copper, iron * B2

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