Sweet and sour mixed bean hotpot

As much as I love cheese, after last week’s cheese-covered meals, I go through my cookbooks looking for an appetising cheese-less recipe and I pick up The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook that I haven’t used for years and I see this recipe and think ok, that looks healthy, it’s got beans in it and it even tells you not to peel the potatoes which appeals to a lazy slob like me and so I give it a go and here it is without its potato hat

Hotpot waiting for its potato hat
Hotpot waiting for its potato hat

and here it is covered in potato, not cheese

Covering food in potato - not cheese - for a change
Covering food in potato - not cheese - for a change

and after it’d been cooked and plated

Ready to eat
Ready to eat

and it was delicious and easily veganised by swapping butter for vegan margarine.

Sweet and sour mixed bean hot-pot (serves 6)
450 g/1 lb unpeeled potatoes
15 ml/1 tbsp olive oil
40 g/1½ oz / 3 tbsp butter
40 g/1½ oz plain wholemeal flour
300 ml/½ pint passata
150 ml/¼ pink unsweetened apple juice
60 ml/4 tbsp each light soft brown sugar, tomato ketchup, dry sherry, cider vinegar and light soy sauce
400 g/14 oz can butter beans
400 g/14 oz can flageolet beans
400 g/14 oz can chick peas
175 g/6 oz green beans, chopped and blanched
225 g/8 oz shallots, sliced and blanched
225 g/8 oz mushrooms, sliced
15 ml/1 tbsp each chopped fresh thyme and marjoram
salt and freshly ground black pepper
sprigs of fresh herbs, to garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.  Thinly slice the potatoes and par-boil them for 4 minutes.  Drain the potatoes thoroughly, toss them in the oil so they are lightly coated all over and set aside.
  2. Place the butter, flour, passata, apple juice, sugar, tomato ketchup, sherry, vinegar and soy sauce in a saucepan.  Heat gently, whisking continuously, until the sauce comes to the boil and thickens.  Simmer gently for 3 minutes, stirring.
  3. Rinse and drain the beans and chickpeas and add to the sauce with all the remaining ingredients, except the herb garnish.  Mix well.
  4. Spoon the bean mixture into a casserole.
  5. Arrange the potato slices over the top, overlapping them slightly and completely covering the bean mixture.
  6. Cover the casserole with foil and bake for about 1 hour, until the potaotes are cooked and tender.  Remove the foil for the last 20 minutes of the cooking time, to lighly brown the potatoes.  Serve garnished with fresh herb sprigs.
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