There's no surprise that I love casseroles so much. They are easy to make and comforting. You can layer them, play with ingredients and invent something great and hearty. Not to mention you can make them for the holidays or for the whole family, especially if you have a larger gathering.
Everyone loves a good bake and let me tell you all about this jackfruit casserole. Once you learn how to really cook jackfruit, you won't ever imagine missing meat. Jackfruit has an incredible consistency and its texture can really resemble bits of slow-cooked meat. Plus, with the flavours we'll be adding to this particular bake, nobody will ever complain this is vegan.
In fact, everyone will be coming back for more!
How to prepare jackfruit
To cook jackfruit and reach that desired meat-like texture, you'll need to drain it from the can and place it in a cheesecloth. Then, you will need to squeeze the water out of it. And then squeeze and squeeze some more, until you get it as dry as you can. The squeezing process make also helps with that particular texture everyone loves so much.
Once this is done, you can cook the jackfruit the way you desire: casseroles, sandwiches, salads.
To make this jackfruit casserole, we're going to mix the jackfruit with delicious veggies, herbs, red wine and a bit of coffee.
How to make jackfruit casserole
I make this delicious bake by cooking the potatoes and my jackfruit separately. I first bring a pot of water to boil and add my potatoes to it. I let it boil for about 20 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
In the meantime, I preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Here's when the fun starts. As previously mentioned, it's super important that you drain and squeeze your jackfruit.
I then heat up a little oil in a pan, add onion, garlic and carrot and fry for 3-4 minutes stirring occasionally. I then add the tomato paste and shiitake mushrooms.
The shiitake mushrooms will add to the flavour of the dish and make it more intense and rich. I add thyme and rosemary and fry for another 3 minutes, also stirring occasionally.
I then add the red wine, espresso, salt and pepper. For the wine, I use a red Italian (a Primitivo grape). This brings depth to the dish. It's incredible. For the espresso, I just use my Nespresso machine and run a long shot. The coffee makes the whole dish much richer and actually bring some bitterness to it which I welcomed as it reminded me of a slow-cooked beef. Similar to my vegan Irish stew.
Right, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, uncovered. Make sure you stir occasionally. Just about now you should have your potatoes ready as well. So drain them, add some vegan butter, salt and pepper to them and mash them until they reach the consistency you love.
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To assemble the casserole just put the jackfruit mixture in a baking dish. I used a transparent baking dish. Then, top it up with a layer of potatoes. Using a fork, distribute the mashed potato over the jackfruit to create a nice, even layer.
Bake in the centre of the oven for 25 minutes until the mashed potato become visible crisp and golden.
Serve with a kale salad on the side and enjoy. You can store any leftover in an air tight container or directly in the casserole dish (just cover it with some aluminium foil before putting it in the fridge).
This recipe has been inspired and adapted from Avantgarde Vegan.