Winter vegetable casserole

2 onions, each cut into 6 wedges
3 carrots, cut into chunks
all or any of: celery, parsnips, celeriac, squash, sweet potatoes, swede
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 leeks, about 300 g (10½ oz) in total, thickly sliced
1 litre (1¾ pints) hot vegetable stock, preferably home-made

150 g (5½ oz) pearl barley

2 tsp dried sage
salt and pepper
3 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or coriander to garnish

Preheat the oven to 180ºC. (The casserole can be simmered gently on the hob for 45–50 minutes, instead of cooking in the oven. Stir occasionally.)
Put the onions, carrots, celeriac, parsnips, celery and squash, sweet potato or swede in a large flameproof casserole. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil.
Add the garlic, leeks, pearl barley, sage and seasoning. Stir to mix the vegetables together. Cover and transfer to the oven to cook for about 1 hour or until the vegetables are just soft, and the barley is tender.
Sprinkle with the parsley and serve. Thick slices of farmhouse bread are an excellent accompaniment.

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