Sausage

Week 60: Chorizo and Chickpea Stew

It was definitely the week for stew, I don’t think it stopped raining, and we wanted something hearty… We had Nigella out on the side and my lover picked this, and chickpeas are kind of hearty?

To make this for four you will need: 50g vermicelli, 500g bulgar wheat, teaspoon of cinnamon, sea salt, bay leaves, 350g chorizo, amontillado sherry, 100g soft dried apricots, 2 400g tins of chickpeas, 2 400g tins cherry tomatoes, pepper, and coriander (which I missed off)

If you use the full amount of bulgar wheat you’ll be able to feed an army, I used half the amount just for me and him and there was enough left over to feed four more.

This is really quick to make, which is most unlike a stew.  Start by warming 2 tablespoons of oil in the bottom of a thick bottomed pan, when it’s warmed to about medium throw in the pasta and fry until they look like little bits of slightly scorched straw.

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Add the bulgar wheat and stir for two minutes then add the cinnamon, 2tsp of salt, a litre of water and two bay leaves. Bring to the boil then turn it down to the lowest heat and leave (lidded) to absorb for about 15 minutes.

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Cut the chorizo into coins and then cut them in half.  Heat a second heavy bottom pan and fry the chorizo until the orange juice runs out. Add 4 tablespoons of the sherry and let it bubble for a minute or two.  Wash the chickpeas and cut up the apricots and throw them in with the canned tomatoes, half fill each tomato tin with water, swill it round then pour it in to the pan. Turn the heat up high and bubble for 5 minutes.  I completely forgot about the water, but i don’t think it affected it much.

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By now the bulgar wheat should be done, so turn the gas off and give it a fork around to loosen it up, then serve with the stew and an artistic sprinkling of corriander.

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I’m not entirely sure what was wrong with it, but it just didn’t quite work in my mouth. I don’t like baked beans (never have, I know weird right?) and the tomatoes and chickpeas tasted a bit baked-bean-y for me. Also, it was a bit sweet for my sour tooth (I think next time I’d leave out the apricots) and I had to slum it with posh chorizo from Waitrose and they went really rubbery, and I’ve decided that I don’t like cinnamon in bulgar wheat… So it wasn’t the most successful meal I’ve ever made… But I’m sure you’ll love it!

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I thought I’d pop it in for this weeks Fiesta Friday – just because I didn’t like it doesn’t mean it’s not great for a cosy winter ‘do’. Chin chin!

 

Kitchen, by Nigella Lawson (Chatto & Windus 2010, ISBN 9780701184605)

Nigella Kitchen

Week 23a: Sausage Casserole

On Saturday the TV cook Clarissa Dixon Wright died, along with Jenifer Paterson she sparked my interest in cooking more than just cake – it just took me sixteen years to do anything about it!

I used to be a stew monster.  But since moving to London, and starting the New Recipe Night project I’ve not made one – all the books seem to list hundreds of ingredients for a stew, and I’ve banned myself from the Coleman’s Packs.  Then today when I heard about Clarissa on the radio, I reached for my copy of Clarissa’s Comfort Food and found this really simple sausage casserole recipe to make in her honour.

The recipe says it serves four, but I think you could easily halve the ingredients and there’d still be enough for four.  You’ll need 900g of sausages (approx 16 Richmond style bangers, less if you get big ones from the butchers) four onions, oil (although if the sausages are oily you won’t need it), 1 garlic clove, a tin of tomatoes and a bottle of beer/half a bottle of red wine.

For this recipe you need a flameproof casserole dish, or big lidded oven-pan that can go on the hob and in the oven.  Start off by browning the sausages and putting them aside.

This is pretty much my comfort eating fantasy.  The recipe says you should put oil in the pan and then fry the onions, but I just used the oil from the sausages.

When they’ve changed colour slightly, add the garlic and a few minutes later add the sausages

Season with salt and pepper, and then throw in the tomatoes and beer/wine and lob it in the oven at gas mark 4/180c/350f for an hour.

I didn’t take it out to stir or anything, and it came just like this.  To go with it I made mustard-y mashed potatoes, and did some beans.

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I guess with bigger sausages and hungrier diners it would be fine for four, but we’ve got two more portions going into the freezer, and with more mash we could easily have served eight.

I’m not sure where you’d find a copy of this book, maybe in the charity shops, or on Amazon, but it’s a good book with lots of comforting food, so track down a copy if you can.

Clarissa DW

Clarissa’s Comfort Food, by Clarissa Dixon Wright (Kyle Cathie Limited, 2008. ISBN: 978 1 85626 713 7)

Week 6: Toad in the Hole

I would just like to say that before I made Toad in the Hole for the sixth New Recipe Night, I had never eaten it before and didn’t know what it should look like.  Like most Beano reading children of the 80s, I had heard of it – I had just assumed it was made with actual toad.

The idea for making it wasn’t mine – my Lover decided he wanted something more traditional after choking back the gorgonzola pasta in week five.  I had to dig deep into my stock of cookery books to find a recipe for Toad in the Hole – and I found one in Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall’s “Good Granny Cookbook”

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I’ve moved house with this book so many times, and I couldn’t remember for the life of me when or where I’d bought it… it just seems to be a book that appeared from nowhere.  Like the title suggests, it’s a book of traditional meals that every schoolboy (now in his 60s) grew up eating in pre-spaghetti Britain.  Many of the meals even I had not eaten since primary school!

Now I’ve christened the book I think I should make a few more.

The first thing I learned about Toad in the Hole is that it does not contain toads.  I’d imagine the die hard foodie could source sausages made from toads, but I just got good quality pork ones from the butchers.  I halved the recipe and just followed the instructions as written.

To make for 4 you will need: 8 sausages, 2 tablespoons of oil (sunflower/vegetable oil) 125g plain flour, 3 whole eggs and 1 egg white, 300ml milk, and salt and pepper.

Like with pancakes you need to make the batter mix about half an hour before you need it.  Put the flour, eggs and milk into a bowl and whisk – get lots of bubbles into it, then season and whisk a bit more.

Turn the oven on to 220c (200 fan) and put the oil into a baking tin – obviously not a loose bottomed one – I use one of those enameled tins that I butter up the sides.  Put the tin of oil on a tray and put it into the oven – and make sure your oven shelves are set so there is space for the Toad in the Hole to rise.

The only criticism I have is that one of the key instructions is a little vague.  It says “Add the sausages and cook for a few minutes or more until the fat runs and they are lightly browned.” I’m not a good enough cook to realise that this means to make sure the sausages are pretty well cooked – which in my case was about 20 minutes.

To speed things up I start the sausages up in a frying pan and then put them in the oil in the oven for about 10 minutes until the sausage juice starts to run.  Then pour the batter in and put back in the oven for 20 minutes.

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Serve before it deflates!

My first ever Toad in the Hole came out surprisingly well.  I made it a second time with Merguez Sausages – but it was much nicer with traditional British Butcher’s Bangers.

I will make it again, but before I do I want to get a non stick pan – because while my pie tin is about the right size for two portions; it’s such a fight to get the hole off that it sinks by the time it reaches the plate.

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Served with a blob of Sainsbury’s ketchup.  Yum!

Good Granny Cookbook by Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall (Short Books 2007 ISBN 978 1 906021 10 8)