Sausage & bean winter casserole

It’s supposed to be spring but it’s still absolutely freezing outside so I’m resorting to cooking casseroles to keep me warm. From a food waste perspective casseroles are an absolute dream; it’s a dish that you can produce by mixing the simplest ingredients together and turn into something tasty by throwing in a few store cupboard essentials such as stock cubes, tomato sauce or Worcester sauce.

The humble sausage is the main basis for this meal, a cheap and tasty ingredient that can be used to create a hearty protein filled evening meal. A lot of the other ingredients in this recipe were from my freezer, I needed to empty my freezer as I was moving house and this recipe enabled me to use up loads of fresh ingredients that I’d previously frozen. You can find tips on freezing fresh items here and I promise that I will do a follow up blog post soon with further tips.

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 x sausages cut into 2.5cm chunks
  • 400g pinto beans
  • 2 x sticks celery roughly chopped
  • 2 x carrots sliced
  • 1 x onion thinly sliced
  • 1 x parsnip diced
  • 8 x mushrooms cut into quarters
  • 16 x cherry tomatoes (optional)
  • 3 x cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 x red chilli finely sliced
  • 1 x tbsp olive oil
  • 1tbsp paprika
  • 400ml chicken stock
  • 100ml white wine
  • 1tbsp mixed herbs
  • 1 x bay leaf
  • Dash of Worcester sauce

METHOD

Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat.

Fry the sausages for approximately 4 minutes or until browned, remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the onion and celery to the pan and cook until the onions start to soften.

Add the crushed garlic and sliced red chilli and cook for 1 minute before adding the paprika, stir well so that all the ingredients are covered in the spice and cook for a further minute.

Add the white wine or a splash of stock to the pot and scrape the pan with a wooden spoon, turn up the heat and bring the casserole to the boil, continue to cook until the liquid has reduced by half.

Add all the remaining vegetables to the pan, bring back to the boil and cook for 3 minutes before returning the sausages to the pan.

If using, add the cherry tomatoes to the pan along with the stock, Worcester sauce and seasoning. Bring to the boil before reducing to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook for 40 minutes, adding more stock if needed.

Finally remove the lid, add the pinto beans and cook uncovered for 10 minutes, serve with crusty bread.

TIPS

If you prefer a thicker sauce add a tbsp of flour towards the end, or more if required.

Substitute the vegetables for any others that you need to use up.

Bean Sprout & Coriander ‘Kimchee’

So, this isn’t technically a Kimchee, but it’s where the foundations of this recipe came from. Bean sprouts are one of the items that supermarkets simply don’t sell in small portion sizes, they also perish very quickly and the lack of a desire to eat stir-fry 5 nights in a row, forced me to come up with some other options for the short-lived bean sprout.

I found this Recipe, on the excellent blog Beyond Kimchee, a blog dedicated to Korean food, and as this was my first foray into a Kimchee creation, what better place to start?

Now I didn’t have all the ingredients to follow this recipe, but below is an example of how recipes can be used as a base and adapted to cater for items you do have in stock:

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 x Shallots
  • 2 x Garlic Cloves
  • 2cm piece of ginger
  • Handful of coriander
  • 300g bean sprouts
  • 2 tsps chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • Squeeze lime

METHOD

Steam bean sprouts for 4 minutes

Toast sesame seeds in a dry frying pan for 2 mins, until they start to ‘pop’

Allow hot ingredients to cool

Chop all other ingredients and combine in a bowl

Once cool, add the bean sprouts and toasted sesame seeds

Eat immediately or allow to marinate and ferment in the fridge over night

TIPS

Some more specialized ingredients may be hard to find in supermarkets, it’s always worth searching online for cheaper, more readily available substitutes

Fish Sauce, sesame oil and vinegar (rice wine or white wine) are what I consider to be cupboard staples if you’re a fan of Asian cooking as they form the base of many Asian sauces and dressings

The bean sprout kimchee is a great accompaniment for many meat/fish dishes, particularly salmon for which I have a complimentary recipe for Sweet chilli salmon here.

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