As I didn’t get to finish my main course from Latteria Mozzarella Bar, I thought I would make something from the leftovers/doggy bag the following night. I had bought some lovely puy lentils which my supermarket just started stocking, and adding them to a casserole with my sausages made perfect sense.
I also had leeks and swiss brown mushrooms in my fridge, so in to the casserole they also went, to make a good earthy, warming meal.
You can just as easily use fresh sausages for this dish, but I would then add a garlic to the casserole (see recipe below).
Ingredients for 2 servings
- 4 good quality pork sausages
- 1 glass dry white wine
- 4 cloves garlic (optional, see note above)
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 1 cup swiss brown mushrooms, halved
- 2 large leeks, rinsed and sliced
- 1 cup puy lentils, rinsed
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 2-3 sage leaves, chopped if fresh, or 1 tsp dried sage
- 1-2 bay leaves
- In a heavy-based saucepan, heat some oil and brown the sausages – they don’t need to be cooked through at this point if you’re using fresh sausages. Remove from pan and set aside. When cool enough to handle, cut into 1” slices
- Deglaze the pan with the white wine, pour into a jug, set aside
- Heat more oil in the pan and gently sweat the onions until translucent
- Add garlic next if you are using them
- Add leeks and mushrooms and fry until soft
- Add the sausages and white wine
- Add lentils and sage and bay leaves and enough stock to cover all ingredients and bring to a boil
- Lower heat and gently simmer for 1 1/2 hours till lentils are cooked through
- Serve with crusty bread
I had sausages. I had beans. What to make for dinner ? Why, a sausage and bean casserole of course ! Add in bacon and leeks and I had a casserole that’s pretty quick and easy to make and a delicious way to end a Monday. (I do wish that I lived in a country with seasons. The subtle heat of the cayenne pepper and the comforting casserole would make it a perfect winter warmer)
Ingredients (makes a big pot that would serve 4-6)
- 6 good quality sausages
- 2 large leeks
- 5 rashers bacon, chopped
- 1 tin mixed beans (you could easily accommodate another tin if you like beans) rinsed until the water goes clear
- 1 glass of wine
- 1 cup chicken stock
- pinch cayenne pepper
- handful fresh parsley if you can get it, chopped
- In a large casserole dish, brown the sausages, take out, slice into pieces and set aside
- Fry the bacon pieces until nice and crispy. Take out and set aside
- Reduce the heat and fry the leeks for about 3-4 minutes until soft
- Turn up the heat and add the wine and bring to the boil. Let boil for 2-3 minutes for the alcohol to burn off
- Add the stock and then put the sausages and bacon (leave a few of the crispier pieces as a garnish) back in the pot, with the beans and cayenne pepper and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the beans are warmed through – don’t bring it to boil or the beans will go mushy
- Serve, topped with chopped parsley and bacon bits, and with some crusty bread
Leek and potato soup
Another one of my favourite comfort foods. Easy, nutritious and delicious – leek and potato soup hits all the right spots.
I keep the skins on my potatoes so that I can keep a lot of the nutrients and fibre that potatoes offer. Just make sure you scrub them thoroughly and remove any deep eyes or bruises and don’t buy potatoes that look green – it’s not enough to make you ill if you eat these, but it just means that they are not fresh.
Ingredients to serve around 6 comforting bowls
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 large leeks, washed
- 3 large potatoes
- 1 L of chicken stock (at room temperature or cold – not hot)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- dollop of cream (optional)
- Sweat the onions in a large saucepan in butter and olive oil until translucent
- Slice the white part of the leeks (discard the darker green parts) and add to the leeks
- Chop the washed potatoes while the leeks are sweating down
- Fill the saucepan with chicken stock and add the potatoes (cooking potatoes in cold liquid helps them cook more evenly and prevent mushiness – I adhere to this rule even in soups). The stock should just cover the potatoes. Add more or less depending on the size of your saucepan.
- Bring to boil, cover and lower temperature to a simmer for 20 minutes.
- Take off the heat and blend/puree with a stick blender until smooth. Season to taste.
- Serve hot with a drizzle of olive oil with some crusty buttered bread. Alternatively you can add a generous dollop of cream.