For those of you that have read my blog before, you will know I put up my first ever meal plan post on Sunday. Meal planning is a regular occurrence in my house, unfortunately so is going slightly off-piste! Needing to write up those meals, plus day 13 of my Blogging101 course, meant I was looking for a food event to take part in. Lo and behold CookOnceEatTwice reared it perfect head. So here goes…..
Day 4 of my current blogging101 course is to write for your ideal reader. I’m a bit late starting this post as I’ve been trying to work out just who my ideal reader is. I discussed it with the Other Half and his answer was the truest so far ‘a girl a lot like you’. I’ve always said I write for myself and if anyone else enjoys it, that’s a bonus. The more I thought about it, the more I realised he was right. I’m writing to a younger version of me, trying to get across that cooking is a lot simpler than people think so just crack on and have a go. Fortunately, the next post I had planned was ideal for this, a simple sausage casserole, the ultimate comfort food.
This isn’t the quickest dish to make but there are few things that can beat it on a cool Autumn evening. This is not quite peasant food but historically would have been used by hunters to cook older or tougher birds, simmering to soften it up essentially. The recipe I found was for chicken legs but we tend to use breasts or thighs. The thickening of the sauce at the end is what turns this dish from comfort food to classy cuisine!
Olive oil – glug
Chicken (I used 4 small breasts)
Onion, finely sliced or chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced or finely sliced
200g mushrooms (button mushrooms are best but otherwise quartered)
500ml red wine
1 tbsp tomato purée
Vegetable stock cube or bouillon powder
Thyme leaves (at least 2 tbsp)
Melt half the butter in a pan with the oil, when hot brown the chicken on both sides. Remove chicken, put on a plate and keep warm.
Add the rest of the butter and fry the onions until softened, at least 5 minutes, then throw in the garlic – continue frying for a minute or so before also adding the mushrooms. Continue to stir and cook until mushrooms start to change colour and also soften. Pour in the wine, add the stock cube and tomato purée and stir until all mixed together, simmer for 5 minutes. Add the chicken and any juices back to the pan along with the thyme. Simmer on a low heat for an hour.
Remove the chicken, turn up the heat and boil for 10 minutes or so until you have a glossy thick sauce, add the chicken back in, stir until coated and then serve with creamy mash and vegetables. As both my small person and her friends were hungry at this point, I failed to take any photos. The 10 year old had great fun helping me prepare and get this ready, just watch them stirring anything hot! I have discovered he is a potato mashing ace though and he has challenged me to cook spatzle and schnitzel next time I look after them. Watch this space!
The great thing about cold weather is slow cooked, homely food. As the Other Half’s parents were cooking on Sunday evening, I decided to use the weekend to make something with slow cooked beef. Originally I had planned on doing boeuf bourguignon but that somehow changed to beef goulash.
I don’t have a slow cooker but I do have a cast iron pot and a wood burner so I duly lit the fire, started cooking and then left the goulash to do its stuff for about 6 hours, stirring occasionally when I hurled an extra log on the fire. The house smelt amazing and was nicely warm, despite the inclement weather outside.
2 onion, sliced
2 peppers, one orange, one yellow, finely sliced
3 cloves of garlic, finely sliced or minced
500g diced beef
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp. tomato puree
400g tin of tomatoes
Beef stock cube
1 tub sour cream or crème fraiche
First of all fry the onion and peppers gently in some oil for about 10 minutes until softened then add the garlic and stir.
Add the beef and continue stirring until the meat is browned before mixing in the paprika, making sure everything is coated. Add the tomatoes and rinse the tin with a little hot water, stir in the water and a crumbled stock cube, then squeeze in the tomato puree. Bring to the boil, then cover and either cook on a low heat for 2 hours or slow cook for 6 hours.
Before serving, add the sour cream and mix well. We had this with mashed potato but you could serve with rice or spatzle.