Exciting news….. I got a slow cooker for Christmas! It is a lovely large Crockpot Saute version which is set to radicalise our week-night eating. Trying to fit in time to prepare and cook meals after a long day at work can be a bit of a chore and sadly we often grab whatever is quickest (usually a baked potato) which can get pretty tedious. Don’t get me wrong, I actually love baked potatoes, but after eating them night after night, the prospect of a delicious hot pot, stew, chilli or casserole hitting my nose as I walk through the front door in the evening is getting me wildly excited! I just need to find the recipes which need limited pre-prep, so that I can be ready before the early morning start……
If anyone has any hints, tips or tricks for speediness, I would love to hear them. Equally, any tried, tested and loved cook books or recipes to guide me through my slow-cook journey would be most welcome!
This is the third slow cook dish we have made….. I say ‘we’ because I am having to wrestle my new gadget away from my husband who has a bit of a tendency to think he is in charge of ‘mains’ and I regularly have to insist that I am cooking……. and no, he can’t chop, stir or check the pot. Sure…… I am very lucky that I have a husband who loves to be in the kitchen as much as me, but it can also be a source of frustration, especially when we are fighting for shared work top space.
And so to Sausage, Apple & Bean Casserole….. Warming, cheap, wholesome, full of great stuff and totally delicious. The ingredients listed serve at least 6 people, so there is plenty to go round (or in our case, heat up for another night……. yay! One less BP…..). It is deep and rich in flavour, and can be varied by adding different veg, mixing up the herb choice, adding extra spice or using veggie sausages if you don’t want meat (in which case leave out the bacon too).
It did require a fair amount of pre-prep with the browning of the sausages, and the frying of the bacon and veg, but having previously made a standard ‘hob’ version of this dish, I would definitely say that slow-cooking cut down overall direct input and the result was very satisfying.
If you don’t have a slow-cooker, no worries….. this can be prepared easily on the hob too!
I kept the sausages whole and the mushrooms halved (you could leave these whole too) to give it goodly substance and interest. The apple adds a lovely fruitiness and a different texture dimension. The chilli (I used home-grown that we had dried at the end of the summer) contributed an extra warming, slightly spicy glow. The beans (kidney, butter and cannellini) made it a wonderful, filling winter stew, perfect for these cold days and nights.
The photos are pretty poor quality….. there are so few daylight hours right now and I simply don’t have the time to organise myself (especially when there’s hot food needing to be eaten).
I am sending a portion each of this wonderful, healthy casserole to the following challenges this month so that (hopefully) lots more people will enjoy it as much as we have.
Family Foodies with Louisa at Eat Your Veg (and Vanesther at Bangers & Mash) who are this month celebrating Healthy Kids. My daughter always loves my sausage and bean casserole and when presented with it at the weekend looked at me (somewhat patronisingly) and said ‘Well Mum, I think you have outdone yourself this week. Well done!’ Cheeky mare……
Cooking with Herbs with Karen at Lavender & Lovage who is getting us to rummage through our store cupboards for January to make tasty, healthy winter dishes. This casserole has dried chilli, herbs, loads of canned beans, stock, tinned tomatoes, and cider from the larder (not to mention sausages from the freezer and home-grown onions which have been hung and stored in the shed!)
Sausage, Apple & Bean Casserole (serves 6 to 8)
- In a large frying pan (or in the casserole of the slow cooker if your model allows), heat the oil over a medium heat on the hob and fry the sausages, turning frequently until they are nicely browned on the outside. Remove from the pan and set aside on a plate with kitchen paper to drain any excess oil.
- Put the bacon and onion into the pan and fry for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the garlic, apple, chilli and mushroom and cook for a further 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the sugar and tomato puree, stir through and cook for a further 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the cider and a handful of herbs, stir and bring to a simmer.
- Turn off the heat and put the sausages back into the pan.
- Add the tomatoes and beans and stir through.
- Make up the strong stock and pour into the pan so that the liquid is almost covering.
- Slow cook on high setting (according to manufacturer’s instructions) for 3 hours.
- Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley when ready to serve.
- Serve with rice or potatoes.