Chicken Sausage Casserole (4)

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Sausages are great winter comfort food. Nothing better than ‘bangers’ ‘n mash with onion marmalade and a good gravy.  I like them in all their guises – the circular Cumberland sausage from the UK, chorizo, merguez, kielbasa, Italian sausage and the lighter and less fatty chicken sausage. Better still it is relatively easy to find them gluten free. This hearty casserole uses an Italian chicken sausage with fennel and kale from my local supermarket but probably any sausage could be substituted though I would try and find a type that had some extra flavor like herbs or spices. It is a filling dish as it includes cannellini beans, red lentils and kale – a winter winner!

1 tbsp. olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large onion – chopped

2 large cloves of garlic – grated

2 rashers of bacon

1 pound of chicken sausage

2 sticks of celery – cut into 1 inch slices

2 carrots – cut into 1 inch slices

1 cup of chicken broth

1 can of cannellini beans

1/2 cup of uncooked red lentils

5 oz. baby kale

Heat the oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper in a Dutch oven and when sizzling add the onion. Let soften and brown slightly before adding the garlic. Cook for a couple more minutes.

While the onion is cooking, in a separate frying pan, cook the bacon until nice and crisp, remove from pan and when cool enough cut it into thinnish strips.

Then, sear the sausages on all sides (this will add more flavor to the dish). Then cut into bite size pieces.

Add the celery and carrots to the Dutch oven and cook for a couple of minutes till they slightly brown, then add the bacon, sausage pieces, broth, cannellini beans, lentils and kale.

Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding extra broth if you need it but the casserole is meant to be thick rather than soupy.

 

 

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Coleslaw with Kale (4)

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There is something about coleslaw that is so appealing whether it is store bought, homemade, or a side in a restaurant alongside a burger. If eating out with friends I often trade sides – one gets French fries, the other coleslaw – and we share. So I have tasted my fair share of coleslaw. It can be too vinegary or heavy on the mayo. My sauce is made of a mixture of mayonnaise (store bought is fine), freshly squeezed lemon juice and apple cider vinegar. To cabbage and carrots I add scallions, raisins and kale (only the frilly edges of kale and then finely chopped).

1/2 a smallish cabbage – shredded using a food processor

4 medium carrots – grated in a food processor

2 stems of kale – use only the frilly outer edges of the leaves and chop finely

1 bunch of scallions – just the white bits, outer skin removed and finely chopped

1 x 1 oz. packet of raisins

3 tbsp. mayonnaise

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

Place the first five ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice and apple cider vinegar, then pour over the vegetables and toss well together.

 

Vegetable and Bean Soup (4)

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Dull, wet day so made soup. This is a hearty soup – almost a vegetable stew – and stuffed full of goodness – celery, carrots, tomatoes, cannellini beans and kale (if you don’t like kale, try spinach).

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 onion – chopped

1 large clove of garlic – finely chopped or grated

3 sticks of celery – finely sliced

2 largish carrots – finely sliced

1 cup of chopped tomatoes

1 can of cannellini beans

4 cups of veg. broth/stock

2 handfuls of chopped kale

Heat oil in cast iron casserole dish and when sizzling add onion and let it brown a bit, then add garlic.

After a few minutes, add the rest of the ingredients.

Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes with the lid on.