… you can probably tell how much i’m loving my slow-cooker by how much i’ve been using it but you know how it is with any new toy… you play with it for a while but inevitably you soon get bored and it sits there gathering dust… thankfully I don’t feel this about the slow cooker and with results like this who can blame me? I’m having immense fun being inventive with it and discovering just how much can be cooked in it without it all looking and tasting like brown sludge. of course, with the weather now finally in full autumnal mode I am using it to cook a lot of stews but i’m branching out every day and the amount it’s saving me in electricity costs must be quite impactful…
… I do realise however that not everyone has a slow-cooker so for every slow-cooker method I will include a short regular cooking method or a link back to a similar recipe where i’ve cooked the dish without a slow-cooker…
bonfire bangers, pumpkin and lentil stew
now halloween is out the way there’s an awful lot of pumpkin that gets chucked out and to be frank we’re quite right to throw the stuff away. Those giant carving pumpkins are tasteless and full of water and any flesh taken from these need a gentle roasting in plenty of olive oil and herbs before the come anywhere near tasty… but if you hunt high and low there are some gloriously tasty small pumpkins and squashes out there that have wonderfully dark and nutty flavours that work superbly well in soups and stews
enough for 4 large bowls or 6 smaller mugs
1 medium onion – diced
1 medium butternut squash or the equivalent left-over pumpkin carvings – diced
1 carrot – diced
1/2 a swede – diced
100g red lentils
1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 pint stock made up with 3/4 pint of vegetable stock and 1/4 pint of white wine
8 medium hand-made pork sausages
seasoning and fresh herbs of your choice
start by gently browning the sausages in a deep frying pan, you want to give them a nice golden brown colour
if you’re using the slow-cooker simply place all of the above ingredients (except for the fresh herbs) plus the browned sausages into the bowl of the slow cooker, place the lid on and cook on low for 6 hours – throw in the herbs half an hour before the end.
the easiest way to cook this the conventional way is to place all the ingredients into a large casserole dish with the browned sausages on top and place in an oven on roughly 140C for 3 to four hours.
i’m serving my stew with some homemade fennel bread which was made simply using my low-knead method… once it’s had it’s first prove, knead again, sprinkling a teaspoon of fennel seeds into the dough, then generously oil a square baking tin and place the dough into the tin like a focaccia and let it rise again for 30 mins – spritz the top with a little oil and then sprinkle with more fennel seeds and a little salt before baking on 200C for 10 mins and then reducing to 180C for 20 mins
this month the Tea Time Treats bloggers challenge, hosted by Karen from Lavender and Lovage and Jane from Hedgecombers has the theme of Bonfire Night so this dish fits in beautifully, I am also entering it into the Slow Cooked Challenge hosted by Janice from Farmersgirl Kitchen although i’m actually linking up to Janice’s challenge before she’s set her theme so I may be slightly disqualified…
eat and of course enjoy!
… a little note about comments… as many of you will have noticed, last month I switched my commenting over to google+ comments. I wanted to experiment with a different communing system but to be quite frank I didn’t like it. I don’t really get google+ and even though I have an account and it links my blog I never use it as a social media platform and after so after giving it a full month and doing a lot of research I have decided to switch back to the regular blogger platform comments system…. the only issue with this switch back is that all the comments anyone has made on the blog in the past month via google+ will disappear. You will still be able to read them via my google+ profile but not here – one of the many reasons why it’s a flawed system which i’m not happy with. Anyone who wants to chat more about my choice feel free to send me an email to chat about it…