Jaime Oliver Sausage cassoulet
Today is May 1st and it is snowing up a storm. I for one am over it. I love each season its it's own way but right now it feels like Winter is stepping on Springs toes. For a day like today I wan to make something warm and rich that hopefully will keep my husband I cozy in the cold. Tonight I'm going for a Jamie Oliver recipe for quick-time Sausage Cassoulet. To add more veggies to the mix I'm going to take Jamies advice and toss spinach at the end. Ingredients:
  • 2 handfuls dried porcini mushrooms, broken up

  • 8 thick slices dry-cured higher-welfare streaky bacon

  • extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 large bunch mixed fresh rosemary, thyme and sage

  • 2 red onions, peeled and roughly chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 1 large carrot, peeled and roughly chopped

  • heart celery, finely chopped

  • 2 bay leaves

  • bottle red wine

  • 3 x 400 g tinned plum tomatoes

  • 2 x 400 g tinned borlotti or cannellini beans or use a mixture

  • sea salt

  • freshly ground black pepper

  • 24 higher-welfare chipolata sausages, or use 16 larger sausages

  • 1 large stale loaf, crusts removed

  • 1 small handful fresh thyme, leaves picked

How to: Preheat your oven to 200?C/400?F/gas 6. Put your porcini mushrooms into a dish, cover with 565ml/1 pint of boiling water and allow to soak until soft. Heat a large roasting tray on the hob. Slice the bacon across into strips called 'lardons'. Fry in 4 tablespoons of olive oil until crisp and golden. Tie your herbs together with some string and add to the bacon in the pan with your onions, garlic, carrot, celery and bay leaves. Drain the porcini, reserving the soaking liquid, add them to the pan and fry nice and slowly for about 5 minutes. Add the red wine and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half. Add the tomatoes to the pan, breaking them up with a spoon, then add your strained porcini soaking liquor and the beans. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Lightly season then lay your sausages on top all higgledy piggledy, so they can get nice and brown as they cook. Break up your bread into coarse, chunky breadcrumbs, toss with the thyme, a little salt and olive oil and sprinkle around the sausages. Place in the oven for around 40 minutes until the sausages and breadcrumbs are golden and crisp. Remove the bunch of herbs and serve with something like mashed potato or polenta. To mix it up you can make it a bit more healthy and get some greens involved I will stir in a couple of handfuls of fresh spinach right at the end when serving up. The heat from the dish will make the spinach wilt. Also, the beans used can be any variety you prefer! {Image Credit to David Loftus and Recipe Credit to Jamie Oliver}  
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