I literally can not believe that we are already 11 days into 2015! Does anybody else feel like this is extremely disconcerting?! It feels like just a minute ago we were moving into our new home and putting up our, admittedly rather sporadic, Christmas decorations. The New Year is a
for many, myself included, allowing us to leave the trials of the past year behind and
are a point of contention for many - Some people use them to change small details, e.g. "I will switch to ecologically friendly washing detergents." Others work on the macro big picture stuff, which has the potential to change their life, "I will lose 100 pounds, quite my job and become a freelancer, pursue a vegan diet, etc."
I personally think that whilst both have their virtues, especially if they provide the motivation you need to really do something, the former is better than the latter. This year I decided that my resolutions needed to be defined and
Amongst a rather large list of goals for 2015, one resolution which is particularly pertinent to changing my life on a daily scale is the
commitment to cook at least one meal a day from scratch
Last year I was definitely guilty of relying too much on eating out, especially during the house move. There is a
well known reason why food in a restaurant tastes so good - added fat and salt,
the key weapons in a chef's arsenal. Preparing food at home means that I can control both of these additions and keep them to the minimum, along with other additives and preservatives.
The recipe below is my stab at something delicious and warming for the winter months that can be
made at home with ease
. The stew has a rich smoky depth provided paprika and red wine, along with a pleasant buzz from the chillies.
Please do be aware when buying the meat items, (sausage, chorizo and pancetta) I would urge you to go for
high quality over quantity
and to pick items which have the least added artificial ingredients.
In a midnight dash to the supermarket for yogurt (we are wild on a Friday night I tell you) we managed to pick up a pack of Venison Sausages for 60p (!!!!), which worked a treat in this recipe. Regular high quality pork sausages are wonderful too though in this context.
This is the sort of recipe you can throw together using up any tins of pulses/chopped tomatoes that you might have languishing at the back of the cupboard, along with any miscellaneous veg you have to hand. Substitutions can easily be made - if you don't like a type of bean, swap it for another or just add an extra tin of one that you do enjoy. Reduce the amount of chilli if you like a milder dish.
4 to 8 hours in a slow cooker / 1.5 hours in the oven
- 1 tbsp Rapeseed/Vegetable Oil
- 1 tsp Brown Sugar
- 3 small Chillies / 2 medium sized Chillies
- 1 Red Onion, finely chopped
- 3-4 cloves of Garlic, finely chopped
- 250g / 1 pack of Pancetta
- 100g Chorizo, chopped into small chunks
- 6 Venison Sausages / high quality Pork Sausages, each chopped into 4 chunks
- 1 tin of Red Kidney Beans
- 1 tin of Cannellini Beans
- 1 tin of Butter Beans
- Any misc veg you want to add, make sure this is chopped into bite size chunks to keep the texture of the stew consistent. (We used carrots, but mushrooms, peppers, most veg really will work!)
- 3 tins of Chopped Tomatoes
- 250ml Red Wine
- 3 tsp Smoked Paprika
- 2 tsp sea salt
- Pepper to taste
To serve (optional)
- 1 tbsp Natural Yogurt or Creme Fraiche
- A handful of chopped Flat Leaf Parsley
- Cooked Couscous or Bulgur Wheat
1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan until sizzling, add the chilli, garlic and brown sugar and cook on a medium heat for one minute.
2. Add the pancetta, chorizo and red pepper and sausage chunks. Lower the heat and cook for 10 minutes until everything is golden brown, whilst continually stirring to ensure even cooking.
3. Get ready your slow cooker or large casserole pan. After the above step is completed, move the contents of the frying pan over to your chosen cooking vessel.
4. Add the beans, chopped tomatoes, red wine, any veg, smoked paprika and seasoning. Give this all a good stir to make sure all the ingredients are evenly distributed.
5. Slow Cooker - cook for 4 hours on the high setting, 8 hours on low. Stir occasionally.
Oven - Cook for 1.5 hours on 180C, stirring occasionally
6. I served mine with a dollop of natural yogurt to balance the heat from the chilli and couscous
I hope you enjoy this recipe, please do let me know if you try it out yourself
Also if you have any S.M.A.R.T resolutions, I would love to hear them! I'm thinking of possibly doing a full post on mine later on this month, especially as I can let you know then if I have kept them.