Thursday, February 14, 2008

Sausage and tomato stew

Alright, get the snickering over with off the top about posting a sausage recipe on Valentine's day. (Hee hee! She said sausage!) I'd be lying if I hadn't snickered myself. ;)

Anyhow! Right. Yummy, fast and (with luck) cheap food. I'm a serious crockpot fan. When I say fan, I really mean screaming fangrrrrl. (geek meets adult when you describe getting screaming fangrrrrl over kitchen appliances. )

I don't cook with precise recipes.. recipes in my world are general guidelines for experimentation. Cooking is an art in my world, much like my knitting (patterns? Also vague guidelines.) So adjust to suit what /you/ like. (Pardon the photo, I didn't to take a picture in the pretty bowls at home, so you're getting it in the plastic pots I bring my lunches in. Still tastes good!)

Sausage stew
1 small package of sausage. (Call it say half a kilo ish? About 4-6 solid sized uncooked sausage? Unless you have cooked ones, or only 3 left from a package.. you get the idea. I had a half price huge package of honey garlic sausage. I think I used 6.)

2 onions, chopped (I tossed in a handful and a half of the pre-chopped frozen onions that live in my freezer. Because if I have to chop onions, I will NEVER cook with onions again.)

1 728 ml tin of diced tomatoes. (I think this is 28 oz? The big tin. If you have stewed, fine. If you have stewed with seasonings, great. If you have crushed.. this won't have nice chunks.)

4 carrots (or however many are left in the package. Or a handful out of the package of frozen carrot rounds that lives in the freezer)

1/3 tin of tomato paste (about 1/4 cup.. ish. The small tin, as I've never found those wonderful squeeze tubes I've heard of.)

2 cups chicken broth (I gloop in a healthy dollop of liquid boullion extract and 2 cups of water)

2 cloves of garlic, minced (or a healthy shake shake of garlic powder)

2 tbsp italian seasoning (or find a recipe for what goes into it online.. basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder.. iirc)

pinch or two red pepper flakes (if you use hot sausage, you might not want this.. if you dont like a zip to your food, leave it out as well)

salt (just a smidge, mostly because we use unsalted canned food. You may find tinned tomatoes have more than enough salt already)

I hope I didnt forget anything, I'm going from memory here.

Chop up the sausage roughly and then fry up the onions and sausage. Not strictly required, but I find it's a nicer flavour. I use clean kitchen shears to cut up the sausage, I find raw sausage + knife = pain in the tush.

Add everything to the crock pot. Eye the level of it and decide if it looks alright. This time I added a bit more water, as it just looked like it needed it. (And I wanted a bit more broth to make it go a bit further as a soup).

Turn it on low, go away. Come back 6+ hrs later. (I put this in at about 7:30 am. I get home from work at 5:30 pm. It's in a 4 litre (quart.. whatever) crockpot.)

Take 1/4 cup or so of flour, mix it into a slurry with some hot water and pour it into the crockpot stirring stirring stirring. (we're not doing dumplings here, you want it to mix in, not cook right away). Turn to high for 15-20 mins to make it a smidge thicker. (I really only notice the thicker in leftovers.)

I got 5 good sized servings out of this. With sides (biscuits? Cornbread? Salad? Anything!), it could be 6 no problem, or even 7 or 8 if you dont have big eaters.

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