The back story.
Eating processed food or eating out too often takes a huge toll on my energy levels and my clarity of thought. It also enjoys tipping the scale and turning my digestive system into an MMA match. Needless to say if the motivation was a bird, I’d have enough for a flock. Guess what? I still can barely muster giving a goose. As a result, my weekly lunches are often Sunday’s stew which I force myself to make. Maybe that’s the norm for some of you, but for a food blogger, that’s horrifying. My breakfasts and dinners come from simplicity and laziness. However, there are some benefits. I’ve held onto the simple yet tasty recipes and those easy enough to put together even when I’m catatonic. In other words, life savers. Over the course of the next few months, I’ll be sharing these with you. Hopefully, you enjoy these as much as I have until I get back into my cooking and blogging groove.
Today’s story starts with a Pig.
Recently I’ve had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with a family that raises Berkshire pork. The kobo beef of pigs! Get in my belly! What a score.
With some convincing I was able to get my hands on enough meat to last me through the year. Moving to a new city means finding all new sources of sustainably raises animals, a CSA, farm fresh eggs and local dairy. It’s been a process, to say the least, but getting access to Berkshire pork far exceeded my expectations of finding quality local products. It’s like a won the jackpot and it’s living in my freezer.
Being asked for feedback on the sausages prompted me to get into the kitchen and that’s how this stew was born.
I feel a warning is in order. I can guarantee that your stew will end up tasting different from mine no matter how closely you follow the recipe. The flavor of your sausages will undoubtedly be different. Your tomatoes might be a different variety, grown in a different climate or maybe they came from a can. Your fennel bulbs might be larger, your garlic more potent. In the end, none of that will matter because this is one of those foolproof recipes. I’ve included the variations I’ve made in the past that have been successful, but feel free to play around. This stew can handle it!
My favorite addition to date is a drizzle of black truffle oil. If you want to serve lasts night’s stew to some special guests, this is the way to go. Garnish with fennel fronds and feta, crumbled goat cheese or parmesan pedals. The color contrast ads visual interest and layers of flavours. I love that this stew is so pliable.
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 4 galric cloves, minced
- 6 cups of roasted tomatoes or 2 756ml cans of whole tomatoes
- 1 cup of chicken stock
- 1 can tomato paste (156ml)
- 2 fennel bulbs, core removed and sliced
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- 3 Tbsp of honey (or more to taste)
- 1 Tbsp Hungarian or Spanish paprika (sweet or bitter)
- 6-8 sausages (approximately 2 lbs)
- Chopped fennel fronds to garnish
- Drizzle with black truffle oil (optional)
- Additional toppings: cheese such as feta, goat cheese or Parmesan.
- Preheat pven to 350 F. In a cast iron pan or oven proof pan, brown the sausages on all sides. Place the sausages in the oven and cook until no pink remains and their juices run clear. Depending on the thickness of the sausages, this will take 20-25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large heavy bottom pot or Dutch oven, cook onions with olive oil over medium heat until they begin to soften, approximately 5 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients except the sausages and stir to combine. Simmer for 25 minutes or until fennel becomes tender.
- Once the sausages are cooked, add all the juices and fat from the cooked sausages into the stew and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add more honey if the stew is too acidic (depends on your tastes and the tomatoes).
- Serve stew with slices of sausage and top with your favourite garnishes.
-Add 1 1/2 cups (or 1 can drained and well rinsed) white beans and serve it over angel hair or spaghetti. Garnish with Parmesan petals.
-Add 1 1/2 cups (or 1 can drained and well rinsed) of cooked chickpeas, garnish with feta and serve with crusty bread and butter
-Add shrimp and cooked diced chicken and 1 can of drained and rinsed clams and chilis flakes to taste. Serve over rice with grated aged cheddar.
-Add 3 cups (approximately) of chicken stock and serve as a soup with grilled cheese sandwiches
-Add 1/2 cup of sour cream and serve with Pappardelle and toasted Panko crumbs
Maken’ it fancy:
Serve it over creamyParmesan polenta and drizzle with black truffle oil and garnish with fresh grated Parmesan and fennel fronds
Serve on top of zucchini fritters and top with grilled halloumi cheese