30 September, 2007

September recipe: Sausage and apple ragout

Autumn. Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. Acorns bouncing off my head as I cycle to the post office. An adolescent squirrel burying nuts in the lawn. Spiders in the bath (every season has its downside).

Rosy apples on the tree, late tomatoes, plump onions, and a couple of late courgettes (zucchini for readers in the USA) that have been hiding under the leaves until now and have attained Zeppelin-like proportions. Here’s how to turn them into an autumn ragout.

Sausage and apple ragout (serves 2)

2 good quality pork sausages
2 oz (approx 50 g) dried chick peas (or you can use tinned ones, in which case you’ll need about double the weight)
1 onion
1 clove garlic
8 oz (approx 250 g) courgettes (zucchini)
8 oz (approx 250 g) apples
8 oz (approx 250 g) tomatoes (or you can use tinned ones)
1 teaspoon (1 x 5 ml spoon) sugar
1 Tablespoon (1 x 15 ml spoon) fresh , or 1 teaspoon (1 x 5 ml spoon) dried, sage
2 Tablespoons (2 x 15 ml spoon) red wine or cider (optional)

Soak the dried chick peas in plenty of cold water overnight or for 4-6 hours. If you forget, cover them in boiling water and soak for 1 hour.
Rinse two or three times, and boil for about 1 – 1.5 hour until the chick peas are cooked. Or just use tinned chick peas, which can be used straight from the tin.
Peel and chop the onion.
Cut the courgette (zucchini) into chunks if large, or thick slices if small.
Peel and core the apple and cut into chunks.
Peel the garlic clove.
Wash and chop the tomatoes if using fresh tomatoes (you can peel them if you want, but I never bother).
Heat approx 1 Tablespoon (1 x 15 ml spoon) cooking oil in a large saucepan. Fry the sausages over a medium heat until browned all over. Remove the sausages.
Add the onion, courgette (zucchini) and apples to the pan and fry gently until starting to brown. Crush the garlic and mix in.
Add the chopped tomatoes and wine or cider if using, and stir well.
Stir in the cooked chick peas.
Add the sugar and chopped sage. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Replace the sausages.
Simmer on a low heat for approx 30 minutes. Or put in a casserole and bake in a moderate oven (about 170 C) for about 45 – 60 minutes. Stir from time t time and add a little water if it starts to boil dry.
Serve with potatoes, rice or fresh bread, and a green salad if liked.

You can make a double quantity and freeze it as an instant ready-meal.
You can vary the vegetables and herbs according to taste and availability. Carrots, sweet peppers and aubergine go well in this dish, and marjoram, oregano and thyme all work well instead of sage, as do dried mixed herbs. You can also vary the dried beans; red kidney beans and haricot beans can be substituted for the chick peas. Diced potatoes can be added to make the ragout a complete one-pot meal, though if you do this you’ll need to add extra liquid.

For a vegetarian dish, miss out the sausage and double the quantity of beans.


Bernita said...

Sounds something like one I've done using shredded cabbage instead of the peas. Apple and pork have gone together a long time haven't they?

Kathryn Warner said...

Sounds yummy! (But what is it with the spider mentions at the moment?! Gabriele even has a picture of a tarantula up on her blog! ;)

Do you have your own apple trees, Carla? My mum has a few in her orchard, but hasn't had a good crop this year - because of the terrible summer weather, I suppose.

Is the 'Season of mists...' quote from John Keats?

Elizabeth Chadwick said...

Sounds the sort of thing I would like a lot and that the dh won't touch with a barge pole (total wuss, I despair). My parents will love this, so I will alert them to the recipe - thanks!
We're still eating your plum compote recipe from last year. I took some to a re-enactment do in Sherwood forest last Sunday and it was much appreciated.

Carla said...

Bernita - yes, apples and pork seem to be traditional partners. Red cabbage is another traditional accompaniment to both.

Alianore - well, spiders are quite sensible and when the weather turns cold and damp at this time of year they come into houses looking for warm dry places to snuggle down in for the winter. Which is why you tend to see them in autumn. Fortunately we don't get tarantulas!

We have three apple trees, one cooking apple of unknown variety and two eating apples. We had quite a good crop this year (so we ate a lot of this casserole and its variants!). I heard on Gardeners' Question Time that apparently it was a good season for fruit in the UK, but maybe that only applied to some areas. If your mother's trees were caught by an unlucky late frost at blossom time that could take most of the flowers off and there goes the crop. I'd guess apples don't mind cool damp weather, since they turn up in Norse mythology and therefore presumably grow in Scandinavia.

Yes, it's from Keats' poem "To Autumn". There's even a line in it especially about apple trees, something like "fill fruit with ripeness and bend with apples the mossy cottage trees", though I admit I can't quote the whole poem verbatim!

Elizabeth - hope they enjoy it! Glad to hear the plum compote recipe is still proving useful. Something like it could have been made easily enough in the Middle Ages, I should think, with honey instead of sugar. Ginger would likely have been for posh folks only, though!

Gabriele Campbell said...

Lol Alianore, the ugly black things I find in the bathtub aren't worth a pic. Tarantulas at least are pretty - securely behing glass. :)

Carla said...

Gabriele - I think I'd describe them as interesting rather than pretty, myself..... :-)

Meghan said...

You always have the most unique recipes on your blog! And it's amazing how apple and pork just go together so well.

Carla said...

Megumi - are the recipes all that unique? They're all dishes I cook regularly at various times of year, depending what's in season.

I wonder who first discovered the happy marriage of apples and pork? It probably goes back to the days of Ug the cave man.

ORION said...

So this is what happens when I go blog trolling! I found you from Bernita's blog and now I have a recipe to try! Good fun!

Carla said...

Hello Orion and welcome! Hope you enjoy the recipe, and the rest of the blog.

Eigon said...

Delicious recipe - thanks!

"...and by a cider press, with patient look, thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours...."

To Autumn was one of the poems I had to learn by heart at school, and I still have most of it.

Carla said...

Eigon - glad you enjoyed it! Our school didn't go in for learning poetry by heart, so I tend to know odd lines and couplets but rarely the whole poem - something else to get round to one day!