Autumn is almost upon us. We enjoyed the warmth of the sun yesterday on our bike ride under the Suspension Bridge towards Pill, but by the time we got home there was a distinct nip in the air. The blackberries are out in full force, the leaves have started to turn and we spotted conkers and acorns on the ground.
It’s a brilliant time of year. While summer is for picnics in the park and eating out, autumn marks the return of proper home cooking – making the most of the glut of glorious autumn vegetables; cooking up slow, hearty, satisfying dishes to warm the cockles.
It was good to return home from our bike ride to this spicy sausage chilli – an absolute cockle-warmer if ever there was one, and just what we needed after working up quite an appetite. I came up with the recipe to celebrate the return of #OrganicSeptember, the Soil Association’s annual campaign to encourage more people to go organic.
The star of the dish is a delicious gourmet ‘Old English’ sausage launched especially for #OrganicSeptember by The Well Hung Meat Company, based down in Devon and specialising in locally-reared, dry-aged meat, along with Bristol-based retailer Better Food. It’s created from outdoor-reared organic pork to a favourite childhood recipe of Better Food’s founder, Phil Haughton.
Organic meat means the very highest standards of animal welfare. Organic animals are truly free range and are reared without the routine use of drugs. #OrganicSeptember is all about making little changes. I simply can’t afford to buy 100% organic but I do care about the meat I buy and feed my family, and where it comes from. Meat for me is now a treat food, rather than an everyday food. I’ve drastically reduced the amount of meat we eat each week, using the money we save to buy better meat when we do – and which I’m then very careful to make go as far as possible.
Take this sausage chilli for instance. It only contains six pork sausages but I’ve bulked it out with plenty of courgette, beans and chickpeas, which soak up all the smoky, spicy, meaty flavours, creating plenty of leftovers and a second fabulous meal the next day.
Our sausage chilli was served with organic sweet potato wedges, simply roasted in the oven after being tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper. I must confess to having a slight addiction to sweet potato. Expect to see lots of sweet potato recipes on the blog in the coming months. Alongside the wedges, I created a very easy dip using creme fraiche produced by Well Hung’s sister company, Holy Cow Organic, packed with lots of fresh mint and coriander.
Spicy sausage chilli
Serves 4 with leftovers for the next day
1 tbsp vegetable oil
360g organic pork sausages
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 stick celery, roughly chopped
1 tsp fennel seeds
a pinch of dried chilli flakes
½ tsp smoked paprika
1 courgette, sliced and quartered
1 yellow pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
400g tin red kidney beans, drained
400g tin chickpeas, drained
400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
4 sweet potatoes, scrubbed
1 tbsp olive oil
200g creme fraiche
bunch of fresh mint
bunch of fresh coriander
Heat the vegetable oil in a large casserole and brown the sausages. When browned on all sides, remove to a plate.
Add the onion and celery to the pan and cook gently until soft and translucent. Stir in the fennel seeds, chilli flakes and paprika and fry for a minute or so, before adding the courgette, yellow pepper and garlic. Cook for five minutes until the courgette softens, then pour in the kidney beans, chickpeas and tomatoes, along with the oregano and season to taste.
Lastly return the sausages to the pan, give it all a good mix together and leave to simmer gently without a lid for around 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Slice the sweet potatoes into wedges, leaving the skin on. Place in a roasting pan, toss in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for around 20 minutes, turning occasionally, until they are golden and beginning to brown and the edges are starting to caramelise.
Make a quick dip by squeezing a lime quarter into 200g of creme fraiche and stirring in a good handful of chopped mint and coriander.
Serve with the remaining lime cut up into quarters. Dig in and enjoy!
What are the benefits of going organic? Here are five top reasons from the Soil Association…
Disclosure: I was supplied with complimentary products from the Well Hung Meat Company and Holy Cow Organics in order to develop this recipe to promote #OrganicSeptember. As ever all views expressed are mine.