Images above: Jo Pratt’s Flexible Family Cookbook; Jo’s Tuscan Bean and Sausage Stew
Chiswick resident and prime mover in the Cookbook Supper Club, Jo Pratt, has a new book out this autumn: the Flexible Family Cookbook. The acclaimed TV cook specialises in ‘sensible and simple but sensational’ recipes for all the family, easily adapted to please and designed to deliver flavour. She has given The Chiswick Calendar a recipe for her Tuscan Bean and Sausage Stew. Best enjoyed in lockdown with the rain pouring down outside!
Baked Tuscan bean and sausage stew
This ultimate comfort food recipe is one you can turn to when all you want is something quick and easy that you can throw into one pot. For the best results use some good-quality pork sausages, ideally with some Italian flavourings such as fennel seeds. If you can’t find any you could always add a scattering of fennel seeds or a sliced fennel bulb with the onions.
Time taken 1¼ hours / Serves 4
2 tbsp olive oil
8 chunky pork sausages, each one cut into 2–3 pieces
2 onions, sliced
1 red (bell) pepper, deseeded and sliced
2 sticks celery, thickly sliced
¼ tsp dried chilli flakes
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 x 400g/14 oz tins beans such as borlotti, cannellini, pinto or haricot, drained
2 x 400g/14 oz tins chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp dark brown sugar
1 tbsp red wine vinegar or cider vinegar
flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
To serve (optional) crusty bread or mash
Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/gas 6. Heat the oil in a fairly shallow ovenproof pan or heavy roasting tray and quickly brown the sausages all over to just give them colour on the outside but not cook them all the way through. Add the onions and cook for a couple of minutes to also give them some colour, then add all the remaining ingredients. Season with
salt and pepper and stir around to mix. Cover with a lid or if you don’t have one, then a baking tray on top will be just fine.
Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the lid, stir everything around and return to the oven without a lid for a further 15–20 minutes until the sauce has thickened.
Serve with crusty bread or mash, and some greens such as buttered steamed cabbage or green beans.
Gluten-free: the sausages are the only ingredient in this recipe that is likely to contain gluten, so make sure you use gluten-free ones.
Vegetarian/vegan: vegetarian or vegan sausages won’t hold themselves well cooking for so long in the sauce, so you are better to cook them separately until golden, then add them to the stew for the final 15–20 minutes of cooking.
The Flexible Family Cookbook
Jo Pratt is a TV chef who lives in Chiswick, with a number of cookbooks to her name, including The Flexible Vegetarian and The Flexible Pescatarian. She describes The Flexible Family Cookbook as “the Swiss army knife of cookbooks … a multi-tool to provide practical recipe solutions for the demands and challenges of modern family life”. She is happy to hand deliver them to your doorstep, within Chiswick and Acton. Cost direct from Jo – £18. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org Offer ends 30 November 2020.
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