And the winning dish is...? Sausage hotpot. With vegetarian sausages.
For a few months now the most-requested recipe chez moi has been a hearty, filling, delicious concoction that came in a cookery book for children. It is easy to prepare and the whole family has reached a unanimous decision: Thursday is sausage hotpot day. Saying that, though, my wife and children were not very impressed a couple of weekends ago when I revealed that I used the left-over fat from the Sunday roast to pan-fry the onions, garlic, sausages and the rest of the ingredients. Cue cringeing faces all round the table. Sometimes the Sunday roast left-over fat has been in the fridge for a few weeks. Or months. But, as I explain to them, that's what we do in Cuba, so, get used to it, my lovelies, it's just a lesson on multiculturalism.
Back to this tasty recipe and the music to go with it. Here're the ingredients, preparation and melodies I recommend you listen to, as the warmth of this superb dish serenades your belly with an ardent culinary lullaby.
2 eating apples (fruit provides a natural sweetness and an extra vitamin boost)
2 tbsp olive oil
6-8 sausages (we use Linda McCartney ones)
1 onion (chopped)
1 carrot (diced)
2 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
1 tbsp mixed herbs
110g (4oz) lean bacon cut into bite-sized pieces (optional)
400g (14oz) tinned borlotti or pinto beans (drained and rinsed)
400ml chicken or vegetable stock
4 tbsp tinned chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato purée
Salt and pepper
Carefully remove the skin of the apples using a vegetable peeler. Quarter them and remove the cores. Cut the apples into bite-sized pieces. Preheat the oven to 200C (400F/Gas 6). Heat the oil (or Sunda roast left-over fat in my case, oh, yes, I'm sticking to it) in a large saucepan or ovenproof pan and cook the sausages for 5 minutes, or until browned all over. Remove the sausages from the pan and set aside. Put the onion and carrot into the pan and fry over a medium heat for 5 mnutes, stirring frequently. Next, add the garlic, bacon and herbs, stir well, and cook for 6 minutes. (Transfer to a large casserole dish if you aren't using an overproof pan). Add the beans, tomatoes, tomato purée, apples and sausages and stir. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Add the beans and stir well. Cover with a lid and place in the preheated oven. Cook for 25 minutes. The sauce should reduce and thicken and the apples will become tender. Take care when removing the casserole dish from the oven as the hotpot will very hot. Season with salt and pepper. I serve this with rice for my daughter and me and jacket potato for my wife and son.
My first track to go with this yummy recipe is one of my favourite songs ever. And no, it was not originally written by Manhattan Transfer, although it was part of their 1987 album 'Brasil'. Djavan is one of those composers whose music is difficult to label, but not hard to like. He's got the lyrics, the rhythm and the voice, oh yes, the voice. Enjoy.
And if we're discussing voices, I dare you, my fellow blogger/reader to listen to the next track and not to be carried away. I challenge you to remain passive and blasé. What's that I see in your hand? A lighter? And why are both your hands in the air now, waving from side to side? I knew you would succumb to this melody in the same way we all do at home to the might of the sausage hotpot every Thursday. Just, please, don't set the house on fire. As for you, sir, step forward, David, or Ziggy, I don't care what you call yourself anymore, to me, tonight, you're Mr Voice.
And to round this post up, I bring you a heavy, funky, sultry dose of acid jazz courtesy of one of the better bands out there, St Germain. You loved them last summer when I uploaded Rose Rouge. This number is more laid-back but it still exudes musicianship and togetherness. Many thanks and as we say in Spanish: Buen provecho.
Next Post: 'Sunday Mornings: Coffee, Reflections and Music', to be published on Sunday 7th February at 10am (GMT)