Karen Wright: A tasty casserole which is fun to make and freezer-friendly
When your freezer is your friend! I am lucky enough to have a decent sized freezer and I make sure that I get the most out of it.
You never know when something unexpected might strike and prevent you from either shopping for fresh food or using up produce that you have bought in.
This happened to me recently when I finally succumbed to the dreaded Covid.
All through the pandemic I stayed well and thought that I had escaped its clutches. Not so and I was laid quite low for over a week.
I discovered that the contents of my freezer kept me going right the way through and some of the fresh things that I had in the house were quickly cooked and then frozen rather than let them go to waste.
For example. I had bought a big bag of cooking apples intending to batch bake some pies and crumbles.
I just wasn’t well enough to do all of that cooking but I did manage to peel the apples, cook them down to puree and freeze ready to bake another time.
I also had loads of celery, carrots and onions. I call these the holy trinity of vegetables as they are the three best things to use to make a vegetable stock.
I roughly chopped everything up and cooked in my slow cooker, I then gave it all a quick whizz with my stick blender, and “Hey Presto” homemade stock, bagged up and into the freezer.
On regular days, if I am cooking something freezer friendly, like casseroles or curries for tea, I try to make an extra portion to pop into the freezer.
Towards the end of my self-isolation when I was feeling a bit perkier, I did a freezer and cupboard raid to see what I could make that was a bit of fun to put together.
I found a couple of links of sausage, a couple of chicken thighs a small pack of belly pork and some lardons.
I didn’t have any potatoes in the house, but I did have an onion and a couple of red peppers.
I browned the meat and put it in the slow cooker. I added a tin of tomatoes, some garlic, thyme, salt and pepper and a can of butter beans and a can of baked beans. Et voila Cassoulet!
An autumn casserole from southwest France. Comfort food at its finest!