Five-A-Day Family Supper Recipe:
“Sunday Lunch” Chicken, Sausage and Vegetable Hotpot
Ahhhh…..Slow Sunday! A day of comparative rest, unless you are cooking a “full on” family Sunday roast that is; a day to turn over in bed for another few minutes or half an hour, a day of “no bills” through the letter box. A day of familiar evening television viewing, with “Songs of Praise” and “The Antique’s Road Show”……a day to read the papers or pick up that book you have been wanting to finish, a day of family and friends, a day of dog walking in the snow or drizzle, depending on where you live, as well as days out to National Trust properties or to the local park……it’s the last day before a busy week ahead and it is very precious. One of the things I most love about Sundays are the family lunches – I like to start mine at 2pm for a civilised “late lunch”, which then pushes tea time to sandwiches or soup in front of the television. I am not an avid television watcher, I prefer to read, write or just potter around, but, I do like the thought of sitting down to watch a thoroughly good period drama, or an old film, knowing that meal times are over, the dishes are washed and put away and there’s nothing major to prepare or cook.
This Sunday dawned to rolling mist, and a damp journey down to the end of the garden to let out the chickens. It’s the first Sunday since Christmas and New Year that means there is just the two of us. I was not in the mood for a roast, memories of turkeys, beef and ham are still whirling round my head. Everyone I speak to is on a diet or is “cutting back”, it’s an annual pastime, feast in December and fast in January, and to be honest, I find the lack of puddings, stuffing, meat and rich sauces quite refreshing. I am now craving salads, fruit, vegetables and simple wholesome meals, with NO spices oddly. So, with a cold and damp day to look forward to, I decided to pick up the baton for a healthy, but hearty, five-a-day cooking challenge, as set by Sainsbury’s. The brief is to come up with a healthy recipe or recipes that incorporate lots of fruit and vegetables – not hard for me, as I love fruit and vegetables, as does all the family, but, salads just did not appeal today with the plangent weather, and, a Sunday roast is too calorific.
So, a casserole type of hotpot was devised; a hearty BUT healthy one pot meal that would have lots of “hidden veggies” and the minimum of meat, or in this case, reduced fat sausages and chicken breast. I popped out to Sainsbury’s to buy my ingredients, and I am pleased to report that my five-a-day basketwas filled to the brim with fresh, seasonal and BRITISH vegetables – leeks, potatoes, carrots, celery and onions as well as British pork sausages and chicken. I have a beautiful and very prolific sage bush in my back garden and it occurred to me that I could cook a “Sunday Lunch” style casserole hotpot with all the elements of a roast chicken dinner – chicken of course, sausages (as in sausage stuffing or those little chipolatas you sometimes get around a roast chicken), sage (as in stuffing again) and all of the seasonal veg that would be served with a Sunday roast, but, without the extra calories.
All that remained was to select a nice bottle of wine, well it IS Sunday, and to set the table as my “Sunday Lunch” Chicken, Sausage and Vegetable Hotpot simmered away in the Aga. Dinner was served at 2pm, the wine was chilled and crisp and we enjoyed a leisurely lunch looking out at the rain that was streaming against the windows, almost like sleet, as it is was ready to snow. The hotpot was fragrant with herbs and onions, the potatoes were crisp but soft and the vegetables had melted into the lentil thickened chicken gravy style stock; the chicken was succulent and the sausages were peppery and meaty (Sainsbury’s reduced-fat pork sausages are made with British pork and have a 72% meat content in them). It was relaxing and tasty and although we both felt very full, we felt “light”, as if we had had a healthy meal, not fat-laden or full of carbs.
There is a lot of this hotpot left, as you can see from the photos, but, as I bought all my meat fresh, this will freeze beautifully and can be reheated one more time; I would defrost over night and then microwave or heat it up in a sauce pan or casserole dish on top of the stove. I hope this recipe inspires you to make it one lunch time or evening, it will make an excellent supper dish as well as a lighter and healthier Sunday lunch. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday, I am away to finish reading a book I started last week now……..see you later, Karen
As this dish only uses 6 sausages and 2 chicken breasts and contains lots of cheap seasonal vegetables, I think it qualifies for the Credit Crunch Munch that Camilla and Helen are jointly hosting every month!