Chicken, Sausage and Apple Casserole and Berries with Maple Cream

by Kristin on November 11, 2009

Earlier this year, I was working on a cookbook and came to realize that there are just some things that I’m probably never going to cook — things like wood pigeon, pheasant, partridge or oxtail. I completely skip over the chapters on feathered game and furred game in the Jamie at Home cookbook. And even though I’ll now eat both white and black pudding (aka blood sausage), I won’t touch things like tripe or kidneys and I couldn’t bring myself to try haggis when I was in Edinburgh several years ago. For this Yank, raised on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, I’m not terribly adventurous when it comes to food; pâté is the closet I get to eating offal. I’m just glad I didn’t dismiss this recipe out of hand when I first came across it last year, seeing as how it calls for rabbit. Lucky for me, Nigel Slater also explicitly said you could substitute chicken, otherwise I would never have tried what is now my favorite autumn casserole. But if you want to make it with rabbit, go right ahead. Just don’t ask me over to dinner.

Chicken, Sausage and Apple Casserole
adapted from Nigel Slater in The Observer

Serves 6

3 tablespoons olive oil
6 boneless chicken breasts (though you could use other bone-in chicken pieces if you prefer)
6 to 8 good-quality sausages
2 large onions, roughly chopped
4 dessert apples (such as Granny Smith, McIntosh, Cox’s Orange Pippin or Braeburn), peeled, cored and chopped
3 sprigs rosemary, chopped
2 tablespoons flour
2 bay leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 1/4 cups (540 ml) apple cider or juice, chicken stock or, at a push, water
1/4 cup (60 ml) brandy (optional)
2 x 14-oz (400‑g) cans of cannellini, flageolet or haricot beans
3 tablespoons double cream (optional)
1 tablespoon cider vinegar (or more to taste)
crusty bread, to serve

Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot. Add the chicken breasts and sausages and let them brown nicely on all sides.

Remove the meat to a plate and add the onions to the pan. Let them soften without coloring, about 10 minutes. Add the apple, allowing it to color on all sides, adding more oil if necessary. Stir in the chopped rosemary, flour, bay leaves, salt and pepper, then the cider/juice or stock and brandy, if using. Let the liquid bubble for a couple of minutes, stirring to dissolve any crusty bits from the bottom of the pot. Stir in the drained, cooked beans. Add the chicken and sausage back to the pot, nestling them down into the liquid as much as possible.

Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, covered. Check the meat is tender, then stir in the cream if you are using it and the cider vinegar. The sauce should be quite sweet, but if it’s too much so, reduce it by stirring in more cider vinegar. Check the seasoning, adding more salt, pepper, and cider vinegar as necessary. Serve in shallow bowls, with plenty of good crusty bread to mop up the sauce.


Berries with Maple Cream
adapted from Every Day with Rachel Ray

Serves 8

Bon Appétit has a similar version of this, using frozen maple cream. I’d still like to try the Bon Appétit recipe someday, since it doesn’t require an ice cream maker, but this version is much faster and easier if you want a quick treat.

1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream
4 tablespoons maple syrup
3 cups (1 lb) assorted fresh or frozen berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries)
zest of 1 lemon or orange

In a large bowl, beat the cream until soft peaks form. Add the maple syrup and beat until the cream holds stiff peaks. Set aside. In another bowl, toss the berries with the lemon zest. Divide among 8 bowls and top with the maple cream.

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