There are some days when nothing seems appealing from what's on the dinner menu and cooking seems tedious. Today was one such day that was spent largely catching up with sundry chores and dealing with a few things from the larger picture that is life. I was tired. I needed comfort. I wanted it easy for a little while. And I wanted to eat something nice. I press ganged the hubby and the mother into helping and cooked a simple casserole that was warm and comforting, just what I needed.
I had rooted through the freezer and removed the remaining fat and juicy pork sausages that a friend brought for us all the way from Bangalore. (Another friend has since brought us more, and that is waiting to be collected) These sausages are great in a stew or casserole and that's what I planned to make. However there were just 5 sausages left and on their own they wouldn't be enough. The hubby went out and bought chicken, and some lovely fresh ladi pav from the local bakery.
I also rooted around in my pantry cupboard and fished out a packet of casserole seasoning that my friend had sent from London. The hubby and the mother peeled and chopped potatoes, sliced onions, peeled garlic, and chopped celery. Once the prep was done it was super easy.
Chicken Casserole with Pork Sausages
1 whole chicken, cut into pieces
5 or 6 fat spiced pork sausages, like English breakfast sausages
2 large onions, thickly sliced
2 -3 potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
8-10 cloves of garlic
2 tablesoons chopped fresh celery, stem and leaves
1 sachet Colman's Season and Shake Pork Casserole spice mix
Heat a stove top casserole dish and pour in a slug of olive oil. Place the sausages and cook for a few minutes till they turn brown. Don't worry if the sausages split. Remove to a dish leaving the oil and juices in the pan. Now in the same pan put in the chicken pieces. Drop in the leg pieces and the bony bits first. Braise for a bit till the chicken starts to brown.
Add in the onions, celery and the garlic. Stir for a few minutes and then add the remaining chicken pieces (mainly the meaty breast pieces). Braise further till the chicken turns opaque. Open the seasoning sachet and sprinkle it all over the chicken and onions. Stir and mix well. Now add the potatoes and cook for a further few minutes.
Pour in enough water to cover the chicken pieces completely. Add the sausages and bring to a boil. Simmer and cook covered till the potatoes are cooked through. The spice mix will also thicken the resulting gravy. Add a little salt only if required.
The casserole is ready once the chicken and the potatoes are cooked. Serve hot with fresh bread.
If you don't have the spice sachet you can still make a very good casserole. Use a tablespoon or so of mixed dried herbs instead, along with a stock cube. Add pepper too. Thicken the gravy with some flour.
Use more veggies if you like. Root vegetables will work very well here, as will mushrooms. Make a pot full and enjoy it with fresh dinner rolls, ladi pav, or even regular sliced white bread.
We sat at the table, all three of us, and ate a family dinner - a rarity in my house!