Autumn veg lentil stew with shredded chicken and sauteed chard

Continuing on from my Autumn/Fall drive to eat seasonally I’ve plundered my plot for some of the veggies for this dish. It’s so lovely to still be picking at this time of year and shows that with a little planning your plot can work for you throughout the winter. Mr Kate’s Table planting guide is coming soon.

I love to prep a big pile of diced veggies to add to any of my dishes during the week but I wanted to make the point that this isn’t the only way to prep. Many of us don’t have the time or inclination to chop lots of veggies and that’s when your food processor can come in handy. I use the mini processor attachment of my Bamix all the time to shred, grate and chop, it is the most used bit of kit in my small kitchen. In this recipe I grated my veggies in here to make life easier.

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Autumn veg lentil stew with shredded chicken and sauteed chard

This dish would make a great ‘meat free Monday’ meal too, just leave out the shredded Chicken and maybe roast in the oven a lovely big Portobello mushroom drizzled with a little olive oil and crush some garlic to pop inside, 20mins at a medium heat. Alternatively to turn them into something more luxurious add a glass of red wine and a handful of bacon lardons and serve with some Toulouse sausages. I love having leftovers of these lentils, they reheat well and make a great lunch to take to work or to make one of the suppers above.

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Serves 4 with lentil leftovers for at least x 2 lunches/suppers

Ingredients – Lentils

1 Red onion

2 medium/large carrots

2 medium/large parsnips

2 cloves garlic – crushed

Parsley

400g lentils

1 serving spoon tomato puree

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tin chopped tomatoes

1 Chicken/vegetable stock cube

1 small bunch parsley, 1 sprig rosemary

Ingredients – Chicken and chard

500g Chicken thighs

1 sprig rosemary and 3 cloves of garlic

Large handful of chard/kale leaves sliced thinly, use the stalks

Method

Pre-heat your oven to 180/350. Crush your garlic cloves with the back of your knife, leaving the skin on. Pop your chicken thighs into a small roasting tin and nestle your rosemary and garlic cloves in between them. Roast in the oven for 25mins whilst you complete the steps below.

Slice your washed chard/kale leaves thinly and set aside.

Peel or wash your veggies, parsnip, carrot and onion. Chop these into large chunks for grating or chopping in your food processor. Chop your onion first and set aside, the carrot and parsnip can be done together.

Add your olive oil to a large heavy bottomed pan/wok with a lid, heat the oil over a medium heat and add your chopped red onion. Stir until beginning to soften and then add your grated veggies.

Once your veggies have softened, this will take about 4 mins, add your lentils, tomatoes, stock cube, herbs and tomato puree. Reduce your heat to a low simmer and pop a lid on your pan and leave to cook for approx 30mins. Your lentils should not need additional liquid but if they are cooking fast then add ½ cup of hot water to the mix.

Your lentils should be tender but still maintain their shape, nothing worse than a soggy lentil!! Once you are happy with the texture of your lentils replace the lid of the pan and set aside on a very low heat.

Remove your chicken thighs from the oven and shred between two forks on a chopping board. Set aside. Remove your garlic cloves and set aside. Leave the chicken juices in the roasting tin.

Pour your chicken juices into a heavy bottomed pan/wok on a high heat (if your chicken hasn’t thrown off at least a tablespoon of juices then add 1 tablespoon of olive oil). Once the juices heated add your chard/kale and squeeze your garlic cloves into the mix too.

Once these have wilted add your chicken and just stir through, add salt and pepper to taste and serve on a bed of warm lentils.

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Pork, cider and Autumn veg lasagne

Sunday and the small one and I decided to swerve rugby, both of us have colds and are feeling less than sparkly. Off we went to kick up the fallen leaves at Polesden Lacey. Small one has his ‘show and tell’ next week so we took a box and filled it to the brim with all sorts of Autumnal treasures, conkers, chestnuts, poppies, seed heads and much, much more. The sunshine was welcome and we headed for home with the sunroof open, what a treat!

On the way home I was contemplating what we should have for Sunday supper and full of Autumn inspiration we made a little detour for cider and a swede (I know how to have fun!). One of my favourite dishes is pork chops tray baked with apples but not a chop to be found on our detour. However they did have some super free-range pork mince that inspired me to make this gorgeously rich and tasty treat of a supper.

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Pork, cider and Autumn veg lasagne

Pork mince, carrots, swede, parsnip bubbling away with cider, rosemary and thyme made for a heady scent in my kitchen. This is a rich dish and makes for a great treat, however there will be enough ragu leftover for at least one more supper once you’ve made your lasagne. The leftover ragu I’ll simmer away with a little tomato passata for the boys to have with spaghetti tonight, who doesn’t love an easy Monday night supper?
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Serves: 6/8 with plenty of leftover ragu to freeze or use later in the week

Ingredients – Ragu

1kg pork mince

2 brown onions

1/2 swede

3 medium/large carrots

1 large parsnip

3 cloves garlic – sliced

1 organic chicken stock cube

2 teaspoons dijon mustard

4 slices streaky smoked bacon

500ml cider

80g ground almonds

1 tablespoon olive oil

200g pasta sheets

250g ricotta cheese

1 large sprig fresh rosemary. 4 sprigs of fresh thyme – remove stalks  & 1 bay leaf

Ingredients – White sauce

30g butter

500ml organic milk

45g plain flour (I use gluten free but that’s personal preference)

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground mace

50g parmesan cheese

Method

There are a lot of veggies to dice up for this dish, if the kitchen is your happy place then by all means hand chop them all, however when I’m after speed and ease I’d chop them in my Bamix or food processor.

Peel your veggies. Dice or use the processor to prepare the onion, garlic, carrots, parsnips and swede. Pre-heat your oven to 180 °/375/Gas 5.

Heat your olive oil in a hot, heavy bottomed pan or wok and add your veggie mix (sofrito), stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. While your veggies soften diced your bacon and add this to the sofrito. Once this mix has softened and your bacon is no longer translucent add your pork mince, breaking it apart with the back of the spoon to prevent big lumps forming.

The pork mince will need moving around the pan constantly to ensure that it cooks evenly. Once the mince has all changed colour add the leaves of your herbs, the chicken stock cube and dijon mustard.

Once these ingredients are stirred through you can add all of the cider and reduce the heat to a simmer.

Simmer for 30 mins on a low/medium heat, if you feel it needs more liquid add a 1/4 cup of water at most. Once simmered add your ground almonds, stir through and allow to simmer on a low heat for 10 mins while you make the white sauce.

Place a large saucepan on a medium heat and add the butter. Once melted add the flour and use a wooden spoon to mix together well. Stir continuously and once combined add the milk a splash at a time until it starts to thicken. Add your spices and stir thoroughly. You may not need all of the milk, it depends on which type of flour you use. Stop adding milk once the consistency is that it will not drip off the back of your wooden spoon. Remove from the heat.

Finely grate the parmesan cheese and stir into the white sauce.

Ladle one third of your ragu into an oven proof dish 20 x 25 approx, spreading it out to an even layer. Add one third of your ricotta cheese dotted on top. Cover with a layer of lasagne sheets. Repeat twice and top with the white sauce.

Bake in the oven for 40 mins or until browned on top and the pasta is soft enough to cut through with ease (cover with foil if the top is browning too fast). Allow to cool for 10 mins, it gets pretty nuclear! Serve with a soft green salad or some steamed tenderstem broccoli.