Wednesday, 16 November 2011

A spot of midweek cheating

As I mentioned the other day, I was quite ready to cheat a little on my first attempt to make pie. It was only on reading the ingredients of a ready-made pack of pastry that I decided to do otherwise.

But late last week, although I got back to Broadway Market quite early after work, the butcher was closed. My plan for sausages went out of the window – and I certainly wasn’t tempted to revert to my old habit of buying rubbish, mass-produced ones.

Wandering into a general store to buy a couple of odds and ends, and musing over what to put on the menu, the germ of an idea formed.

I picked up some smoked Mattesson’s sausage (not bad on the ingredients front) and two tins of mushy peas. I midweek cheat was in mind.

Back at home, I peeled and chopped a large carrot, a parsnip, the remainder of the swede we’d had with the pie and a hefty potato. All these were then boiled together until nearly cooked.

After being thoroughly drained, they went into a larger pan with the mushy peas. Some boiling water was added and stirred in very carefully to thin down the peas. The sausage was sliced and added, with chopped parsley going in just before it was finished.

This was heated through very gently with the lid on – and then, hey presto!

This was a seriously easy midweek version of the Dutch classic, Erwtensoep, which I’ve been cooking for some years (there are also very similar versions in German cooking, in the UK of course and pretty much throughout northern Europe).

The full version takes some time (restaurant version pictures above, with smoked bacon on rye bread to accompany) – not least because you have to soak the peas for two hours before cooking everything at one go, very slowly.

The proper version also used more than one kind of meat, but in this circumstance, the smoked sausage was enough. My original recipe would have included celeriac and not parsnip and swede. But using those root vegetables together hardly defied culinary logic.

And the parsley, added just near the end, lends a nice little zing to the finished dish.

This was an easy way to use up some veg – and make something hearty, comforting and decently nutritious, and all in quite short order.

Midweek cheating can work!

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