Sausage and butter bean hot pot

I have called this a hot-pot for more than one reason, it’s a lovely warming one pot dish, but it also has a fresh chilli and my local butcher’s spicy sausages in it, which are indeed spicy, making it a very hot pot indeed.  You can of course use any sausage you prefer. It’s an easy and quick supper which is lovely served with purple sprouting as we had it, or with pasta or rice or just some good bread to mop up the tomato-ey juices.

6 sausages (spicy if you like)
1 fresh chilli, deseeded and chopped finely
1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped finely
1 small onion, peeled and chopped finely
1 400g tin tomatoes
1 215g tin of butter beans in water, drained
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper


Place the sausages in a large pan with a little olive oil over a medium heat and brown all over.   Add the onion and cook for a few more minutes until beginning to soften, add the chilli and the garlic and cook for a further two minutes, until the onion is translucent.  Add the tomatoes, the butter beans and the bay leaf and season with pepper (don’t add the salt yet or it will toughen the beans). Stir to combine the ingredients and then cook over a gentle heat for at least 20 minutes until you have a rich tomato sauce. Add salt to taste just before serving.

If you have used spicy sausage and you find it too hot for your taste buds you can serve plain greek yoghurt alongside or stir in 2 tablespoons of yoghurt just before serving.

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Oven dried chillies


dried chillies

We had a good harvest of chillies this year from our greenhouse and polytunnel.  Too many to use fresh, despite my husband becoming addicted to slicing them raw on almost every meal put in front of him.  What is he saying about my cooking?  So we decided to dry them and crush them. We are very lucky to have an Aga, which has a warming oven that allows us to pop these in and leave them until they are ready.  They take a good twelve hours at least so this will be harder to achieve with a standard oven that you need for cooking other meals.

All we did was to place them whole onto a grill rack on a baking tray and with the oven at its lowest temperature we left them in the oven until completely dry.  We then allowed them to cool completely before grinding them in the pestle and mortar.  We put them into a sterilised jar and they should keep for ages to add a spicy kick to our dishes throughout the winter.

Drying them makes them hotter than they were fresh so less dried chilli is needed when using in recipes.

crushing chillies

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Chilli con carne/ enchiladas

chilli con carne

We often have chilli con carne.  I very often cheat and use a Schwarz chilli con carne mix if I am short of time, but if I have planned ahead and I have a couple of hours before tea time then I make this version. We sometimes have it with the spiced rice that I have already posted  or we have it as enchiladas like we did this week.  It makes a substantial meal, that is easy to prepare.

500g minced beef
1 onion chopped finely
1 clove garlic, chopped finely
1 fresh chilli, chopped finely
1½ tsp hot chilli powder
1 tsp cumin seed
a small chunk of root ginger, grated or chopped finely
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 400g tin of tomatoes
1 400g tin of red kidney beans in water
olive oil


Heat a little olive oil in a pan and add the minced beef, stir to break up whilst cooking and fry until golden brown. Lift the meat onto a plate and add the onion to the pan.  Cook the onions over a gentle heat for a few minutes until translucent.  Add the fresh chilli, the garlic and the ginger and cook for another minute.  Add the cumin seed, chilli powder and oregano and return the meat to the pan.  Give everything a good stir and add the tomatoes, the vinegar and sugar and the red kidney beans. Stir well to combine.  Place a lid on the pan and cook over a gentle heat, stirring occasionally for at least an hour, preferably nearer two hours if you have the time.   Season with salt and pepper to taste just before serving.

If you want to have enchiladas and you fancy my greek-mexican fusion you will need 6 flour tortillas, 150g greek yoghurt and 200g feta cheese. Divide the chilli mixture between the six tortillas  and place in a baking dish, spread the yoghurt over the tortillas and crumble over the feta.  Place in a preheated oven at 180° c (gas mark4) for 10-15 minutes until golden brown on top.

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