Tag Archives: Casserole Recipes

Pork and Cider Stew with Sage Dumplings

Now, I am not one for semantics but was in a bit of a pickle as to whether this pork and cider stew with sage dumplings really was a stew, or whether it would be better classified as a casserole which then led me to looking on the internet for a definitive distinction between the two and abruptly stopped when I saw Marco Pierre White said “there’s no bloody difference at all!”. I went with stew because what sort of a monster has dumplings with a casserole?!

Pork and cider is such a classic combination but I was slightly worried about it being a bit too sweet in stew form so added the mustard to calm it down. The amount used just rounded the edges off the sweetness without adding any kick. You could certainly add more mustard if you wanted to have a spicier taste.

We are slowly getting into a routine here at Blunty’s, but there has been call for many late night suppers recently, which means preparing ahead but also making sure we’re eating well in a way that warms us from the inside out.  We’re still battling to stop the heating being turned on!

These quantities served two for supper and then a little lunch each the next day.

Pork and Cider Stew with Sage Dumplings

Pork and Cider Stew with Sage Dumplings


  • 4 pork shoulder steaks (diced)
  • 1.5 cans cider
  • 2 onions cut in strips
  • 5 or 6 mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp rosemary
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • 1 grated garlic clove (or squeeze of garlic paste)
  • 1 large tbsp Dijon mustard
  • Olive oil for frying
  • Dumplings:
  • 80g vegetable suet
  • 160g self-raising flour
  • 2 tbsp sage
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • some cold water
  • A beaten egg


  1. Heat a casserole pot as high as the hob will allow and aggressively brown the diced pork, you want to add colour without cooking the pork through or it won’t be as tender at the end. I did this in 4 batches, deglazing the pan with cider between batches and then pouring in over the resting pork.
  2. Throw the onions into the pot) and give them a decent amount of colour before pouring in the cider and all other ingredients (except mushrooms).
  3. Add the browned pork and pop it into a 130° oven with the lid on for 2 hours. Checking every so often to adjust flavour etc. and add more cider if need to (provided you haven’t polished off the can!).
  4. While the stew is slowly cooking combine the flour, salt, suet and herbs and slowly add the water a bit at a time. you don’t want to over-work it and leave it so you can still see grains of suet but it is a soft dough. - You want to let the dumpling mixture rest for half an hour before using it.
  5. When you are 30 minutes from serving time add the mushrooms and Roll the dumpling mix into balls and gently place them on top of the stew, try to avoid them sinking down too low, also given them plenty of space to expand, giving them a light egg wash to help them go golden and put the stew back in the oven at a temperature of 180° for the last 30 minutes.
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If you liked this stew, why not try some of our other winter warmers such as this Chicken and Chorizo Cassoulet or this simple Coq au Vin?

Sausage, Bacon and Bean Casserole

This is a busy time of year for everyone, especially those of us who have full-time jobs, but for whom it’s still important to fit in a decent home-cooked meal. This little beauty is warming, packed full of veg and it’s a slow cooker: once it’s going you can just leave it bubbling away til it’s ready. Prepare in the early evening if you want to eat at about 8, or prepare in the afternoon for an early Sunday supper and kick back with a Christmas film in between. 
To feed 2, you will need:  

3 rashers of smoked bacon (you can use more or less, I just had that amount to use up)

6 good pork sausages from the butcher

2 cloves garlic 

1 onion

2 medium carrots 

1 red pepper

2 cans plum tomatoes

1 Knorr Chicken stock cube 

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried parsley 

1/2 tsp mild chilli powder 

Salt and pepper 

A few sprigs fresh thyme (or dried)

A dash of Worcestershire sauce 

1 can cannellini beans 

Dash olive oil 

1 Knorr beef stock pot, optional but delightful 

1. Add a little olive oil to the bottom of a casserole or stock pot. If you don’t have either, do this in your biggest frying pan or saucepan, but transfer to an ovenproof casserole dish once everything is combined and pop it in the oven at 170C instead of leaving it on the hob. Once hot, fry off the bacon then remove and set-aside. 

2. Repeat with the sausages. Don’t worry if the base starts to blacken if you’re using a cast-iron casserole dish – it’ll de-glaze later. Once the sausages have bren browned on all sides, remove and set them aside with the bacon. 

3. Whilst there’s a whole lotta browning going on, chop the vegetables. I go relatively fine with the carrots and little chunkier than usual with the onions as they’ll gradually break down in the sauce. 

4. If necessary, add a little more oil to the casserole, then chuck in the onion and pepper and let them caramelise down a bit. Grate in the garlic and throw in the carrots. Give that a few stirs, and allow it to cook out for a few minutes.

5. If you’ve made it this far, you’re on the home stretch! Throw in the tinned tomatoes and stir, using your rio den spoon to break them up a little.

6. Dissolve a chicken stock cube in a little water (around half a can’s worth) in one of the used tomato cans. I like to swill it around in both before pouring a little into the sauce. Set the rest aside as you may need it to thin out the sauce a little more later. 


7. Throw in the herbs, spices, beef stock pot and seasoning and stir well, turning the heat down to a simmer. 
8. Chop up the bacon and add it back in (I remove any remaining far from the bacon at this stage) then place the sausages into the sauce. They should still be quite firm, but just try to be careful when stirring things up to avoid breaking up the sausages. If you’re using a dish in the oven, place the sausages into the dish at this stage, finish making the sauce and then combine it all in the dish, before covering with a lid or foil and sliding it into the oven. 

9. Add in the cannellini beans and carefully stir together. 

10. Put the fresh thyme on top and stick the lid on.  Now you can walk away from it, checking on it every half hour or so (when you make another cup of tea or top up your wine glass), give it a stir and add a little more stock if it’s getting too thick. 

11. After it’s been simmering altogether for an hour to an hour and a half, serve in shallow bowls with some green veg and a hunk of crusty bread. Bon appetit!


Chilli Con Dos Carnes

I’ve made basic Chilli Con Carne more times than I can remember. But I was reading Nigella’s Kitchen the other day and thought that her version, which features cocoa powder and chorizo, might be worth a try, especially as I had chorizo in the fridge. This recipe, therefore, combines elements of her recipe and my own (although I’m not convinced the cocoa powder added much!)

I just ate mine with some home-made guacamole and baked tortilla chips with a light sprinkling of Gruyère over the top while it was still hot from the pot. It’s warming, it’s filing and it’s (mostly) full of goodness. And let’s face it, there’s not much better than a pot of chilli bubbling on the stove on a Sunday afternoon!

You will need: 

110g approx. of cooking chorizo

500g beef mince (or lean steak mince if you can get it)

1 tsp cocoa powder

1 tsp dried oregano

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp mild chilli powder 

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 clove garlic, grated or finely chopped 

1 knob of fresh ginger, grated

Salt and pepper 

1tbsp tomato purée 

1 normal tin of chopped tomatoes (400g approx.)

1/2 tomato tin of hot water swirled around to catch the remnants (full can of not using the coffee)

1 good splash Worcestershire sauce

1 can kidney beans 

1 carrot

1 onion

1 pepper 

1/2 cup brewed coffee (optional)

Beef stock (optional) – I used 1 Knorr Stock Pot

1. Slice the onion, carrot and pepper however you like and add to a casserole dish which has been preheating on the job with a splash of oil in it and cook until starting to soften. 

2. Slice the chorizo into thick disks, then quarter the disks. Add a new pan on a low heat and cook on both sides until starting to brown, and until you see the fat starts to render out. You can, of course, cook this in the main casserole dish if you’d like; I just prefer it this way so you can control how much fat ends up in the final Chilli. 

3. Add the grated garlic and ginger, stir, then add the tomato purée, turning down the heat to avoid the garlic burning and to help the tomato purée to render out into sweetness. Then add the chorizo to the vegetables, and however much fat you wish to include. I used quite a hot chorizo so I got rid of all of the rendered fat, leaving a residue in the pan for browning the mince. 


4. How you continue at this point is up to you, but for me, this was dictated by the size of my casserole dish!  You want to gently brown the mince, not boil it, so if you don’t have alot of space in the casserole (or large saucepan), I would advice browning the mince in the pan you used for the chorizo. Add the mince to the pan in batches, making sure you don’t overcrowd the pan, occasionally flipping and stirring it, until it had sealed all over. Sprinkle the mince with the cocoa, dried herbs and dried spices. 

5. Add the mince to the casserole, stir into the vegetables and add the tomatoes, water, stock, coffee and Worcestershire sauce. Give it all a good stir and allow to simmer on a low heat for at least 40 minutes, but 1 or 2 hours would be best, stirring occasionally. If it starts to get dry, add in some more water or coffee. 

6. When you think you’re about half an hour or so from the finish, strain the kidney beans and add them to the Chilli. I like to rinse them out as well, as they seem to accumulate a purple goo in the tin which perturbs me a little!

7. Continue to simmer until you’re happy with it, adding any other seasonings you feel are needed to taste.  Serve with rice, tortilla chips, salad, tacos, whatever! The world is your kidney bean. It is fantastic with sweet potato wedges, with lashings of cheese, sour cream and guacamole. 


¡Buen provecho!