Autumn is our favourite time of year and as the days grow colder we look forward to cosy evenings in with hearty suppers. This month’s Country Homes & Interiors magazine gave us inspiration for this particularly tasty feast.
After a long walk through colourful woodland a warming tipple was in order. Settling down in front of a crackling fire we enjoyed a glass of cherry brandy sourced on our recent trip to Croatia.
This was followed by a game sausage cassoulet and a very tasty pear tarte tatin with ginger and cardamom.
Here’s how to make them:
Game sausage cassoulet
250g tin haricot beans, drained
3tbsps goose fat of vegetable oil
500g game sausages (we used venison and pork, pheasant or pigeon would be equally as tasty)
2 large duck breasts
2 small onions, chopped
3 bay leaves
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 tsp ground cloves
Finely grated zest 1 orange
2 tsps tomato puree
500ml hot chicken stock
150g fresh cranberries
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees C. Heat the fat/oil in a frying pan & fry the sausages until browned all over. Transfer to a plate, then fry the duck breasts skin side down for 10 mins until deep golden. Turn over & fry for 2 mins. Lift out & cut into 2cm slices.
2. Layer the beans, sausages, duck, onions and bay leaves in an ovenproof dish & pour over the pain juices. Mix the garlic with the cloves, zest & tomato puree & stir into the stock. Transfer to the dish. Cover with a lid & cook for 1 1/2 hours.
3. Stir in the cranberries & cook for a further 30 mins.
We served this with mashed potatoes and green vegetables and it was delicious. The tangy flavours of the orange and cranberries cut through the richness of the game perfectly.
Pear tarte tatin with ginger & cardamom
1 tsp cardamom pods, crushed & the shells discarded
50g slightly salted butter
75g caster sugar
3 red-skinned desert pears
2 pieces stem ginger from a jar, drained & sliced as thinly as possible
375g pack ready rolled puff pastry
Pouring cream to serve
1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C. Melt the butter in an ovenproof frying pan measuring around 24cm in diameter. Add the sugar & heat very gently until it dissolves. Continue to heat, stirring occasionally until there’s a layer of syrup under the butter that looks toffee-like. Remove from the heat.
2. Core & slice the pears as thinly as possible & arrange in the pan in overlapping circles. Arrange the stem ginger over the top & scatter over the cardamom seeds.
3. Cut out a circle of pasty around 2cm larger than the diameter of your pan. Place over the pears tucking in the edges to create a rim when the tarte is turned out. Bake for around 30 minutes until the pastry is risen & golden. Leave to stand for around 10 mins before turning out onto a plate or board. Serve with the cream.
I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers – L.M. Montgomery
Recipes adapted from Country Home & Interiors magazine October & November issues