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Delicious, Pure and Simple

Throw some leeks, apples, and aromatics into a pan...

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I made the best lunch last weekend.  Well, I can’t take all the credit; the recipe that got me started was from Diana Henry’s new book, Pure Simple Cooking. She’s a British food writer and TV personality, and man, does she know her stuff.  As I skimmed through her book each recipe sounded more delicious than the next. I settled on making the Baked Sausages with Leeks, Apples, and Cider. It was so easy!  Chop 2 large leeks into about 1-inch pieces, and throw them into a roasting pan. Next come a few Braeburn apples, halved, cored, and cut into thick wedges. Finish everything off with a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme, a healthy pour of olive oil, and salt and pepper.  Into a 425-degree oven the pan goes.  I decided to let the veg and fruit get a head start while I browned chicken-apple sausages in a cast-iron skillet.  When the sausages were dark golden brown, I added them to the roasting pan, along with a cup or so of hard cider.  The main course of my lunch was essentially done, and I felt like I had hardly done a thing.

When the sausages were cooked through but still juicy (after about 40 minutes in the oven), there was still a lot of liquid in the bottom of the roasting pan, and the apples and leeks weren’t as browned as I wanted.  So, I put the pan over medium-high heat on the stovetop to let the juices reduce. 10 minutes later, after swirling in a tablespoon of butter, the apples and leeks were slightly caramelized, the juices had reduced into a luscious sauce, and lunch was good to go.  I served it with creme fraiche mashed potatoes and a big, green salad with pine nuts (there was plenty of time to prepare the sides while everything else was roasting). Four of us ate ourselves silly at that meal, and there was enough leftover for a light dinner for two that night, and a wonderful breakfast for me the next morning.  Thank you, Diana Henry!


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