We are in full on holiday mode around here with cozy scented candles, pumpkins + leaves casually decorating the house and hearty soups simmering away on the stove top. Never mind the fact that it’s been in the 70’s in the Bay Area…I’m making it feel like the holidays regardless of the weather’s willingness to cooperate. Besides the obvious pull towards warm and comforting food this time of year I find myself drawn to soups because they are an easy way to ensure a healthy meal (plus leftovers) during a season of temptations galore. For that reason this month I’m going to be sharing some of my favorite healthy soup recipes to keep you eating clean on the lead up to the BEST HOLIDAY EVER so you can have those extra bites without feeling guilty.
The Hemsley Sisters are two of my favorite British foodie discoveries as their approach to food so closely matches mine. So it was fitting that I found this hearty stew recipe of theirs to try while my sister was in town and we were able to make and eat in together. Not always the easiest since I’m gluten free and she is dairy free. This magical recipe works! I made it more like a soup/stew but you can go for the heartier approach and serve over mash as they do in the video below. Lasts for days (and gets even better) in the fridge for an easy lunch or dinner on the go.
Cider + Sausage Stew, recipe courtesy of the Hemsley and Hemsley (makes enough for an army, about 8 servings)
2 tbsp high heat oil like coconut oil or ghee
8 sausages (I used Applegate mild Italian Chicken Sausage, but only because I couldn’t find a clean uncooked option)
2 medium onions, diced
2 medium leeks, sliced
4 garlic cloves, diced
3 celery sticks, diced
500ml dry organic cider (no added sugar)
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 tbsp mustard
3 large pinches dried herbs like rosemary, sage, thyme (double if using fresh)
2 dried bay leaves
2 large handfuls fresh parsley
500ml bone broth (or vegetable stock)
2 swedes (rutabaga in the US) peeled and diced – I used one large yam only because I couldn’t find rutabaga, next time
4 large carrots roughly chopped
sea salt & black pepper
Heat 1 tablespoon of the ghee in a large pan or casserole dish over a medium heat. Brown the sausages for about 30 seconds on each side, then set the sausages aside. You might need to do this in two batches to avoid overcrowding, otherwise they will start to steam rather than brown.
In the same pan, heat the remaining ghee over a medium heat and add the onions, leeks, garlic and celery. Sauté for 5 minutes or more until soft. Add the tomato purée, mustard and herbs, including the parsley stalk ends but not the fresh parsley leaves, and stir. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Throw in the rest of the vegetables, cover the pan, reduce the heat to a medium simmer and cook for 30 minutes or more until the vegetables are tender.
Pour in the cider to deglaze the pan, turn up the heat and let it bubble away until it reduces. Use a wooden spatula to scrape the bottom of the pan and release any caramelised, browned bits. Meanwhile, slice each sausage at an angle and add to the pan for the last 15 minutes of cooking. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper.
Add more liquid for a soupier stew or cook without a lid for a thicker, richer sauce if preferred. Alternatively, remove some of the sauce and vegetables and blend to make a thick, creamy sauce before stirring it back into the pan. Stir in the parsley leaves to serve.