Sausages, Chickpeas and Chard

I am writing up this recipe for Matthew Stuart after he requested it via a message from the Instagram account for his publishing project Bricks from the Kiln. This dish was part of a 3 course meal that I made for my friend Zoe when she visited, it was the first time I had cooked for her in a while, because of the pandemic lockdown.

We ate

small purple artichokes from the allotment, trimmed of tough bits then boiled in salted water until tender, then halved or quartered and laid on a large plate and dressed with red wine vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper. served room temperature with toast dressed with more olive oil and salt

sausages with chickpeas – which I cooked after we’d eaten the artichokes: it is simple and quick enough to cook as you go – with green salad, details of dressing below

reiz kugel/rice pudding made to Claudia Roden’s recipe with rhubarb – which I made just before Zoe arrived, and which she finished for me by stirring the egg yolks in at the end so the milk takes on a custard-like texture. more on that here and here.

Sausages, Chickpeas and Chard

2 tins chickpeas, drained
4 fat tasty sausages, preferably Italian style with fennel and garlic (use more sausages if you are not having other courses, these were just how many I had)
1/2 a red pepper, finely diced
3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
a large bunch of chard, washed and drained
4 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 lemon

How to make:
Add the olive oil to a large frying pan, big enough for all the ingredients and put the heat on low-medium. Prick the sausages all over. Add them to the pan and stand by, turning them every now and then as they bronze. When they are lightly bronzed all over, turn the heat down and add in the finely diced red pepper and finely chopped garlic and turn it around in the oil for a minute or until it’s aromatic (though not acrid or browning!). Before the garlic has coloured add the chickpeas and toss in the oil. Fry the chickpeas with the sausages for a further 5-ish minutes, or until the sausages are cooked through. In a separate saucepan, boil 2cm of water with a teaspoon of salt in and when it’s boiling, throw in the chard and put a lid on, cook for a minute, then drain well in a colander. Add the chard to the pan and stir it all together so the flavoured oil is coating things and the chard is distributed amongst the chickpeas.

Leave to rest a bit if you like and then, just before serving (not before), squeeze over 1/2 a lemon and check the seasoning, add more salt and pepper if you like. Chilli flakes would also be a good addition. Serve.

I served this with a green salad dressed with: 1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar, a teaspoon of dijon mustard, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper, scant pinch of sugar


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