Another year another Jamie – Sausage Gnocchi with a Warm Kale Salad

Last year was the year of Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals.  This year it’s the year of Jamie’s 15 minute meals.  I’m still not convinced that the meals can be put together in their suggested time, but the meals do come together fairly quickly and are quite flavourful.  This recipe for Sausage Gnocchi and warm Kale salad is easy to pull together and with a few additions, is pretty healthy.  

A recent study published in the British Medical Journal, covered by the Guardian has found that many recipes from famous chefs such as Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson, and even Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstal, contained more calories and fat than ready-made meals available in supermarkets.  Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has since published a response.  I have to admit, I think that ultimately, it comes down to balance.  I can’t imagine that eating nothing but ready-meals from the supermarket would lead to a long term, healthy outcome.  I also can’t imagine that eating nothing but Jamie’s courgette carbonara, Nigella’s guinness cake, or even Hugh’s wild mushroom croquette’s would lead to long term, healthy outcomes either.  While we don’t eat many ready-meals, I do try to pay attention to what I’m putting into our meals, using more vegetables, smaller protein portions, and foods that are as close to their natural state as possible (back away from the spam people).  

That brings me to kale.  How often do you eat kale?  It wasn’t something that I ate very often growing up, but have since come to love.  It’s a healthy winter green that holds up to a quick steam or boil and makes for a quick and easy warm salad.  

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Sausage Gnocchi with a Warm Bean and Kale Salad – from Jamie’s 15 minute meals

4 sausages, removed from their casing
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp rosemary
125 ml red wine (chianti is recommended but I went with a pinot noir we had on hand)
200 g sprouting broccoli, stems sliced into 2cm chunks
1 pkg frozen spinach, thawed, drained OR 3-4 handful of fresh spinach
700 g passata
400 g gnocchi – frequently found in the fresh pasta section of your grocery store

2 slices of bacon
40 g hazelnuts
1 tsp maple syrup
200 g green beans
400 g kale (or other hearty winter green)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp cider vinegar
salt and pepper

Bring a large pot of water to the boil.  In a small frying pan, cook the bacon and hazelnuts together, adding a tsp of maple syrup as it cooks together.  Set aside.  Add the beans to the boiling water, cooking for 1-2 minutes before adding the kale.  Boil for an additional minute or two before straining.  Keep the boiling water!!!  

Cook the sausage meat over medium heat in a large frying pan, adding the fennel and rosemary.  Break the meat apart and stir as the sausage cooks.  Pour the wine over the sausage and allow to reduce.  Once the wine has reduced and the pan is a bit more dry, add in the broccoli tips and sliced broccoli stems, spinach, and passata.  Allow to bubble away together.  

Cook the gnocchi in the boiling water leftover from cooking the beans and kale – the gnocchi take only 1-2 minutes and are finished when they rise to the top of the water.  Drain the gnocchi and add to the sausage mixture, tossing to coat.  

Add the olive oil and cider vinegar to a large bowl.  Toss the beans and kale in the dressing, season with salt and pepper and top with the bacon, hazelnut and maple syrup mixture.  Serve alongside the sausage gnocchi.  

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