I adore meals I can make in a flash, but now that winter’s (finally!) here, I’ve happily settled into the habit of preparing dishes that require longer cooking times…dishes with deep, intense flavors.

I am not talking about doing more work in the kitchen, though. If anything, I am doing less, since I’m just tossing my ingredients into various cooking vessels and letting them simmer away while I go do something else.

This braised sausage and tomatoes with chard and poached eggs was inspired by “A Casserole of Artichokes and Pork For Deepest Winter”, the recipe for which appears in Tender: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch by Nigel Slater. This book, which I recently gifted myself, is beyond lovely: I am not exaggerating when I say I want to make every recipe within its 618 pages.

And Leo’s enjoying it, too :)

I started by cooking 2 big sausages (that I dug out of my freezer) over high heat in some olive oil. You could use more, especially if they’re on the small side. Spicy sausages are great.

When they’re nicely browned on all sides, take the sausages out of the pan and set them aside…but don’t clean the pan.

Peel and chop your onion, and peel your garlic cloves, while the sausage is cooking.

Then, after you’ve removed the sausages from the pan, add a bit more olive oil and toss in the onion and the garlic. Allow to cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes, moving the contents of pan around every now and then.

Next, add the tomatoes.

Tuck 1 lemon, cut into 8 slices, around the edges of the pan.

Turn the heat down to low, and allow everything in the pan to simmer away for another 20-25 minutes.

Then, slice up the sausages and add them to the pan along with the chard (I also added leftovers from the previous night’s roasted rosemary potatoes at this point).

Stir everything together, then cook for another 5 minutes or so.

You could eat this now, if you like. It makes a great topping for gluten-free or regular pasta, or you can spoon some over quinoa, brown rice, or another grain. Or serve it alongside roasted potatoes.

Or, if you want to include the eggs, you just crack them on top of the contents of the pan, cover, and cook until they’re set.

Sprinkle a little coarse sea salt and grind some pepper on top before serving. You’re not going to want to eat the lemons, but I think you’ll love the special something they add to this dish.

Note that I don’t generally eat fresh tomatoes in the winter, but I had a few pints of the cherry variety on hand because my daughter just loves them. I haven’t tried this with canned tomatoes, but I think it will work out just fine with those. If you want to make this dish vegetarian, omit the sausages and start by sautéing the onions and garlic. Feel free to add some additional vegetables and/or spices to the braise, if you like (or make Shakshuka).

Braised Sausage and Tomatoes with Swiss Chard and Poached Eggs

Yield: serves 3-4

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Total Time: 65 minutes

Ingredients:

*olive oil
*2 large, all natural/organic sausage links (or use 4-8 smaller ones)
*1 large onion
*6 average sized garlic cloves
*about 3 cups organic cherry tomatoes (or use a 28 oz. can of organic plum tomatoes)
*1 big handful of organic swiss chard (or use another green like kale), rinsed well and chopped
*4 eggs, preferably organic and free range (I use eggs from my backyard chickens)
*Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions:

1. In a cast-iron or other skillet, brown the sausages all over in olive oil. Set aside.

2. Peel onion and garlic cloves. Cut onion into about 8 sections, and add with the garlic to the pan in which you cooked the sausages.

3. Allow onions and garlic to cook over medium heat until quite soft, about 15 minutes.

4. Add the tomatoes to the pan with the onions and the garlic. Stir everything around, tuck the lemon slices around the sides of the pan, add about 1/2 cup of water, then allow to cook over medium heat for another 20-30 minutes. Add an additional 1/2 cup of water if the pan becomes too dry (if using the canned tomatoes, you can use the tomato liquid instead of water).

5. Slice up the cooked sausages and add with the chard to the pan, stir everything around, and simmer for about 5 more minutes.

6. Crack eggs over the contents of the skillet. Cover and keep over very low heat until the eggs are set. Add salt and freshly ground pepper before serving.