One of the best things about the onset of autumn? Getting out my Le Creuset casserole pot. Seriously.
The rest of the year, it still gets its fair share of action (curries, summer soups, etc.) but like the duffel coat and the woolly tight, autumn and winter are when it really comes into its own.
On a Sunday, whilst reading the paper and listening to the radio, there is nothing better than whacking in some lovely ingredients and then leaving it to simmer and smell nice for the afternoon (that is if, like me, you like the aromas of cooking food more than anything else in the world – others may prefer to buy a scented candle). Better yet, leave it on low and go out for a bracing walk.
Chicken, root vegetables, cheap cuts of beef and offal are all good. However, the best in my humble opinion is the classic rabbit stew. It makes me feel like Ted Hughes and I can almost convince myself that I went out on the moors at 5am to shoot the poor creature myself. Actually, any slightly archaic meat is best – add venison and pheasant to that list, too.
Best of all, it’s almost impossible to get wrong – chuck in some meat and/or some veg, top up with stock (alternatively wine or ale if you’re feeling flush) and sprinkle in a few herbs, leave it in the oven and maybe do a dumpling at the last minute if you can be bothered. Then you’ve got a complete beautiful meal that much easier and just as seasonal and comforting as a roast (although roast is joint king of Sunday lunches, obviously).
Better yet, follow it up with a crumble (but that’s a whole other story). I heart winter cooking.