Thursday, 5 November 2015

Heritage Sausage Casserole

This is one of the most comforting casseroles ever for me; a real autumn/winter warmer.  It brings back memories of cold evenings after school, overheating by the fire and staring at the TV with a plateful of this on my lap.  Back then, it was a simpler casserole: flour, stock, sausage and onion.  But that is all you need; the basic recipe to which you can add your own interpretation.  I still keep it simple; at this time of year we have pumpkin hanging around, or chunks of swede work well too; both make the meal feel really seasonal.  I sometimes think I have more sausages in stock than I do; in these cases, I cut the sausages into chunks and augment the vegetable component.  I also like to add a little herby warmth and digestion aid with a bay leaf and some thyme from the garden.  I like to serve it like I was always given it in childhood i.e. with chopped white cabbage and mashed potatoes, but it also goes very nicely in bowls with some bread to mop it up with.

How we make our Heritage Sausage Casserole:

2 sausages per person - 1 for very young children; 3 for grown men (I like these - they are very much as I remember Lincolnshire sausages to be years ago, or these which are 99p for 5 and remind me of the pink melt-in-the-mouth result of the casseroled sausages of my childhood, or these, at a push these)
1 pint dark stock or water with 1 tbsp of soy sauce and 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar or dark brown sugar
1 heaped tbsp plain flour
4 onions, cut into thickish slices or wedges of around 1 cm thickness
1 small swede or pumpkin, peeled and cut into chunks
Plenty of black pepper and a pinch of salt
1 bay leaf and a sprig of thyme
Knob of butter, optional

Mix the flour to a paste with a little cold water then make up to a pint by blending in the stock. Season with pepper and salt.  Put the sausages, onions and swede or pumpkin into a casserole dish; tuck the bay leaf and thyme in between them.  Pour the stock into the casserole dish.  Bake for 1 hour at 180C or 2 hours at 160C.

This can also be put into a slowcooker instead of casserole dish: cook on HIGH for 4 hours.

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