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Posts Tagged ‘sausages’

Tonight in the Vicarage we had a favourite tea. Even the Engineer, the fussiest eater in the family, showed some definite enthusiasm when he saw what we were eating. It’s a great way to stretch a small pack of sausages out for several people, and is so simple it’s almost not a proper recipe. But here you are anyway. It might be a way to spin out some stuff you have in the cupboard. I’m no Jack Monroe (loving her #JackMonroesLockdownLarder on Twitter just now, where she makes recipes from people’s random pantry ingredients), but this is in the same spirit – made with everyday ingredients that you might just have in.

Ingredients

  • An onion, chopped
  • Garlic cloves – two or more as you like – also chopped
  • 1/2 tspn chilli flakes
  • 1 heaped tspn fennel seeds (these are great, but I know you might not have them in, so don’t worry if you don’t)
  •  Pack of sausages (there were six of them this evening to feed four of us) – each sausage cut into three or four pieces
  • Tin of tomatoes
  • Tomato puree (if you have it – I didn’t this evening)
  • Tin of beans – I used white kidney beans (cannellini), but borlotti, flageolet or red kidney beans would be fine, and if you don’t have beans you don’t have to use them

This is pretty straightforward – put a little oil in a pan and add the onion and garlic then the chilli and fennel and cook gently for a few minutes until the onion is translucent and the garlic golden. Then add the chopped sausages, like mini meatballs. I often use sausages from the freezer for this recipe and have found that they are much easier to cut into chunks if they are not entirely defrosted. Brown the sausages and then add the tin of tomatoes, a couple of tablespoons of tomato puree and the tin of beans, including the liquid in the tin. Add another half tin of water, together with salt and pepper, and bring the sauce to the boil. Then cover the pan and simmer for about half an hour.

We usually have this with penne pasta – it’s a pretty chunky sauce, and serve with a good grating of parmesan or other strong cheese. The chilli and fennel give an extra zing to the flavour. You could stretch it to six people if you added an extra tin of tomatoes or beans. Happy eating from your cupboards and freezers!

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One of the things I love about my Vicarage cooker (my treat when we moved here) is its small slow oven. The slow oven is a bit titchy – only big enough for one large pot or only a single baking sheet of meringues, but I am using it more and more for winter casseroles. Tonight I cooked sausage casserole – one of our top favourites which has a few variations but is always very popular with the kids (and grown ups too).

I make this using Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference chipolatas. I’d recommend using good quality ones as cheap ones can come out rather spongey. And you only need to use a single packet to feed a family and can get that for about £2 if there’s an offer on.

The Vicar's dinner

Ingredients

  • 1-2 onions, finely sliced
  • Pack of sausages
  • 2 cups (500ml) lentilles vertes or green lentils
  • Bay leaves, mixed herbs
  • Red wine (about a glassful) and stock
  • Optional – tin of tomatoes, chunked carrots

Brown the sausages in your casserole dish and then remove them to a plate or bowl whilst you pop in a little oil or butter and the onions. Leave the onions to get nice and soft then return the sausages, chopped up into bite sized chunks, to the pan. Tonight I chopped the sausages with a spatula before I removed them and fried the onions, otherwise you can slice them with a knife once removed – I recommend pinning them to the chopping board with a fork rather than fingers (I speak from experience of burnt fingers and escaping sausages).

To the onions and sausages add the lentils, bay leaves and herbs and wine and stock (I use hot water and vegetable stock powder). This evening’s casserole also included a tin of chopped tomatoes. The liquid needs to be added to a generous level above the lentils and sausages – say 5cm/2″ in your pan. This gives space for the lentils to swell and liquid to evaporate.

 Bring to the boil and then simmer for at least 1/2hr on the hob, or pop in a slow oven at about 140ºC (Gas Mark 1) for a couple of hours or more. The slow cooking method has the advantage of keeping the Vicarage kitchen warm, so this is obviously my preferred option.

I tend to check the casserole every hour or so if it’s in the oven, just to make sure that there is still enough liquid. If you’re adding carrots it’s best to do so about half an hour before the end of the cooking time, otherwise they can get a bit soggy. Add salt and pepper to taste before serving and add a little extra liquid if needed to ensure a bit of sauce to soak into the essential accompaniment of mash.

As you can see, I served the casserole with mashed sweet and normal potatoes, and some braised red cabbage. This is a great winter warmer and excellent value for money. We had leftovers that will do well with a bit of chunky bread for lunches whilst the kids are at shcool.

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