Here’s a dish perfect for this time of year, but still doesn’t feel like stodge-o-rama thanks to the amount of veg involved. The star ingredient is the sausage, a meaty banger from Simply Sausages. I used their No.1 Recipe Smithfield Original, a relatively unadorned sausage which gives the pork plenty of space for flavour. Mrs. Spud and I thought it was quite simply the best sausage we’ve ever eaten.
The technique is inspired by a similar recipe from Jamie’s 15-Minute Meals. Essentially process a whole bunch of root veg and fry with bacon and tomatoes as a sauce base! It’s a recipe with lots of room to maneuver, by just swapping the veg in and out you get a different taste each time. And even if you take it easy it should be 20 mins work, tops.
Thanks to Amanda from ZPR for the sausages!
Simply sausage ragu (serves 4):
6 No.1 Recipe Simply Sausages
2 rashers of bacon
2 carrots, trimmed and peeled
1 stick of celery, trimmed
Bunch of sage
1 red onion, peeled
½ butternut squash
2 cloves garlic
1 tin of tomatoes
1 Knorr Rich Beef Stock Pot
Good-quality balsamic vinegar
- Preheat the grill on medium, get a large pan of salted water on to boil and put a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Get your food processor ready too.
- Pop the sausages under the grill and cook for 10 – 15 minutes, turning regularly.
- In the food processor whizz up the bacon and add to the pan. While that fries add the carrots, celery, sage and onion to the food processor, whizz that up and add that to the pan. Finally blitz the squash and add that to the same pan. Add some salt and pepper. Toss the veg regularly.
- While that cooks in the pan, add the pasta to the water and cook according to the packet instructions.
- Crush the garlic into the veg pan, and after a minute or so more’s cooking, add the tin of tomatoes. Half fill the tin with water and add to the pan along with the stock pot. Stir well. If it’s looking a little dry add some of the pasta cooking water to loosen it.
- When the sausages are cooked cut into slices, drain the pasta and toss both through the veg. Check for seasoning and serve, dressing with balsamic vinegar.
This is one that swilled around my head for a while until coming together. It’s a hybrid of ideas from a recent appearance of Theo Randall on Saturday Kitchen and a Jamie Oliver 30 minute meal.
The most satisfying part of this is using the part of the broccoli you usually throw away, the stalk. Whizzed up and fried it’s as tasty as it’s flowery florets. Mixed with sausage and cream it’s almost rich. Whouda thunk it, broccoli being rich?! Make sure you’re generous with the chilli to balance it all out.
While I ate it I thought pine nuts would be great with this – must try it next time.
Sausage & broccoli penne (serves 2):
2 rashers bacon, sliced
1 head of broccoli
4 sausages, skinned
Big pinch of chilli flakes
2 cloves garlic
50ml double cream
Handful of parmesan
- Heat a little oil in a pan and add the bacon. Get a large pot of water on to boil.
- In a food processor blitz the broccoli to crumbs with the anchovy. Drop in the sausages and add a trickle of olive oil to make a paste.
- Add the paste to the bacon in the pan and stir fry for a few minutes. Crush in the garlic and get the pasta on to boil.
- After the pasta has cooked for about 5 minutes, add the broccoli florets and cook for 5 minutes more.
- Turn the heat down low and add the cream and parmesan, stirring well to combine. Add the drained pasta and broccoli and if necessary let it down with a little of the pasta water. When mixed nicely and all slick and creamy, check seasoning and serve with more parmesan.
This is largely based on a recipe from Jamie’s 30-Minute Meals (yes, I still haven’t cooked them all) but without the crazy Ryvita-apple salad (?). I’ll be honest: the only reason I made it was to have a squirly-whirly sausage which somehow makes me grin more than regular daisy-chained sausages. But the leek gravy is the surprise star, all sweet and silky. I’ve added a dollop of creme fraiche to make it even more smooth and tasty. Great stuff as the nights draw in.
Catherine wheel sausage with leek gravy (serves 4):
12 linked chipolatas
1 large teaspoon dried sage
500g potatoes, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, peeled
2 leeks, quartered and sliced
1 chicken stock cube
1 tablespoon flour
1 heaped teaspoon wholegrain mustard
1 tablespoon creme fraiche
- Get the grill on medium, and two lidded saucepans on a low heat. Fill one of the pans with boiling water, add the potatoes and garlic, a large pinch of salt and get them simmering away.
- Allow the sausages to unravel and squidge the meat together so you get one long sausage as opposed to lots of links. Push a couple of skewers through the sausage to hold it in place. Douse with olive oil and sprinkle with half the sage. Pop under the grill for 10 minutes.
- Chuck the leeks along with some olive oil and the remaining sage into the other pan and a splash of boiling water, then clamp the lid on. Let these whistle away for 5 minutes until tender, then sprinkle in the stock cube and flour. Stir well and when well combined add the cider. After a minute or two bubbling away top up with the same amount of hot water and simmer.
- Flip the sausage over for a further 5 minutes or so until browned. In the meantime check the potatoes are cooked through; when done drain well and add the butter and mustard. Allow to sit for a minute and then mash until it’s a smooth as you like. Check for seasoning.
- Take the leek gravy off the heat and whisk in the creme fraiche. Serve up the sausages with a pile of mash and drown with leeky gravy.
It’s probably the worst translation in the world, but Google tells me the title of that dish is the Italian for Toad in the Hole. Which is kinda what this is. I was cleaning out the cupboards / freezer and had enough for stodgy, creamy polenta with pockets of herby sausage. This is really good fun served with a punchy tomato sauce.
Rospo nel buco (serves 4):
8 quality sausages – Lincolnshire would be good here
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
240ml chicken stock
Few sprigs rosemary, leaves picked and finely chopped
4 tablespoons creme fraiche
Some grated parmesan
For the tomato sauce:
1 tin good quality tomatoes
1 clove garlic, crushed
Balsamic vinegar to taste
- Halve the sausages and squeeze out the meat into little balls. Fry in a hot pan with a little oil and the fennel seeds until the sausageballs are browned on all sides.
- Meanwhile, do the sauce: fry the garlic gently in a dribble of olive oil for a minute and add the tomatoes and half the rosemary. Simmer gently.
- Get the grill on hot. When the sausage is nearly done get the stock on to boil. Add the polenta and remaining rosemary, whisking all the time to avoid clumping. When it starts to thicken whisk for another minute and then take off the heat. Add the creme fraiche, parmesan and check for seasoning. You want it to be fairly sloppy so add a little more boiling water or milk to thin it down if needed. Pour the polenta around the sausages and pop under the grill.
- Check the seasoning of the tomato sauce and add vinegar for twang. When the polenta is bubbling and brown on top get it out and leave to stand for a minute, then serve with tomato sauce on the side.
Sausage in a stew? I’m there. Whether it’s a pot au feu, a Sunday gravy, or a cumberland casserole, I love the instant seasoning hit you get from having a sausage do the leg work in a dinner.
This particular one is Jamie Oliver’s, from Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals. It’s dense and tasty, and packed with flavours. Beans, breadcrumbs and bacon? What’s not to love?
He served it with broccoli, in a tomato sauce. Which I couldn’t see the point of. Instead I made loads of cassoulet and stuck some in the freezer. Perfect.
Kinda sausage cassoulet (serves 4):
4 rashers smoky bacon, sliced
2 red onions, halved, peeled and sliced
A few sprigs rosemary
Small bunch of sage
3 bay leaves
2 leeks, finely sliced
6 – 8 decent sausages
4 thick slices of bread
2 cloves of garlic
1 x 680g passata
1 x 390g tin of butter beans
1 x 390g tin of haricot beans
- Pre-heat your grill to high.
- Put the bacon into a sturdy roasting tray with a splash of olive oil and put on a high heat with the herbs – hold a few sage leaves back for the breadcrumbs. Add the onions and leeks too. Add a splash of water to loosen, stir and leave to soften.
- Put your sausages in another roasting tray and pop under the grill.
- Pop the bread, garlic and sage in a food processor and pulse to breadcrumbs.
- Stir the passata and the beans (with their juices) into the tray of vegetables. Add half the breadcrumbs to the top.
- The sausages are probably browned on one side now, so get them out from under the grill and pop raw-side-up on top of the tomatoey veg, then top with the rest of the breadcrumbs. Pop back under the grill until the sausages are cooked through and the breadcrumbs browned.