Venison sausages braised in red cabbage Venison sausages are so good with red cabbage. This is a useful all-in-one dish needing only baked jacket potatoes to go with it.
• 4 tablespoons olive oil • 2 onions, skinned and chopped • 1 medium to large red cabbage, or 2 small ones, sliced thinly and the tough core removed • 2oz/55g raisins • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar • 2 teaspoons demerara sugar • 1/2 teaspoon salt • a good grinding of black pepper • 1/4 teaspoon allspice • 12 venison sausages, grilled till brown
Heat the olive oil in a large casserole and fry the chopped onions for four or five minutes, stirring occasionally, until they begin to turn golden brown at the edges. Then add the thinly sliced red cabbage - this looks a huge amount, but as it cooks it wilts down. Stir in the raisins, red wine vinegar, demerara sugar, salt, pepper and allspice, and cover the casserole with its lid. Cook, over moderate heat, stirring from time to time, for 40 to 45 minutes. Halfway through the cooking time put the grilled sausages in with the cabbage mixture and replace the lid. Once the cooking time is up, keep the casserole warm in a very low temperature oven until you are ready to serve.
Pork sausage sauce for pasta This is a most robust and satisfying sauce. I like it much better than a beef-based one.
• 4 tablespoons olive oil • 2 onions, skinned and finely diced • 3 carrots, peeled and finely diced • 3 sticks of celery, trimmed of their stringy edges and the sticks sliced very finely • 2 fat cloves of garlic, skinned and finely chopped • 3 tablespoons tomato purée • 2lb/900g best pork sausages, each slit lengthwise with a sharp knife, and the skins peeled off and discarded • 1/2 pint/285ml red wine • 1/2 teaspoon salt • a good grinding of black pepper • pinch of dried chilli (optional)
In a sauté pan heat the olive oil and fry the onions, carrots and sliced celery over a moderately high heat, for seven to ten minutes, stirring from time to time. Then add the chopped garlic and cook for a further couple of minutes. Scoop the contents from the sauté pan into a warmed bowl. Turn up the heat in the pan and add the skinned sausages, breaking them up with your spoon. Thoroughly brown the sausage meat, then replace the vegetables and stir in the red wine. Season with salt, pepper and the chilli, if you are using it, and let this mixture simmer very gently, pan uncovered, for 30 minutes. Serve spooned over cooked and drained pasta.
Sausage and leek au gratin I like to use the best pork sausages for this, but if you prefer beef, or venison, then use them instead.
• 8 leeks, each trimmed of outer leaves and root ends, sliced in diagonal chunks about 2in/3.5cm long • 2 tablespoons olive oil • 1 onion, skinned and chopped finely • 12 pork sausages, each slit with a sharp knife and their skins removed • 2oz/55g butter • 2 fairly level tablespoons flour • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard • 11/4 pints/710ml milk • a grating of nutmeg • 1/2 teaspoon salt • a good grinding of black pepper • 6oz/170g grated cheese, either Cheddar (I use Isle of Mull Cheddar) or half Cheddar and half grated Parmesan
Steam the leeks till just tender when stuck with a fork. Heat the olive oil in a non-stick sauté pan and, over moderately high heat, fry the chopped onion for several minutes, until it is just turning golden brown at the edges. Then add the skinned sausages, mashing the sausage meat into a mass using a wooden spoon. Brown this really well, turning it over to brown it on all sides. When the sausage meat is all thoroughly cooked, carefully drain off any excess oil from the pan down the sink (keeping the hot tap running).
To make the sauce, melt the butter in a pan then stir in the flour and let it cook for a minute. Stir in the mustard, then gradually add the milk, stirring all the time till the sauce boils. Let it bubble for a minute then take the pan off the heat, season with nutmeg, salt and pepper, and mix in the steamed leeks. Pour this over the browned sausage meat and onion in the sauté pan, cover with the grated cheese and put the sauté pan under a hot grill till the cheese melts to a golden-brown crust. Serve immediately.