Just cleaning up my in-box here...
Sausages are as versatile as eggs. They can be an ideal food at breakfast, lunch or supper. .... Sausages go with everything, but for a supper it is hard to beat mashed potatoes, fried onions in gravy and Savoy cabbage or Brussels sprouts. Or sausages with bread sauce and Brussels sprouts. Or sausages with baked jacket potatoes and leeks in a white sauce. And then there are the stews, soups and casseroles which can be made with sausages ... Really, they are the most versatile of foods - always provided that they are of the finest quality in the first place.
Sausagemeat and Apple Pie
This is one of those invaluable dishes which freezes well, is an entire meal in one dish, and tastes delicious.
• 3 tablespoons sunflower oil
• 2 medium onions, skinned and finely chopped
• 1 to 2 cloves of garlic, skinned and very finely chopped
• 3 tart eating apples - Granny Smiths or Cox's - peeled and chopped
• 2lb/900g sausagemeat from top-quality pork sausages, slit and skinned
• 2 tablespoons tomato purée
• 1 tablespoon flour
• a good pinch of thyme
• 1/2 pint/285ml dry apple juice (with no sweetener)
• 1/2 pint/285ml vegetable stock
• salt and freshly ground black pepper
• about 11/2 lb/675g well-beaten mashed potatoes - beating with a wooden spoon gives a very creamy texture - containing chopped parsley and snipped chives
• butter for topping
Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan or casserole dish and cook the chopped onions till they are soft and beginning to turn golden. Add the garlic and the chopped apples and cook for a few minutes, then scoop this mixture out into a bowl. Brown the sausagemeat, stirring all the time to break it up. When you have mashed it up as best you can, and it is browned, replace the onion-and-apple mixture in the pan. Stir in the tomato purée, flour and thyme. Gradually stir in the apple juice and the stock, and stir till the mixture bubbles. Season with salt and pepper and simmer, very gently, for 15 minutes, stirring from time to time to prevent the mixture from sticking. Pour into a pie dish and allow to cool.
Cover with the beaten mashed potatoes, forking the surface into a neat pattern. Dot with tiny bits of butter and cook the pie in a moderate oven, 350°F/180°C/Gas Mark 4, for 30 minutes, till the potato is turning crisply golden on its forked pattern, and the filling is bubbling. If you put the pie directly from the fridge into the oven, you will need to add about 20 minutes to the cooking time. This is good served with Savoy cabbage.
Sausage and lentil hotpot
This is a kind of soupy stew - one of those convenient all-in-one dishes. It is very warming, just the thing for cold winter days. It is very quick to put together, and can be made a day in advance and reheated to serve. You can substitute beef sausages for the pork listed in the ingredients - it is a matter of personal taste.
SERVES 6 TO 8
• llb/450g pork sausages, cut into 1in/2.5cm chunks
• 2 to 3 tablespoons oil (I use olive)
• 3 onions, skinned and chopped
• 4 carrots, scraped and chopped into smallish chunks
• 4 parsnips, peeled and chopped into smallish chunks
• 4 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
• 1 large garlic clove
• 8oz/225g red lentils
• 2 pints/1.1l chicken or vegetable stock
• salt and freshly ground black pepper
Grill the chunks of sausage until they are brown all over (I can't bear an unbrowned sausage, however well cooked it is). Heat the oil in a saucepan or large casserole and add the onions. Sauté for four to five minutes, then stir in the carrots, parsnips, potatoes and garlic. Cook for several minutes, then stir in the lentils and the pieces of sausage, the stock and the seasoning.
Cover the saucepan or casserole with a tightly fitting lid, and simmer gently over a low heat for about 45 minutes or until the pieces of vegetable are tender. Serve, or cool and reheat to serve the next day.
Pigs in Blankets
• 12oz/340g self-raising flour
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 egg
• 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
• just less than 1/2 pint/285ml milk
• 10 frankfurters, cut in half
Sieve the dry ingredients together into a bowl. Beat together the egg, oil and milk in a mixing bowl. Stir it into the flour mixture, adding a bit more sieved flour if the dough is too sticky.
On a floured surface, roll out thinly into a rectangular shape and cut into triangles so that each will hold a half frankfurter. Wrap each frankfurter so that the blanket folds point to the middle around the sausage. Place the wrapped sausages on a baking tray and bake in a hot oven, 425°F/220°C/ Gas Mark 7, for about 10 minutes. The scone mixture blanket will be puffed up and pale golden. Serve them warm, with a sharp fruit jelly.