Friday, November 28, 2008

Sticky sausage casserole

December is just around the corner and it is super chilly outside. I'm getting in the mood for Christmas already. I've just one more trip away for work so I'm looking forward to a few weeks where all my evenings are my own.

Not entirely my own, of course. I'm looking forward to sharing them with friends and family at festive feasts, Christmas drinks parties, carol concerts, cosy girly suppers and celebratory gatherings in the local pub. Best of all, I'll be coming home to my own bed every night (...unless I get lucky... only joking (!)). I can't tell you what a joy that is. I have just one night away in 22 days. Bliss.

Tonight marked the start of this non-travelling period. I had plans for tonight that involved clearing out the kitchen cupboards and sorting out the piles of mess about the flat. I tend to blame my general slovenliness on my long commute (2 hours each way) and constant travelling. It is a rubbish excuse really as I'm usually only away for two days at a time. Anyway, needless to say, the kitchen cupboards remain untouched and the piles of paper are still towering high. Instead, I poured a glass of wine and rummaged in the freezer for inspiration. Far too cold and wet to venture out to the shops, you see.

I found some sausages that I thought would do the trick, but didn't fancy the usual bangers and mash. Instead, I did a little chopping and made a lovely sausage casserole. Served with a mound of creamy mash and some steamed baby cabbage, it was just the thing for a chilly night. Super comforting and easy but just that bit more involved than standard bangers and mash!

Here is the recipe for 2, but I made it for one. It is easily halved or doubled.

Sticky sausage casserole
Serves 2


6 good quality thick pork sausages
4-6 shallots depending on size (mine were enormous)
1 medium carrot
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons diced pancetta or smoked bacon lardons
teaspoon juniper berries
1 wine glass red wine
1/2 glass water or stock
half tin of tomatoes
fresh herbs, chopped - I used sage, oregano and rosemary

1. Pre-heat oven to 170C. Heat oil in a non-stick casserole and brown the sausages evenly on each side. Remove with slotted spoon and set to one side.

2. Meanwhile, skin the shallots. Cover with boiling water and leave for one minute before draining. This makes skins easier to remove. Pull apart into segments and chop one shallot into small pieces. Add to pan with garlic and finely diced carrot. Add pancetta or lardons and fry until the onions are starting to soften. Use a wooden spoon to scrape the sticky sausage bits off the bottom of the pan as you go.

3. Crush juniper berries with back of knife or in pestle and mortar. Add to pan, along with the chopped fresh herbs. Stir to combine.

4. Add sausages back to pan and add wine. Heat until starting to bubble and then add the tinned tomatoes. Stir and allow to bubble for a few minutes. Add half a glass of water (or stock), season well and then place the lid on the casserole. Place in oven and cook for approx 40 minutes. Check in middle of cooking and add more water if necessary.

5. When you remove from the oven, check the sauce. It should have reduced and be quite sticky but still sauce-like. If too liquid, bubble and reduce on the hob. Taste and season to taste. Serve with a cloud of fluffy, creamy mashed potatoes and some green veg.


Anonymous said...

That sounds lovely, perfect for this cold weather. I really must get round to making sausage casserole, I've been trying to perfect it for two years!

the new delany said...

That looks simply delicious, and perfect for winter.

(and I must admit to envying some of your plates - the stars here are great!)
~ Amie

Anonymous said...

Oh yes this looks delicious, very comforting! I love the juniper berries in there. I would have made this for two and then just eaten the whole lot myself!

Sam said...

There's nothing better than sausage casserole for the cold weather, it looks wonderful!

Joy said...

I love sausages and this casserole idea looks yummy!

Maggie said...

That looks absolutely delicious. I have just bought some sausages at the Good Food Show and this recipe will be a winning way to use some of them up.
Btw I love your use of juniper berries in this casserole.

Rosie said...

Absolutely delicious, one of my favourite comfort foods. I am lucky enough to buy good sausages made at local butchers in Lincolnshire. I will have to try this out next time we have sausages :)

Rosie x

Anna said...

This sounds so delicious and comforting; I loved everything you said about this season, and a sticky casserole is perfect for it!

Lucy said...

Oooh you make winter sound really lovely! Well it is :)

And, sausage casserole is just the thing for those lovely winter nights inside x

Maria♥ said...

Antonia I have to make this!! It's definitely my idea of comfort food in this cold weather we are having.