ONE day it’s bright sunshine, the next snow. With the weather we have had recently it’s difficult to decide what to prepare for dinner as it changes from hour to hour. That’s where flexible food like casseroles and savoury pastry dishes can be such an asset – easy to prepare; they often taste better the day afterwards if you decide to have an impromptu barbecue in the sun (!) and also can be kept in the fridge for a couple of days too.
At Country Harvest in Ingleton we have more than a dozen bestselling sausages from simple pork to spicy and smoky chorizo and lean turkey, great for those counting the calories as they have no fat in them. Sausage rolls are an easy way to make the humble banger that bit more special. At Country Harvest Becky Taylor makes huge rolls which get cut into generous slices and served at lunchtime. She uses sausage meat – if making at home simply split open your chosen sausage and discard the skin - and then mashes it with caramelised onion, pickle, tiny pieces of black pudding, slices of bacon...whatever flavour combination you fancy. Then encases it in flaky pastry and puts eggwash on it before cooking for 180 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown. You can make a really large one as a lovely centrepiece with a few pastry decorations on top or tiny bites which are great for children.
One meal which is always a winner as it’s so quick, easy and economical is casserole. Sausage casserole only takes 15 minutes to prepare and in the 30 minutes it takes to cook you can get on with other things. Becky’s version is often on the Specials Menu at Country Harvest and is always popular with customers.
Her special twist is to add a splash of cream at the end of the cooking which gives it a lighter texture and makes it taste more luxurious. It’s perfect with crusty bread or if you have a big appetite serve with rice or extra spuds.
•1tbsp olive oil
•8 thick sausages
•1 onion, peeled and cut into slices
•Two garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
•A mix of leeks, carrots, root veg all finely diced
•1tsp smoked paprika
•2 x 400g tins plum tomatoes
• Splash of red wine
•200ml veg stock
•350g cannellini or butter beans (drained weight)
•Salt and pepper
1. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan and fry the sausages for 8-10 mins, turning frequently until browned all over. Remove from the pan, cut into a few pieces and set aside.
2. Drain any excess oil from the pan then add the onion and garlic and sauté for a few minutes to soften. Add in the vegetables and cook for 4-5 mins.
3. Pour in the tomatoes, red wine and stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and return the sausage pieces to the pan, along with the beans. Cover with a lid and cook for 25-30 mins over a low heat, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid and continue to cook for a further 5-10 mins.
4. Season to taste and just before serving stir in the cream which both thickens the casserole and also gives it a creamy, lighter texture. At this stage you could also stir in a spoonful of mustard instead of the cream. Serve with crusty bread.