Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Sausage and apple casserole

It's sad to say, but I've become a bit bored with sausages and mash recently, so I'm trying a variation with similar ingredients. Serves 2.

  • 6 pork sausages
  • 2 rashers of streaky bacon
  • 1 apple (e.g. Cox's Orange Pippin)
  • 300g tinned tomatoes
  • 1 can butter beans (optional, or other beans or pulses)
  • 1 half carrot
  • 1 stick celery
  • 1 small onion or shallot
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • sage, thyme, rosemary, mixed herbs (chopped)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • a splash of dry cider
  • 200ml chicken or pork stock
  • a dash of worcester sauce
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika (papricón)
  • salt, pepper

You'll also need some potatoes if you want to serve it with mash.

Chop the half the onion very finely and fry in the olive oil on as low a heat as you can manage in a casserole pan. After a few minutes, add half the carrot and half the celery, also very finely chopped. Chop the rest of the onion, carrot and celery into larger pieces and set aside. After 5 minutes or so cooking on a low heat, stirring occasionally add the garlic (either finely chopped or pressed), add the chopped herbs and bay leaves. Continue to cook, all the time making sure that the vegetables don't brown, for about ten minutes.

Add the cider vinegar to the pan, still on a low heat, stir well, and allow it to steam a little, then add the stock. Stir well, and now you have a court bouillon, more or less. Add the tinned tomatoes, stir, add the other vegetables (the remaining onion, celery and carrot). Add the worcester sauce and papricón, cover and allow to cook gently while you cook the sausages.

Brown the sausages on a medium to high heat in a frying pan, turning several times. It should take about 5 minutes to brown them on all sides. When browned (but not yet fully cooked through), remove from the frying pan and add to the casserole. Fry the bacon quickly for 2 minutes or so on each side. Remove from the frying pan, cut into bite-sized pieces with scissors, and add to the casserole. Pour the cider into the frying pan to deglaze it. Scrape all the porky goodness from the pan and pour into the casserole.

If you are serving with mashed potato, you can put them on to boil now.

Allow the casserole to cook gently for around 20 minutes. Adjust the amount and thickness of the sauce by removing the lid to allow it to reduce or adding water. With 5 minutes to go, take your apple. Peel, core and slice into bite-sized chunks and add to the casserole. We just want this to be warmed through.

Serve with mashed potato, and maybe some greens on the side.

Tasting notes

  • It's difficult to match wine with apple, but try serving it with a light red wine, such as a Beaujolais Villages, or beer might be easier - try a strong Belgian like Kwak, or a pale ale.
  • If you find the sauce too acidic, try it without the cider vinegar, adding more stock or water instead.  You could also deglaze with beer or water rather than cider.

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