|Impossible to make it look pretty - but it tasted a whole lot better than it looks!|
The true glory of a Sausage Casserole is that no one is ever the same. It is one of those dishes where just about anything goes. Fabulous at using up leftover bits of vegetables, or being pimped up with spices or beans, it really doesn't matter what you put with your sausages (well, apart from blancmange - that might be a bit yuk) by way of vegetables or flavourings, it will be delicious.
I think everyone has a favourite "way" with a Sausage Casserole, mind you. Some folk like theirs to be quite wet and broth-like, others like a hearty thick sauce. We're certainly of the latter persuasion.
On the lovefood.com website, I tripped over a recipe from the Hairy Bikers, for a Spicy Bean Hotpot. I liked the sound of the beans and spices, but the sliced potato topping was out because of the I-F diet that I'm on. So I began to ponder on adaptations. Their recipe was very bean-heavy, with no meat, so immediately I was wondering what meat would go well with it - and came up with sausages. Because the addition of sausages would make the recipe then very protein heavy, I took out one form of bean (haricot) and halved the amount of the red kidney beans.
Everything else seemed to be well balanced, but I felt it just needed something extra to give another perspective whilst eating it. Mushrooms were the obvious choice - and they went perfectly.
We ate the casserole just as it was, with no additional vegetables or carbohydrates (although I did include one or two leftover chipolatas) and it was lovely. I'll very definitely be doing this one again, as it made a lovely warming and filling, satisfying meal to have on a cold night.
As with all Sausage Casseroles, you can include whatever vegetables you like. Feel free to swap the sweet potato out for ordinary potato if you prefer, or add carrots, or parsnips - anything goes!
SPICY SAUSAGE CASSEROLE (feeds 3)
6-8 tasty pork Cumberland sausages
2 small sweet potatoes, diced small
1 medium courgette, halved and sliced
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 medium onions, halved and sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
4-5 chestnut mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 tsp chilli powder (or ½ tsp chilli flakes)
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp smoked paprika
400g can of chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree
2 bay leaves
200g can of red kidney beans in water, drained
1 tbsp cornflour, mixed to a paste with 1 tbsp cold water
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper.
1. Place the sausages onto a baking tray and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180deg C/350deg F/Gas 4 for 25-30 minutes, or until browned. Once done, remove and cut each into three pieces and reserve somewhere to keep warm.
2. Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan or deep frying pan. Gently fry the onions for 5 minutes, stirring often, until softened and lightly browned.
3. Add the mushrooms, garlic, chilli, cumin and paprika. Cook for 1 minute, stirring.
4. Tip the tomatoes into the pan, refill the can with water and add this to the pan.
5. Add the beans, tomato puree, bay leaves and sweet potatoes and stir to combine.
6. Bring to the boil and cook for 15 minutes. Add the courgettes and bring the mixture back to a simmer.
7. Add the cornflour paste and stir until the sauce has thickened, season to taste then add the sausages and cook for a further 3 minutes.