Hot Sausage Casserole

I think you know a bit of you has died inside, when you walk past one of these, and you, even for a single minute, consider it as a serious option. When I asked Greedy Colleague what she thought of this, a look of horror crossed her face. She could picture the future, and it was filled with snuggie’s, not shagging, long hedonistic holidays, short skirts and fast cars. Never mind though, I’m sure Eastbourne is very nice at this time of year.

There are far nicer ways to warm up than even blankets with sleeves. I’m not even talking about doing  the happy dance  under a 15 tog with the warm body of your choice (if only), but rather the simpler pleasure of a casserole.

To serve two cold and hungry:

  • Packet of Premium Sausages
  • Half a hoop of chorizo
  • Splash olive oil
  • 135 g mushroom
  • Leek
  • Half a butternut Squash
  • Small Courgette
  • Herbs (whatever you like)
  • Can of chopped tomatoes
  • Chicken stock, made with cube is ok, made to the volume of the can of tomatoes

Brown the sausages in a pan or under the grill, until brown all over, but no longer really. Chop all the other ingredients into roughly bite sized pieces (our mouths are rather big, so our veg is chunky). In a large saucepan, or in a flameproof casserole, soften the leeks in the oil over a medium heat. Then add all the other ingredients except the sausages, tomatoes and stock. Continue to cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly until the other veg have started to soften. Add your sausage, tomatoes and stock. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 40 -45 minutes. Serve either with mashed potatoes or crusty french bread & butter.

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Baked Squash Stuffed with Spicy Sausage & Vegetables

stuffedbakedsquash

A far less delicate stuffing today. After my acorn squash with maple syrup disaster dinner last week, I knew I hadn’t finished with the squash family. I don’t know what this squash is called, actually, but it cost about £2 in Waitrose. When it came to the stuffing, I didn’t know if I wanted gingery, zingy and green or creamy, soft and meaty. When in doubt, I say, choose cream. So this is a slightly more complex take on my spicy sausage pasta from the other week. It has onion, celery and garlic as a base though, to give it some depth, and mushrooms, courgettes and pine nuts to give it some body. There is no pasta in it, I figure the squash will do pasta’s job. I used a pork and apple sausage which suited this dish really nicely. Serves 2 very hungry people, completely by itself.

  • 1 winter squash, acorn, butternut or whatever looks good
  • 1 packet good quality sausages
  • olive oil
  • 100g mushrooms, sliced
  • 100g courgette, sliced
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stick celery, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 100g pinenuts
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 glass dry white wine
  • 150ml double cream
  • Handful of basil and flatleaf parsley, finely chopped, roughly equal quantities.

stuffedbakedsquashwhole

Preheat your oven to gas 6. Firstly, cut your squash in half. As you can probably see from the pics, mine was a rather squashed squash, so I had the remarkably clever idea of cutting horizontally rather than vertically through the squash. Now honestly, this did aid me in persuading the squash to lie still in the pan, put it was hard work. The squash was fairly hard, and it was too much to cut through in one slice, like it would have been if I cut the other way. So if you decide to do this, you’ll need a short, very sharp knife and a steady hand. Anyway, I think I did an ok job. Remove the seeds and stringy stuff from the inside of the squash and put the halves in a shallow roasting tin, cover with foil and cook for 30-45 minutes until almost soft right through.

stuffedbakedsquashunfilled

In the meantime, put a couple of tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan and add the celery, garlic and onion and salt and pepper. Cook over a low heat until they are softened and golden. In another pan, without oil this time, place it over a low heat and crumble the sausages into it, breaking up any big lumps with a wooden spoon. When it is browned, turn off the heat. In the celery and onion mixture, add your mushrooms and courgettes and turn the heat up slightly. Stirring, fry these until softened, and add your sausage. Stir again, add your glass of wine and simmer for a few minutes. Add the cream, chilli and mustard and cook down until the sauce has cooked down – a matter of minutes or so. Remove from the heat, and stir in the herbs and pinenuts. Check the seasoning. Divide the sausage mixture into the squash cavities and return to the oven.

stuffedbakedsquashuncooked

Cook for a further 30 minutes until the squash is cooked through completely and the whole dish is slightly browned on top. Scoff.

Creamy, Spicy Sausage Pasta

Comfort food at its best. Not only is this completely delicious, but aside from crumbling a few sausages into a frying pan by hand, there is no work aside from occasional stirring. Within about 15 minutes you have a perfectly lovely heartwarming (and bellywarming) dish and you won’t really even notice you’ve done it. I know it says spicy in the title. Its not hot though, just has a tiny kick to balance the cream. This was inspired by a Nigel Slater dish, once upon a time, but its been so long since I’ve looked at the recipe I can’t honestly say its the same thing anymore. Also, as I don’t weigh or measure anything for this recipe, is fair to say you could tweak a little without anyone really noticing. So, to serve 3 very greedy people:

sausage pasta

  • around 400g good quality pasta – shapes – radioatore, fusilli, or conchiglie. Mine was fusilli.
  • about 500g very best pork sausages. Really the best you can get. This will be rubbish without decent sausages. FREE RANGE pork please.
  • glass of dry white wine
  • small pot of double cream
  • scant tsp of chilli flakes
  • tbsp dijon mustard
  • small handful of basil leaves, torn.

I am assuming that your pasta will be taking 10-12 minutes to cook, so put your pasta on. Put a large frying pan on over a medium heat and just start squeezing the pork out of the sausages into the pan, crumbling it roughly whith your hands as you do. You don’t need to be too precious about this, put be prepared to break up big chunks with a wooden spoon or something. If they’re good sausages, they shouldn’t release too much water, but there likely will be some, so you might want to drain any liquid from the pan as you go if the sausage appears to be steaming rather than browning. When the crumbled sausage is brown in parts, pour in your wine, and bring to the boil. Simmer for a few minutes while you stir the pasta, and probably get yourself another glass of wine, or poke your head round the kitchen door to watch Eastenders. Anyway, after a few minutes of that, stir in your chilli flakes and then your cream. Turn the heat down a touch but not too much and let it bubble away, stirring regularly. Stir in your mustard. I reckon your pasta will be done about now, so, drain it (but don’t drain it until bone dry, a tiny splosh of pasta water is good in any sauce). Chuck the torn basil leaves into the sauce, closely followed by the cooked pasta and give it a very thorough stir. Scoff.