To me, it feels like such a cliché to talk about the weather. I mean, we have no control over it. And as much as I hate to talk about it, it does have a serious effect on what I want to eat.
I’m writing this as the rain is lashing down against the window. I’m actually on holiday in the Lake District. It’s so cold I’ve put on a thick cardigan and am sipping a steaming hot cup of mint tea. It feels like such a miserable day, yet at this precise time of year, I like to sit out in the sun all day, watching tennis and eating strawberries.
Instead, I’ve been dreaming of a hearty, warming meal this evening and ended up making this delicious sausage casserole. Filling, warming and wholesome. Now I have to say, I am rather picky about my sausages. All those horror stories about what goes into budget sausages make me shudder, and frankly I’d rather go without than have one of those! Good sausages can be really hard to find if you are following a wheat and gluten free diet. It’s hard to find them at all, and when you do, they are not always good. My favourite are Musk’s sausages, which are made with British pork shoulder and rice instead of bread. These are very traditional pork sausages, simple and delicious. They embody the freefrom food I like best: where a natural alternative is used instead of a synthetic replacement for an allergen. Rice instead of bread or rusk. Much better than artificial chemicals. And what’s more, they are a family run company, based in Suffolk. Just the sort of company I love to support. I urge you to try them.
Back to the casserole, I find this a particularly good recipe to make using up storecupboard ingredients. I also make a large quantity and freeze in individual bags, as it makes such a quick supper on a week night (simply defrost and microwave for 4 minutes or so until piping hot) and that’s your meal sorted.
Hearty Sausage Casserole
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- ½ red onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- ½ red chilli, chopped and deseeded
- 1 tin whole plum tomatoes, crushes
- ½ tin cannellini beans, drained and rinsed in cold, fresh water
- ½ tsp chopped rosemary
- 8 good quality sausages (Musk’s work really well)
- Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan. Add the onion and garlic and cook for a few minutes until golden and softened. Add the chilli and cook for another couple of minutes.
- Add the tinned plum tomatoes and cook for ten minutes or so.
- Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan and brown the sausages. You just need a little oil to stop them sticking at the start. I like my sausages really well browned, but this is up to you. Once they are done to your liking, place them on a plate covered in a few sheets of kitchen paper to blot some of the excess oil which they release whilst browning.
- Add the drained beans and sausages to the tomato sauce with the rosemary. I like to leave this for around an hour to cook the sausages through and for the sauce to thicken.
- Serve with a nice glass of red and some fresh vegetables or green salad.