The weather here is far more like November than June, the heating and the lights are on and I'm in the mood for comfort eating. Something like sausages and mash except...I'm not a big fan. While onion gravy definitely helps, my preference for a hearty, sausage based meal is one with big, fresh flavours which Italian cooks use simply and there's no way I'd be heading out to the shops in weather as horrid as this, so what can I do with what I have in the cupboards/freezer?
The starting point is George Bower's excellent pork sausages, store cupboard tinned tomatoes (I would have used homegrown if we had a greenhouse) and rosemary from the soggy garden. And, as I seem to be somewhat addicted to it, Bower's smoked streaky bacon.
As a replacement or alternative to mash, I also found several odd tins of beans lurking in the cupboard- this time canellini, red kidney and borlotti but I've also tried it with black eyed, so really whatever you have in the way of beans (maybe not baked). You can of course use dried as long as you soak them first.
I first made this on a similarly rainy evening and this seemed a fitting day to post.
Here's my how to:
You will need:
10 pork sausages, pricked
5 rashers of smoked streaky bacon, chopped roughly (optional)
2 tins of plum tomatoes
1 (400g) tin borlotti beans, drained
1 (410g) tin red kidney beans, drained
1 (410g)tin canellini beans, drained
300ml vegetable or chicken stock
5 sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 carrots (shredded savoy cabbage also works well if you have some lying around), chopped in chunks
2 sticks of celery, chopped roughly
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon of dried chilli, finely chopped
Lashings of Italian olive oil
Gently fry the sauasges alone in a frying pan (this gives them a good chance for proper browning before adding them to the stew).
In the casserole pan, heat the garlic, chilli and a glug of oil.
Add the bacon, give it a few miniutes.
Add the celery and carrots, allow them to cook until softening.
Add the beans and tomatoes along with the stock and heat to simmering. Simmer for ten minutes then add the sausages and rosemary and allow the stew to thicken on a low heat.
This should take ten - 25 minutes or enough time to clear up and set the table or settle a good baby to sleep and write a quick blog post.
You don't need to be too precise with timings at the last stage as long as you keep an eye on it, the stew won't spoil, it'll just be thicker if you leave it a little longer.
When you're ready, serve up with some garlic bread and a large glass of red.