Asda Summer and the Story of a Sausage:
OK, so my barbecue hamper from Asda arrived just a little early. But, ever eager and without really checking the weather forecast I thought perhaps I’d be able to grill sausages on Saturday. They looked VERY good - Pork, Cherrywood, Smoked Bacon and Maple Syrup butcher’s sausages.So I made a lovely simple potato salad…and grilled two sausages indoors while the rain poured down outside. And the majority of the hamper is now being saved for a sunny day when I can import some friends because there’s a whole selection of yummy things – too much for one or two! The sausages were excellent just grilled with just a hint of sweetness from the smoked bacon and maple syrup and a smokey flavour so I didn’t miss the barbecue too much but, I really wanted to do something different for the second meal with them. And I got a yearning for this Sausage Casserole recipe.
When I was at university, I was part of a cooking collective. It was an ingenious idea – not mine – where six of us cooked for each other. You cooked one night a week and had the right to eat for free on the remaining five (Saturday night was PARTY night so no one cooked). And on your night of cooking you had to make two courses for six people. We did eat a lot of pasta. And sausages. We ate some very strange creations (baked bean lasagne anyone?). But, we ate very cheaply and for the most part very well because we relied on fresh vegetables from the market with small quantities of meat.
This Sweet and sour sausage casserole recipe comes from that time. I was at university at the time when chicken portions were expensive. And sausages were a good substitute. I’ve messed around a lot with this dish over the years – the basics are 1-2 sausages per person, one onion one red pepper, one small can of unsweetened pineapple chunks and one can of chopped tomatoes between four. A tablespoon or so of wine vinegar and sugar to taste to make the sweet and sour sauce and an assortment of flavourings (soy, ketchup, tomato puree and marmite for example). It’s a wonderfully comforting concoction that works in summer and winter. Very frugal – you really don’t need posh sausages – though of course they make it quite special. And it’s almost impossible to mess up!
So, that’s what I’ve made – albeit a very special version with my very posh Asda butcher’s sausages. So nice that I didn’t actually add any soy to the sweet and sour because what I was looking to make was closer to the Italian and Spanish sweet and sour dishes I’ve enjoyed. Something like a sausagey caponata. Only then I added in some pineapple (because I had some). If you want something a little more authentic, you could leave out the pineapple altogether or use a more typical Mediterranean ingredient like aubergine or courgette.
Sweet and Sour sausage casserole is an excellent way to make a filling and substantial meal. You can make up large quantities and freeze it. Or just eat it all! You can stretch the sausages (not literally) by chopping them into small pieces and adding potato, carrot or squash. Or for that matter, whatever vegetables you happen to have lurking at the bottom of the fridge. And you can serve it with rice or noodles, or even just with lots of fresh bread.
Disclaimer: The Sausages were sent to me to review as part of an Asda Summer hamper. All views posted here are my own.