The Story of a Sausage:
This is the kind of recipe to make when the leaves on the trees turn gold, when there’s a chill in the morning air and Summer starts to turn into Autumn. It’s comforting and warming without being overly heavy – and it’s a great way to stretch a pack of sausages and make a substantial meal for the whole family – or have enough to freeze!
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.
- 6 Sausages
- 2 Small Onions peeled and finely chopped
- 2 cans Tinned Tomatoes
- 3 Carrots peeled and chopped
- 3 sticks Celery cut into 1cm lengths
- 4 cloves Garlic peeled and crushed or finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon Tomato Ketchup
- 1 tablespoon Vinegar I used red wine vinegar, but any will do!
- 2-3 teaspoons Sugar I used Stevia, to taste to reduce the calories
- 1 Red Pepper Seeds and stalk removed, chopped
- 1 can Pineapple chunks unsweetened. Or fresh pineapple which is often on offer/reduced price
- 1 tablespoon Sunflower oil
- 1 handful Fresh coriander
Put the sausages on an ovenproof dish, pierce the skins and put in an oven at 200c for 20 minutes
Meanwhile, gently soften the carrot, onion and celery in the oil for 5 minutes, before adding the pepper for a further minute or two
Add the vinegar, tomatoes and ketchup and bring to a simmer, stirring well
Simmer gently for 10 minutes before tasting and adding sugar or sweetener as required
Take the sausages out of the oven when browned all over and chop into small pieces. Stir through the sauce and add the pineapple
Cover the mixture and put in the oven for a further 10 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle over fresh coriander. Serve with rice, noodles or bread to taste
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.
Thinking of trying this recipe at home? Why not pin it for later