Sometimes we can get really fed up with rice and potatoes and I do try to eat more pulses and beans for variety. This simple sausage casserole is fast, low cost, fills you up and is rather tasty. This is presented as if it is a “recipe” but this is simply making a meal stuff, no pretensions otherwise.
A Warming Sausage Casserole for Winter Week Nights
- 8 pork or beef link sausages (I like Lincolnshire and Cumberland ones, but any will do really)
- 500g drained weight of canned, pre-cooked beans: kidney beans, borlotti, cannellini, pinto beans would all work, I usually mix two different cans. Drain and rinse with cold water
- Large jar or 500ml pack of sieved/creamed tomatoes (passata)
- 500ml water
- Large pinch of dried mixed herbs or Herbes de Provence
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- tbspn light olive oil or your cooking oil of preference
- A pinch of sugar, or a splash of milk if your tomatoes are particularly tart
- salt and pepper to taste
- If you would like to up the veg quotient, then add in small diced mushrooms and/or courgette, but avoid diced carrot as it takes too long to cook, I’ve added in some broccoli and green fresh beans for the version photographed, along with a few potatoes I boiled separately as I had a few left, not enough to feed us all, but a perfect quantity to drop in to a casserole. Either cook potatoes separately and add in towards the end, or chop small and let them cook through the sauce.
- Place the sausages under a medium-hot grill, they should take around 15-18 minutes but the pack will advise. Check and turn the sausages to ensure that they are browning evenly as you prepare the sauce.
- Warm a tablespoon of olive oil and saute the onion and garlic gently on a low-med heat in a larger sized pan. Cook until the onion is very soft.
- Add in the tomato passata, water, herbs and seasoning.
- Bring to a boil and then reduce the temperature, simmer the sauce for 10 minutes.
- Check the sauce seasoning and adjust, but do this from a cooled spoon of sauce, as you cannot really taste what is going on properly if it is scalding hot.
- Remove the sausages from the grill and add into the casserole, along with all of the drained beans.
- Heat through for a further 5-10 minutes, but leave for a couple of minutes to cool before serving. Sausages can be mouth-blisteringly hot straight from the pan.
Make it Healthier:
I make this sausage casserole with vegetarian sausages all the time. No-one complains, I think a flavourful sauce is the key. If you would like to reduce the amount of sausages, or stretch a smaller pack to go further, sometimes I chop them in half or thirds after grilling.
Oh No, Help Me Fix It…!
Q: My sauce is too runny? My sauce is far too thick? My sauce is exploding all over the kitchen?
A: Tomato based sauces can usually take turning up the heat for a short while to cook away some liquid if you find it is too thin or runny. If you dilute a tomato-based sauce that is too thick with just water close to serving the dish, it does tend to dilute the flavour, which is not ideal. There are three choices, use water but let the dish cook a little longer, use an appropriate stock or tomato puree+water to dilute, but puree in particular does need time to cook out as it can make a dish bitter if you add it in close to serving. An exploding sauce–turn down the heat straight away and add some liquid.