“I love sausages in any guise, and the simpler, the better,” says Stosie Madi, chef and co-owner of the Parkers Arms in Newton-in-Bowland, Lancashire. “They are, however, also a wonderful driver for lots of fun dishes.” So how can you get more, er, bang from your banger?
If you’re cooking for a crowd this Bonfire Night, Tom Kerridge suggests channelling pigs in blankets: “Dust your sausages with a little curry powder, wrap them in bacon, then cook them on the barbecue or in the oven,” says the chef/patron of Michelin-starred The Hand & Flowers in Marlow. Then tuck them in hot dog buns with smoked cheese and serve with “mayonnaise mixed with German mustard, chopped dill, cornichons and shallots”.
For ultimate autumn vibes, Tommy Heaney, chef/patron of Heaneys in Cardiff, braises lentils, onion and bacon, tosses them with roast pumpkin, and serves topped with sausages and salsa verde. Heaney makes the latter with mint, parsley, watercress, capers, gherkins, anchovies and sea salt: “I love pork with mint,” he says. “It’s not traditional, but it works really well.” And if you’re lighting a bonfire, “brown the sausages, onions and pumpkin, put them all in a casserole with some stock and whack it straight on the fire”. Finish with a dollop of the same salsa verde, and it’s job done.
Pumpkins are also welcome in a “sausage tagine-type thing”, says Madi, who mixes roast squash with ready-cooked chickpeas and spiced couscous. “The couscous is the carrier of the spice, so add cumin, harissa, a little chilli to give it some heat.” Serve with grilled sausages and garlic-yoghurt for “a lovely centrepiece”. Alternatively, up the ante with something more theatrical: “Hollow out a pumpkin, roast the flesh and make an almost-pureed, velvety soup,” she says, then pour into the pumpkin shell. “Roast some sausages, put them on skewers and dip into the soup to add a bit of fun.”
While sausages defy the seasons, come autumn, they’re particularly good in pasta, traybakes, cassoulet or, Madi says, simply with spuds: “Cut up some grilled sausages, put them on a nice layer of mash, add lots of cheese and grill.”
Then there are stews, which, Kerridge says, can easily be made with canned stuff. “Roast sausages in a pan to get loads of colour on them, throw in a drained tin of mixed beans, add a tin of tomato soup, bring to a boil, then reduce and add a good pinch of smoked paprika and some salt and pepper.” Serve with warm crusty bread for mopping.
Perhaps the simplest solution, however, is a sausage wrap, which Madi endorses “every step of the way”. She brushes Lebanese flatbread with oil, adds the skinned sausagemeat, some cheese and/or onion if the mood takes her, folds the bread over, brushes with more oil and bakes at 180C for 12-15 minutes – “or just enough time to have a big glass of wine”. Dip into sweet chilli sauce-spiked yoghurt or serve with a tin of beans jazzed up with Tabasco. “Throw your shoes off and tuck in: there’s really nothing nicer.”
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