Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Old Fashioned Sausage Casserole

The clock is ticking so fast this year and of course, as always, we are busy with both work and family life.  Seriously another few blinks of our eyes and Christmas will be on our doorsteps.  Yikes - another busy time of year.
Sausages are something we always seem to have in the freezer ready for the next barbecue but they are something that we don't normally cook with otherwise.  Do you?  How do you all enjoy sausages?
Deciding that we need to eat through our very full freezer I sat down and menu planned our meal out for the next 3 weeks - YES 3 WEEKS!  So I did it - I put sausages on the menu.  Not destined for the barbecue but in a casserole.  My family were very surprised.
So armed with low fat beef sausages and a recipe I found online from the Hairy Bikers I prepared a casserole dinner for the family and it was bloody nice.  The Hairy Bikers have been a long time favourite cooking partnership that both my husband and I have always enjoyed watching.  However many of their recipes have been very stodgy and not great for those watching their waistlines.  Their cooking shows however were always entertaining and often did get one drooling to try what they did cook.  This recipe was shown in an episode called "Mums Know Best Recipes", where they cooked family loved and trusted recipes.

This dish has a really nice and thick tomato based sauce infused with smoked paprika, thyme and bay leaves was perfect to cook these sausages in.  I did change the original recipe a little to reduce the calorie count, not that you would really notice and all up the meal was on the table within the hour.
I served this Old Fashioned Sausage Casserole with mashed potatoes and a fresh crusty French Breadstick.  It was definitely a hit.  So if you are looking for something quick and easy here you go..... 
Old Fashioned Sausage Casserole
(Recipe adapted from BBC Food - Recipes)
Serves: 6
cooking spray
12 reduced fat beef sausages
6 rashers rindless streaky bacon, cut into 2.5cm lengths
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 x 400gram can chopped tomatoes
300ml chicken stock
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs
2 bay leaves
3–4 sprigs of fresh thyme
100ml red wine
100 ml water
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Spray a large non-stick frying pan with cooking spray and fry the sausages gently for 10 minutes, turning every now and then until nicely browned all over. Transfer to a large flameproof casserole dish and set aside.

Fry the bacon pieces in the frying pan until they begin to brown and crisp then add to the sausages.
Place the onions in the frying pan and fry over a medium heat for five minutes until they start to soften, stirring often.
Add the garlic and cook for 2–3 minutes more until the onions turn pale golden-brown, stirring frequently.

Sprinkle over the smoked paprika and cook together for a few seconds longer.

Stir in the tomatoes, chicken stock, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar and herbs.

Pour over the wine and water and bring to a simmer.
Tip carefully into the pan with the sausages and bacon.  Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Cover with foil and place in the oven.  Cook covered for 20 minutes.  Remove foil and cook for a further 10 minutes.
Serve with mashed potato, steamed rice or slices of rustic bread.