Sausage Casserole with Tomatoes and Harissa

Cooked Sausage Casserole with Tomatoes and Harissa
Sausage Casserole with Tomatoes and Harissa
Sausage Casserole with Tomatoes and Harissa makes a lovely TV dinner as it can easily be served in a bowl with a slice of crusty bread and butter. The quantities below are enough for two people but can be increased very easily for a larger crowd.

The sauce is quite liquid because of the stock but this works well, especially if you use bread to mop it up.

For the harissa, you need to find the level that works for you. I like it to have a mild harissa flavour and a little spicy heat, but not too much.

I generally use Cumberland sausage, but any could work. I don’t think I’d like anything too strongly flavoured or conflicting to allow the flavours of the spicy tomato sauce to shine through. Avoid creating a competing flavour dimension because that won’t work so well.

Based on a Nigel Slater idea. There are hundreds of sausage casserole recipes and it’s hard to go wrong if you vary the ingredients a bit. Have fun experimenting.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 large sausages
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2-3 sprigs of rosemary
  • 2-3 tsp harissa (I often have rose harissa and this works well)
  • 4 medium tomatoes roughly chopped
  • 1 tin of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed. Depending on how much you like beans you can put in the whole tin, or just a portion of the tin.
  • 200-300ml of chicken stock

Method

  1. Brown the sausages in an ovenproof dish in some of the oil. Turn them regularly so they brown as evenly. Set the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Remove the sausages once browned.
  2. Add the remaining oil and the onion to the pan and cook till it is slightly softened and golden
  3. Add the finely chopped leaves from the rosemary sprigs to the onions with a pinch of salt
  4. Add the Harissa and the roughly chopped tomatoes, cooking them for a few minute to soften them
  5. Add the beans and the stock and bring the mix to a boil
  6. Put the sausages back in the pan, season with some salt and pepper
  7. Bake in the oven for a further 25 minutes. Best done uncovered but this might depend on how “wet” it is, probably governed by the amount of stock you added.

 Variants

  • Add any root vegetables you prefer, you might want to reduce the beans a bit: potatoes, carrot, parsnip, turnip, fennel
  • Other vegetables could make an appearance eg. some sweet red pepper
  • Stir in some baby spinach when you remove the casserole from the oven. It will incorporate in a minute or two.
  • Some herbs might work well, specifically flat leaf parsley, perhaps some oregano.

Toad In The Hole

Tip of the hat to Simon Hopkinson and Felicity Cloake. Toad in the Hole is a classic, everyone should have this at least once a year.
Ingredients
  • 3 tbsp beef dripping or lard
  • 6 decent sausages (I tend to use Cumberland)
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g plain flour
  • a pinch of salt with the flour according to taste (This is optional. The sausages tend to be salty and I think a more bland batter is a nice contrast.)
  • 85ml whole milk (if you can be bothered you could gently warm this with bay leaf/peppercorns, perhaps even some sliced shallot, and leave to infuse and cool for an hour or so. Just sayin’)
  • 85ml ale, (you’ll just have to drink the leftovers)
  • 1 tsp – 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard to taste
Method
  1. Warm and infuse the milk if you fancy.
  2. Put the eggs in a large bowl and beat, until thick (a decent beating gives a lighter texture to the finished batter.) Beat in the flour and milk alternately until smooth, then stir in the ale and mustard and leave to sit for 15-20 minutes so the flour can properly hydrate.
  3. Preheat the oven to about 200C fan. Heat half the fat in a frying pan over a medium heat and brown the sausages on all sides (another bit of worthwhile effort). You don’t need to cook them through, this happens in the oven, but the colour equates to flavour. Nicely browned but not burned.
  4. Put the remaining fat in a roasting dish, can be metal or earthenware, but good heavy metal is excellent and put it in the oven till it’s really smoking hot.
  5. Once the sausages are browned all over, and the batter has rested, get the really hot dish and pour in the fat from the sausage pan, followed by the batter, which should sizzle as it hits the tin. You can set the roasting dish on a stovetop ring while you do this to keep the heat high.
  6. Add the sausages and return to the oven.
  7. Bake for about 35 minutes until well risen and golden, then serve your Toad in the Hole immediately.