Saturday, 14 February 2009

Sausage & Vegetable Casserole

This was initially supposed to be a vegetable and bean casserole. I’d planned a get-together with two very dear friends of mine who are both vegetarian. The vegetable and bean casserole was to be a healthy main course. Unfortunately, on the day, for a number of reasons, neither of the friends could make it. So there I was with all these vegetables ready and prepared, just awaiting a happy union with the beans. I shelved the beans [literally as it was a can of borlotti beans I was going to use]. Instead I found some sausages in the fridge which needed some good treatment and company and so evolved this delicious hearty and healthy sausage and vegetable casserole that was a treat to tuck into on a cold February day.


Ingredients

3-4 good quality sausages snipped into 1 inch pieces

A can of passata [sieved tomatoes]

Herb – 1 -1.5 tspn oregano or thyme

Salt and pepper to taste

0.5 tspn sugar [strange but it cuts the acidity of the tomatoes and enhances its flavour]

2 tbspn olive oil

2 Portobello mushrooms sliced

1 orange pepper sliced

Broccoli sliced

2 stalks of spring onions sliced into small rings

3-4 garlic cloves chopped

0.5 litre vegetable stock or plain hot water


1. Heat a very small amount of oil in a heavy bottomed pan and fry the sausage pieces until evenly browned. Empty into a bowl and keep aside while you do the vegetables.

2. In the same pan, add some more oil. When it’s hot, add the spring onions, garlic and the peppers. Stir for a minute or two. Now add the sliced mushrooms. Stir and sauté until the mushrooms just begin to wilt. Add the browned sausage pieces. Sauté for another minute.

3. Now add the passata, salt, sugar and herbs. Let it cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Add the vegetable stock or hot water. [nb: it’s fine to use plain water as there are plenty of strong flavours already]. Stir and simmer on low heat for about 10-15 minutes so that all the flavours blend it. At the end there should still be plenty of liquid for you to dunk your bread in. Add some more hot water if necessary. The vegetables should still be whole but tender having soaked in all the lovely casserole juices.

5. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and lovely crusty bread.


Although casseroles are normally made in the oven, this is a quicker version which can be done on the hob. Health wise, this is a very nutritious. Although you do have some saturated fats from the sausages, you could use the beans instead and make it healthier still. You have plenty of fibre with all the veg in there.


I find recipes like this use two main ingredients which are both extremely healthy and flavoursome. Garlic and tomatoes. Both these are extensively used both in Italian and Indian cooking and any recipe using these two items is guaranteed to be delicious.


Versatile? Well, you can have a bowl of it with crusty bread as a hearty, healthy and filling lunch. If you have any leftover, you could use it as a pasta sauce for the evening dinner ;-))) Any other ways of using it? Do let me know.






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