Ok not one single person would ever call that stalwart of the British cooked breakfast, the sausage, a health food. However over the last few years the sausage has moved up the scale with less saturated fats and cereals being used in them. The sausage for me pretty much stands alone in the reasons not to go vegetarian….. I can hear the guffaws and incredulous laughter from here; but I mean it, the sausage for me is something that I could truly not do without. Sausage sandwiches with mustard and ketchup – wonderful – not to mention sausage, mash and beans with a ladle full of caramelised fried onion, or a great plate of toad in the hole with baked beans, come on it’s the comfort in comfort food – I kid you not!
The sausage casserole I lay before you draws from the traditional British stew with dumplings; a big nod to Mrs Demonology whose recipe they are and whom, I assure you, “probably” makes the best dumplings in the world. I’ve just added some spices. One of my more interesting ideas that I have played with here is that the dumplings and the curry share the spicing and balance each other, complimenting one another in the hope that this is where the dish finds its Indian roots. The Sausage, unfortunately pork, which few Indians will eat, but there are many sausages that do not focus on pork. However sausage in all its forms is a mighty meaty feast that permeates the globe and for me is the essential element that holds this unusual dish together…….Good commercial quality sausages is all you need here but if you like something more specialised or exotic from the local butcher then that is cool too, the reality is that sausage is the meat in the dish and as sausage connoisseur’s know it comes in infinite varieties…… Alternatively if you’re on the Vegan veggie vibe, don’t feel you’re left out either as Quorn sausages would work just as well. The point here is that this is a sausage curry and one that will take you through to new heights of pleasure if the sausage is your thing… And yes you are reading right – tinned tomatoes, sorry but they are for me always far better in taste and quality and colour – want to argue about it… well please feel free to use fresh, it matters not!
It looks like a long list of ingredients for this dish, but if you are organised and prepare everything ahead of standing in front of the stove, trust me all will be well and all will come to hand when you need it.
1 tbsp Oil , or Ghee
1 large Onion rough chopped
6 thick sausages
250 gm Button Mushrooms
400 gm peeled plum tomatoes
1 tsp tomato puree
200ml vegetable stock
250gm Butterbeans dried or tinned, it matters not
1 inch Ginger peeled and finely grated
3 cloves garlic crushed
2 Green chilli deseeded and finely chopped
1 Dried Red Kashmiri chilli whole
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp mustard seed
0.5 tsp sugar
1tsp Garam Masala
4 or 5 Curry Leaves
1 Dried red chilli whole
4 oz self Raising Flour
2 oz shredded suet
.5 tsp ground fennel seeds
.5tsp Nigella seeds
.5 tsp turmeric
3 Ground black pepper corns
Enough water to bind together to make a stiff dough
If you are using dried butterbeans they will need about three hours cooking in total but for this recipe cook them through for an hour or two, that is of course after soaking them overnight, can you be bothered I couldn’t, use tinned I did….
Grind the spices together for the dumpling mix set aside
Sauté off the sausages in a little Ghee or oil.. in the large flat based pan that you are going to do the stove top cooking in, give the sausages enough time to give them some colour and not release too much fat, remove them from the pan and set aside until later, once they have cooled cut them into bite sized chunks…..
Then add half the ghee to the same pan and when melted add the mustard seeds followed by the curry leaves once the seeds start to pop, after another 30 seconds or so add the onions and the Green Pepper, after about 5 minutes of frying its safe to throw in the garlic, the ginger and the green chillies and then fry, fry, fry for about 15-20 mins, stirring constantly, adding the sugar after 10 to twelve minutes, on a low to medium heat, or until the onions are a wonderful golden brown, caramelised and sweet to the taste. It’s the colour of the onions that will eventually determine how dark and unctuous your finished dish will be. Now is the time to return the sausages to the dish along with the tomatoes, the whole tin juice and all and mix them in well and then add the butterbeans stir and transfer everything into a casserole dish and place in the middle of the oven at a temp of 180 cover and cook for about 35 minutes.
Have a quick look and stir after 15 minutes add the mushrooms and 200ml of veg stock/oxo, so that there is enough liquid to cover all the ingredients, finally adding the garam masala and chilli powder to taste
cover back up and cook for another 15 minutes.
Now is the time to make the dumplings and that really is just about mixing all the ingredients in a bowl with the spices. Add cold water dribble by dribble until you have a pastry consistency dough that is not sticky and will roll out without sticking.
Give the dish a final stir before you add the dumplings then return the casserole to the oven uncovered for the final 20/25 (depending upon the size of your dumplings) minutes of cooking time, or until the dumplings are cooked through, now serve and enjoy!