It is easy to be lazy with a sausage. They are already seasoned, so all you have to do is cook them, put them on a plate next to some other stuff and eat them. But to simply plonk a banger next to a pile of veg is to do it a grave disservice – far better to use the sausage as an ingredient in its own right. Here are 10 recipes that do exactly that.
The first, as always, is a Felicity Cloake joint. Her toad in the hole masterclass from two years ago is one of the best sausage-based meals. Her batter, which adds flour, milk and ale to whipped eggs, is a weighty thing of beauty. Make her onion gravy, too, and you are laughing.
I have two small kids, so if I never see another bowl of sausage pasta in my life it will be too soon. But if you really insist on making it, then it is worth doing it right. Rachel Kelly’s creamy sausage pasta recipe is an elevation from the bog-standard red sauce monstrosity. She adds cooked sausages to a pan of caramelised onions and garlic, then adds stock, lemon juice and cream. It is wonderful, even if I do have to say that through gritted teeth.
Now we get slightly fancier, by which I mean stripping the sausages of their skins and rolling them into meatballs. Last year, Thomasina Miers offered a recipe for creamed sprouts with sausage, fennel and beans, which is exactly what it sounds like. Still, it is a masterpiece, the meatballs ceding the limelight to the hefty pile of garlicky cannellini beans on the side. Tremendous.
If Miers’ concoction isn’t fancy enough for you, allow me to introduce you to Paul Gayler’s sausage, portobello mushroom and winter root vegetable souflette. This is basically a jazzy shepherd’s pie. You save a bit of time using sausages and bacon instead of minced lamb, but the real attraction is the topping. Swede and parsnip is boiled and mashed, then added to a roux that puffs up in the oven. This is almost ostentatiously fancy.
The easiest thing to do with a sausage, aside from cooking it and eating it like a pink banana, is to sling it into a baking tray with some onions. Delicious Australia’s recipe for marmalade-baked sausage takes the form to a higher level. There is sausage, cider, onion, garlic, mustard, pear and, yes, a third of a jar of marmalade. Chuck it all in a tray, cook it for 25 minutes and there is your dinner.
My personal go-to whenever presented with leftover sausages is a risotto. This is because of those children I mentioned; by the evenings, I am so exhausted that I am perfectly willing to let them go nuts at a bowl of meat porridge. Mob Kitchen has a delicious sausage and fennel risotto recipe – hot with chilli flakes, lifted by the addition of basil.
You have probably made risotto before, though. Maybe, as an alternative, you could try Molly Baz’s lentil kielbassoulet recipe. Another one-pot dish, this calls for kielbasa sausage. It is easy enough to locate one way or the other, but those of you willing to face the wrath of Baz could just swap in some cooked bangers. Brown them with fennel, onion, carrots, celery and garlic, add green lentils and wild mushrooms, then toss some roasted breadcrumbs on top. What you are left with is the taste of a six-hour sausage casserole, but it is ready in one.
At the other end of the spectrum, here is Jamie Oliver’s sausage pizza. This is slightly more finessed than it sounds – you make your own dough, for instance, and the pizza is rich with red onion and rosemary – but the result is still some sausages on a pizza. If you laid all the dishes from this article out in front of me, this is the one I would eat first.
Remember when I said the kielbassoulet was a quick version of a sausage casserole? This is even quicker to make. It is Good Housekeeping’s sausage and baked bean hotpot. Cook the sausages. Cook some onion and carrot. Add some baked beans and treacle. Cook it all for 10 minutes. That is it. Well done, everyone.
Finally, it is Max Halley’s incredible sausage and egg sandwich. It is honestly difficult to pick a star player here. Is it the sausage, cooked on a low heat for a long time? Is it the egg, boiled and crushed? Is it the mayonnaise, shot through with vinegar and hot sauce? This thing is stupendous. You could write poems about it.