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Sausage & Apple Casserole with Herb Crusted Dumplings

By Karen Burns-Booth •


Sausage lovers rejoice as British Sausage Week gives you the celebrate the great British banger!  Karen is a big fan and introduces the week along with a recipe for a hearty, budget friendly and delicious sausage casserole.


As a fully paid up member of the “Sausage Lover’s Club” there is no way I am letting British Sausage Week escape me, with the opportunity to eat sausages every day if I so wish! British Sausage Week is an annual celebration of the taste, quality and diversity of the traditional pork sausage. During the week, sausage lovers will be celebrating with the winners of the national competition, which will reveal the land’s greatest sausages, along with a host of delicious new recipes.


The celebrity ambassador for the Week is Simon Rimmer, celebrity chef and host to a foodie weekend TV show, he will be joining the British Sausage Week team on a tour of sausage discovery to firstly taste all the sausages that have got through as regional finalists, then award the winning butcher in each region with a coveted Banger Award – I wish I could accompany him!

Not only do I love the humble British banger for its taste, texture and flavour, but I also rate it as a fabulous “frugal family meal plan” ingredient, and many a comforting “the week before pay day” meal has been made with a packet of sausages.


Sausages come in many different shapes, flavours and sizes, and my top three favourites are Beef, Lincolnshire and Cumberland sausages – the classics are always the best, but, I do enjoy the diverse selection of other flavours that are on offer now, such as Pork and Apple, Lamb and Mint, Pork with Caramelised Onion and Hot and Spicy with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Chilli. One of the best things about a packet of sausages is that you can make a VERY hearty and filling meal for all of the family and it won’t break the bank either, as I am happy to show with my recipe for Sausage & Apple Casserole with Herb Crusted Dumplings today.


I was fascinated to read the Ten Top Sausage Facts over at the official British Sausage Week website; you can also download a “Sausage Fact Sheet” there too, if like me, you are bonkers about bangers!

Ten Top Sausage Facts

1. During the year to July 2013, the nation consumed 188,270 tonnes of sausages at home and spent £737.3 million

2. 87% of British households buy sausages - 45% at least every four weeks

3. Each household spends an average of £32.25 per year on sausages

4. Every day, 3.7 million meals containing sausages are eaten at home

5. A staggering 1.4 billion meals containing sausage are eaten in the home each year

6. More pork sausages are eaten as part of an evening or teatime meal at home (66%); compared to 18% at breakfast, 14% at lunch and 2% as a snack

7. 31% of the sausage market (by volume) is classified as premium, 58% as standard, 3% as low fat and 8% as economy

8. 90% of sausages are made from pork

9. Sausage sales (by volume) are more than double the sales of burgers and grills.

10. Increasingly menus are referencing sausages made using pork from named butchers and farms.


Setting the hard facts to one side, there is always a good reason to reach for a packet of bangers, and as I was able to take advantage of an “offer” on three packets of sausages for £5 recently, as well as use my own apples from the garden, my casserole recipe comes in at a very “credit crunch” worthy 50 pence head for a family of four! (The total coast of my ingredients were £2:01)


Cheap and cheerful it may be, but it is my most requested meal by all the family, and as the weather starts to get more wintry, it’s a brilliant recipe to keep on hand, and, it can be prepped and cooked in a slow cooker too – perfect if you are out at work all day. There is no need to serve anything else with this casserole, other than some steamed cabbage or other seasonal veggies, as the dumplings take the place of spuds; although some mash would always be a great addition if you crave bangers and mash! I have suggested using pork and apple sausages, but do use any bangers of your choice and have a banging British bangers week!

Sausage & Apple Casserole with Herb Crusted Dumplings



(4 generous helpings)

Ingredients:

Casserole:
450g pork and apple sausages (or sausages of your choice)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
2 apples, sliced and cored, but not peeled (I used Russets)
1 heaped tsp plain flour
275ml dry cider or apple juice
2 tablespoons tomato puree
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
12 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Dumplings:
225g self-raising flour
1 tablespoon fresh herbs (such as parsley, sage and thyme)
110g shredded vegetable suet (Or, grated frozen butter)
Water, to mix

Method:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4.

2. Take a large oven-proof casserole, heat the oil in it and brown the sausages all round. Then, using a slotted spoon, remove them to a plate while you brown the onions lightly. When they are done, sprinkle in the flour to soak up the juices, and then gradually stir in the cider or apple juice before adding the tomato purée.

3. Put the sausages back in, plus the apples, garlic, chopped sage leaves and a little seasoning; put a lid on when it all comes to simmering point and then transfer to the oven for 30 minutes.

4. When the 30 minutes is up, remove the lid and cook for a further 20-30 minutes, adding the dumplings to the casserole for the last 20 minutes.

5. Dumplings:  Mix the flour with the salt, pepper and herbs in a mixing bowl. Stir in the suet or grated frozen butter and then add water VERY carefully and slowly - mixing in between, until the dumpling dough is soft, but not sticky. Shape the dough into 8 round dumplings, and drop them on top of the beef stew 20 minutes before the end of the cooking time.

6. Serve immediately with seasonal vegetables or mashed potatoes.
 
 
For more sensational sausage recipes visit Great British Chefs collection.
 
 

 

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Karen Burns-Booth

Karen Burns-Booth is creative freelance food writer & blogger. Her love of seasonal food & recipes stems from her childhood observing her grandmother and mother’s cookery skills. A regular contributor in Country Kitchen magazine, she currently writes for numerous other publications, food, travel and tourism websites and has several recipes in print in compilation cookbooks. She is currently working on a Historical British Cookbook.

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