One of my siblings (I don’t know which) decided that they did not like sausage-meat. Odd since we all liked sausages and or chipolatas but there is no accounting for dislikes or perceived dislikes.
Sausage meat was relatively cheap and, given the fact that there was only my fathers Royal Naval pay coming in, mum would clearly be seeking cheap nutritional meals for the family.
Sausage-meat risotto was born. It became a firm favourite with us all. Doesn’t risotto sound far more exciting than spicy sausage-meat?
1/2 tbspn cooking oil, should be just enough to moisten the pan as the sausage meat will add its own fat (I use olive oil)
1 onion, finely chopped
¾ lb Sausage meat, best quality you can afford, I use the local butchers
1 tbspn tomato purée
2 tspns of mixed herbs
4oz mushrooms (optional)
curry powder, strength and amount depends on personal taste. But I use about 2 tabspns
tin of tomatoes, chopped
1 egg beaten (optional)
Heat oil gently in a heavy bottomed frying pan, add chopped onion and cook until onion is soft but not coloured. Crumble the sausage-meat in to the pan and fry gently for about 5 mins, add the tomato purée, the mixed herbs. If using the mushrooms add them now. Stir everything together and continue cooking until the sausage-meat browns. Stir in the curry powder, add the chopped tomatoes. Simmer for 15 mins, add black pepper, check seasoning, add more curry powder if you like your food more spicy. Cook for further 5 mins: if the sauce needs thickening add the beaten egg, stir and cook through for 5 mins. Serve piping hot with crusty bread, or rice or just on it’s own.
Serves up to 8
2oz butter + a little extra
1 onion chopped
6 rasher of bacon preferably smoked, rind removed and bacon diced
250g mushrooms sliced (if using tiny button mushrooms leave whole)
1 medium chicken cut into joints (If you use a whole chicken you should have 8 joints) or preprepared joints -thighs and or breast for the number people you wish to serve)
chicken stock (or if no stock a can of condensed chicken soup and 1 can of water)
1 tspn of English mustard powder
1 tabspn of flour
¼ pint milk (optional)
fresh ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
Pre-heat oven to Gas 4 180C
Melt butter in heavy bottomed frying pan, add chopped onion and diced bacon. Cook gently for about 5 mins: onions need to be soft but not browned. Transfer to casserole dish large enough to hold chicken with room to spare.
Cook mushrooms in frying pan and cook on low heat in the pan juices. Place cooked mushrooms into the casserole with the onions and bacon.
Brown the chicken joints in the same frying pan: if necessary add extra butter to pan.
Transfer browned chicken to casserole dish.
Using mustard powder and flour make a roux with the pan juices, adding stock (or soup) and milk (if using) to make thickish sauce. Season with black pepper.
Pour over chicken and vegetables, if necessary add more stock to ensure chicken etc is covered. Tuck the bay leaves into the mixture.
Place in oven and cook for about an hour or until cooked. Check sauce half way through cooking: correct seasoning and thicken if necessary.
Serve with creamy mashed potatoes, rice and vegetables.
I may be wrong, but I think everyone has favourite foods or meals from their childhood, certainly I do. These meals have become my comfort foods – some are not too bad for the waist-line. Others? Well let’s just say they really should be kept for treats.
My husband always says that his mother wasn’t the greatest cook, she says the same. She was always leaving something on the stove whilst she went to see to the frogs in the pond or watch the birds in the garden. However, no-one can make a shepherds pie as good as hers. His other childhood favourite is toad in the hole.
On the other hand, my mother was a very good cook and it is from her I learnt to cook. Her Chicken casserole is up there with my top ten of favourites, along with Oxtail stew (in my opinion the best and most unctuous stew ever). Spam fritters, come to that cheese and onion fritters. Mashed potato (ultimate comfort food). Fried slice topped with runny egg yolk and masses of fried mushrooms.
Then being taken to restaurants by my first true love expanded my food horizons: Chateaubriand, Tournedo Rossini, Scampi Provençal, and er Wine.
But I digress; here are a few of my childhood favourites, which I am pleased to say my OH also enjoys
Chicken casserole – Warning I am reliably informed that this is addictive.
Sausage Meat Risotto