Sausages are the ultimate crowdpleasers. Bronzed and burnished on the outside and moist and juicy within, they are hard to resist and provide simple, uncomplicated pleasure. They are an invaluable kitchen staple – economical, fuss-free and on the table in no time. While traditional British pork bangers are a wonderful classic, a variety of others are widely available now, from chorizo to merguez. I have made suggestions as to which type I think works best in today’s recipes, but, really, any sort will do, including vegan and vegetarian sausages, although cooking times may vary.
Sausages with pomegranate molasses, roast grapes and radicchio (pictured top)
A stunning, autumnal dish that requires less than 15 minutes of hands–on work.
Prep 10 minCook 30 minServes 4
1 tbsp olive oil8 sausages (I especially like Italian sausages with fennel or lamb merguez here)25g butter1 heaped tsp pink peppercorns, roughly crushed1 tsp fennel seeds50ml pomegranate molasses2 heads radicchio, quartered200ml chicken stock500g red grapes (I used muscat), cut into small bunches with scissors
Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan)/350F/gas 4Put a large casserole pan on a high heat. When the pan is hot, drizzle in the olive oil, then add the sausages and give them a good few minutes until browned all over.
Add the butter, pink peppercorns and fennel seeds, let the butter melt and gloss over all the sausages, then drizzle in the pomegranate molasses. Sizzle, shaking the pan for one minute, then nestle the radicchio quarters in among the sausages.
Pour in the stock, bring to a boil, then pop it in the oven for 20 minutes. Take off the lid, add the grapes and cook for a further five to seven minutes, until the grapes are just bursting.
Transfer the sausages, radicchio and grapes to a warmed platter, spoon over the pan juices and serve.
Braised sausages with curry leaf upma
This Indian-inspired take on bangers and mash swaps the potatoes for upma, a sort of semolina porridge that is creamy, comforting and a great canvas for all sorts.
Prep 20 minCook 50 minServes 4
Rapeseed oil, for frying8 good-quality British pork sausages250g small shallots, peeled3 garlic cloves, peeled and very finely chopped1 thumb-sized piece fresh ginger, peeled and very finely grated1 long red chilli, sliced on the diagonal1 heaped tbsp madras curry powder1 heaped tbsp plain flour3 heaped tbsp mango chutney375ml ciderSea salt and pepper2 tbsp finely chopped coriander, to garnish
For the upma275g semolina1 tbsp ghee1 tbsp split urad dal (split, skinned black gram)1 heaped tsp black mustard seedsA pinch of asafoetida15 fresh curry leaves20 cashew nuts1 onion, peeled and finely chopped2cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated2 green chillies, finely chopped25g unsalted butter
Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan)/350F/gas 4. Put a casserole on a medium heat, add a drizzle of oil and, when it’s hot, brown the sausages all over. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon, put on a plate and set aside.
Add the shallots to the same pan, lightly brown them all over, then transfer to the sausage plate. Add a little more oil to the pan, if necessary, then fry the garlic, ginger and chilli over a low heat for two to three minutes, then sprinkle in the curry powder and cook briefly until fragrant. Sprinkle in the flour, cook for a minute or two, then stir in the chutney and slowly whisk in the cider. Return the sausages and shallots to the pan, season and bring to a boil, then cover and roast for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the upma. Toast the semolina in a hot, dry frying pan for three to four minutes, stirring constantly so it doesn’t catch. Once it smells toasted and nutty, transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Wipe out the pan, then heat the ghee over a medium-high heat and fry the urad dal until golden. Add the mustard seeds and, the moment they pop, the asafoetida, followed by the curry leaves and cashews, then turn down the heat and cook until the nuts are lightly brown. Stir in the onion, fry until soft, then add the ginger and chillies, and fry until fragrant.
Add 900ml boiling water, season with salt and simmer for three minutes. Very slowly, pour in the toasted semolina, stirring all the time so it doesn’t clump together, then cook for three to four minutes, until all the water has been absorbed. Finally, beat in the butter.
Scatter the coriander over the sausages and onions and serve alongside the upma.