Sometimes, in fact a lot of the time in my case, all we want when we get home is something familiar, something that requires very little thought and yet is immensely pleasing. For me, in the winter, that often means sausages and mash with some onion gravy. It’s a few-step wonder: put sausages in frying pan sans fat, cook quickly on all sides to colour then more slowly to braise and remove all traces of pink. Peel and chop potatoes, boil and mash. Peel and chop onions, add to cooked sausages with some stock or wine and a spoonful of grainy mustard. Let simmer until gravy has thickened. Serve on top of the mash. However, although I can almost cook this with my eyes shut I am always, as with any form of cooking, looking for ways to improve on it, ways to make it both easier and more interesting.
And, here it is, thanks to Appetite: use the oven for the sausages and onion gravy (easier and less messy), use Marsala instead of wine (its sweetness is perfect with the sausages, a bit like apple sauce with a roast) and make parsnip instead of potato mash (again the sweetness is a great complement). With the minimum of changes (ok, I grant you, Marsala is less likely to be knocking about the average kitchen than a glass of red wine) you’ve turned knee-jerk and predictable into considered and different. And it’s just lovely.
Sausages and mash with Marsala and onion gravy (adapted from Appetite)
For two you will need:
Cupboard (or things you may already have)
butter, about 25g for the onions plus about the same for the mash
white onions, 2
bay leaves, 2
flour, a dessertspoon
stock, about 125ml (I used vegetable but I’m sure chicken would be fine too)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
thick, herby sausages, 4-6 depending on how many you want each
fresh thyme, a couple of sprigs
Marsala, ½ glass
Dijon mustard, a teaspoon
parsnips, 4 medium
1. Melt the 25g butter in a non-ridged roasting or casserole dish over a gentle heat then add the sausages. Brown on all sides.
2. Whilst the sausages are browning peel the onions and cut in half then cut each half into three wedges. Once the sausages are brown, take them out of the dish and add the onions to the butter and sausage fat. Stir them to coat with the fat then leave them to cook for about 10-15 minutes, turning them over now and again to prevent them burning, until they have softened and they are just colouring.
3. Whilst the onions are cooking preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C/gas 4 and, if necessary, make up the stock.
4. Once the onions are done, add the sprigs of thyme and the bay leaves, turn the heat up a little and add the flour. Mix it in well then add the Marsala, stock, some salt and pepper and bring to the boil.
5. As soon as the gravy starts to thicken, return the sausages to the pan, stir in the mustard then put the dish in the oven (uncovered if a casserole dish). Leave to cook for about 15-20 minutes until the sausages are cooked all the way through and the gravy is thick and bubbling.
6. Whilst the sausages are in the oven, peel, top and tail and chop the parsnips then put the pieces into a pan of boiling water. Boil until just done, not completely collapsing (about 8-10 minutes depending on the size of the pieces), then mash with the rest of the butter and some salt and pepper.
7. Serve the sausages on top of the mash with the onion gravy ladled generously over the top. Heavenly.