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Six new ways to cook with sausages

We're thrilled to welcome back the gastronomic wisdom of husband and wife chef team Mark and Jo Holland this week, to give us a fresh spin on some family favourites. This week it's that mid-week, kid-friendly humble (and not so humble) sausage.

Whether you like them herbed, spicy, or simply pink, plump and juicy - the world is full of wonderful sausages, because almost every country has a variety all of its own.

In Britain we love a banger but there are good and bad to choose from. Where possible, try to look for a high proportion of meat - at least 80% - but don't choose too high as the sausage needs some fat to be succulent and flavoursome. There are some good sausages in supermarkets but do try your local butcher, they often make the very best. The following recipes all need to be cooked first and the best way is in the oven as you can achieve a cooked through golden brown result more easily. All these recipes can also be made a day or two ahead and finished when required.

Baked potato with sausage (with nearly hidden vegetables)

For four people start by baking four medium potatoes in the oven. After about 25 mins bake six sausages separately in the same oven. Continue cooking until both are done then remove from the oven. In the meantime start to make the filling, you can be really flexible here and add almost any thing you like but start with a small tin of sweetcorn, some chopped spring onion maybe some ginger/garlic paste, a little chopped or dried chilli, some grated cheese. You might like olives or capers. When the potatoes and sausages are done remove from the oven and set the sausages aside. Cut the potatoes in two and scrape the potatoto flesh into a bowl. Add a good amount of butter and mix into the potato, don’t mash. Chop the sausages into bite sized pieces and add to the other ingredients. Mix this with potatoes and season well. Put the skins into a baking tray and load them with the mixture and grate over a good amount of cheese. This will now hold until needed and then bake until piping hot and the cheese is golden. It’s a meal on its own, but a crispy side salad would be very nice on the side.

Sausage with white beans

This is a one pot meal that can be heated as required. Brown six sausages in the oven but do not overcook. Set aside. In a large casserole dish, brown one red onion in some oil then add some chopped celery and carrot. Saute these together for a few minutes and the add a clove of chopped garlic and one can of chopped tomatoes, some herbs (your choice), and seasoning. Braise for about 20 minutes and then add one can of butter beans. Other pulses could be used. Braise for another 10 mins, cut the sausages in half and add them. Mix together and grate on some nutmeg. Leave until needed then bake in the oven at 180C for about 25 minutes.

Turbo sausage roll

You will need a sheet of ready made puff pastry, preferably all butter and six sausages of your choice. If you place the sausages straight into the cases the sausage skins will not cook and will become rubbery, so remove the sausage meat by cutting them in half and squeezing out the meat. Put this in a bowl and add the seasoning of your choice. Choose from mango chutney, spring onion and ginger, cheese, apples and spice, fennel seed and chilli or whatever you fancy, but whichever options you decide on, be generous with your flavours. Mix your choice with the meat and seperate into two balls. Now take your puff pastry and lay out flat. Cut it in half lengthwise. Roll out the meat into a long sausage the length of the pastry and lay each piece on the pastry. Now fold over the pastry into one long piece and cut each into four pieces, yielding eight in all. Turn these onto a baking tray seam side down and brush with beaten egg. Bake at 180C 160 fan for approx. 30 mins. An avocado salad would be good.

BBQ style dogs

This is a very simple recipe and the cooking sauce can be used for many other things. For instance, spare ribs or chicken wings.

Gently roast eight chipolatas until golden brown. Meanwhile make the sauce. In a bowl place two tablespoons each of tomato ketchup, soy sauce and runny honey, one tablespoon red wine vinegar, one teaspoon chilli powder and paprika, one teaspoon english mustard, juice of one orange and salt and pepper. Mix together and taste, it should be sweet, sour, savoury and spicy all at once. Adjust as needed. Now pour this over the chipolatas and roast a few minutes more, basting as you go. The sauce will thicken and the sausages will be done. Serve with coleslaw with or without buns.

Quick coleslaw: Finely shredded white cabbage, thinly sliced red onion, grated carrot, mayonnaise, seasoning. Mix it all together, it may need a little lemon juice.

Sausage meatballs with ragu and pasta shells

Remove the meat from the skins of six sausages. Take enough meat, about one tablespoon and roll in your hands into a ball. Keep doing this with the rest of the meat. Fry these gently until golden brown and set aside. Clean out the pan with paper but don’t wash, add some oil and fry a chopped onion until golden, add a little garlic, one can of chopped tomatoes, oregano and chilli salt and pepper and one teaspoon sugar. Heat and simmer for 10 mins, now add the meatballs and cook a further 10 mins. This can now be left until needed, up to two days. When required cook 360g of pasta shells or rigatoni in boiling salted water for approx 10 minutes and at the same time reheat the sauce. Mix the cooked pasta into the sauce and serve with grated parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil.

Sausage with apple and horseradish sauce

Roast six sausages in the oven until golden. Meanwhile gently fry a chopped small onion until transluscent, not brown, add a large chopped cooking apple and one teaspoon of brown sugar. Braise this until the apple is cooked and add one tablespoon horseradish sauce. Mix all together, season and taste. Put this in a baking dish, lay on the sausages and bury them in the sauce. Scatter on some breadcrumbs, dot with butter and maybe some cheese if you like. Keep until you need it then reheat and serve with a green vegetable.

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