REDCURRANT GINGER AND MUSTARD SAUSAGE & MASH

Redcurrant Ginger and Mustard Sausage & Mash.

When the recipe is so good you forgot to take the ‘After’ photo, you know you’re on to a winner. Damn it. This is where I’ve set myself up as a food blogger. I’ve got into a pattern of showing you the before picture as well as the after, which while is great for you, is awful for me because once the food is done, I actually have to capture its picture. All I want to do is throw myself on the sofa or table and eat it, but I know I have to take a picture. Unfortunately in this instance, I was so excited to eat that I forgot I even had a blog. I forgot I had a name.

So all I have for you today is a before picture and an absolute promise that this will be the best sausage supper you will ever make. This recipe came to me by accident when I was working on a lamb marinade for a magazine that I write for but as usual, in my retail daydream whilst food shopping, forgot to pick up lamb. What I did have however, lurking in the back of my fridge that night were a few really plump, thick sausages that I intended on using for breakfast at the weekend. I gave up on the lamb idea as a trek to the supermarket was out of the question and I just started fiddling.

This marinade is the nuts. It is absolutely no joke. Sweet, warm, hot, salty – all the things your mouth wants of an evening. And because I was having a sausage dinner, obviously mash and gravy are the accompaniments. I looked at the bag of marinade and thought… this is going to make a really bizarre gravy. But no. It makes a wonderful sweet and smoky liquor gravy that soaks so densely into the mash. Oh I can’t stand it, even as I type, I want to make this again.

I tried this recipe out on my mother one evening too. The woman has eaten more of my meals than she or I could ever count and while she is always very complimentary, we’re also very honest with each other with what works and what doesn’t. She told me this meal was one of the best things I have ever cooked for her. That, dear reader, is why I urge you to go and make this for a loved one.

And this is why, in my own mental Filofax, I file this recipe under the LOVE category. A recipe I will make you to show you in a very honest, very experiential and very real way that I love you. Having tasted this and having given it to some of the people that I love and see their faces light up, I know there is no truer expression of love. Nothing truer than a table full of people you love in deadpan silence, tucking into a bowl of sausage, mash and gravy. That’s love right there.

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So before your love filled night, marinade your sausages. Drop your sausages in a big zip lock bag – number of sausages depends on your party size, obvs – and to this bag add the following: a hefty tablespoon of redcurrant jelly, a nice pinch of ground ginger, half a shot glass of dark, soy sauce, some sea salt, a tablespoon of grainy mustard, some bruised garlic (cloves crushed with the blunt of your knife) and then a shot glass of orange flavoured olive oil. If you can’t get this, just add regular olive oil and then the zest of a whole orange. Close the bag, gently smush everything around an refrigerate overnight.

Now preheat your oven to 200C. In a frying pan, heat a little olive oil before adding a red onion which you’ve cut into hoops. Soften them down nicely by adding some salt to the pan so that they release their water. Once they have softened, thrown these into a small-ish roasting pan that’s good enough to go both in the oven and on the hob. Put this roasting pan to one side.

Now in the same frying pan, add a tiny bit more oil before taking your sausages out of their marinade and adding to the hot oil. You’re not looking to cook your sausages here, only to brown them so that you seal the marinade flavour into the meat and you don’t lose any of that salty pork taste to the sausage. Once the sausages have evenly browned, place them on top of the red onions. Pour any leftover marinade from the bag on to the sausages and onions before putting this in the oven for roughly 40-45 minutes.

While these cook in the oven, crack on with your mash. I do my mash very lazily and urge you to do the same. When I say I don’t peel my potatoes, don’t throw rocks at me. I just don’t! Why bother? You get the same creaminess, I promise. Just do it this once, I swear. So cut up some potatoes (big ones!) into quarters and chuck in a pan of cold salted water. Bring to a boil and drop to a simmer for about 15-20 minutes until they’re soft.

Drain them, but before you do, grab a mug and take out a little bit of the cooking water before allowing them to sit in the colander for a bit. Pit the same pan back on the hob and drop in a tablespoon of butter and pour in a little milk. Stir to combine until it bubbles gently before adding a little splash of the cooking water and grating in some cheese (any cheese but I like Red Leicester). Now add the potatoes and mix everything with a spoon before pounding with a potato crusher. Stir the potatoes regularly with a spoon to maintain the creaminess. It’s so good.

Once the sausages have had their cooking time, plate up your mash and remove the sausages from the oven. Using tongs or something, place a few sausages on top of the mash before placing the roasting pan with the onions over a low heat. Add a slight sprinkle of flour and stir (wear an oven glove to hold the roasting dish so it doesn’t slide everywhere!) and ensure the onions and sticky marinade are all congealed by the flour.

Now splash in a tiny bit of beef stock. It will sizzle slightly but don’t be alarmed, just keep mixing. Once the little bit of stock creates a paste with the onion, marinade and flour, keep pouring in the stock and stirring until you have a delicious onion gravy. Keep adding stock until you reach the consistency you personally like before pouring the onion gravy over the sausage and mash.

It needs nothing more than maybe a glass of red wine as accompaniment, silent friends gathered around a table and a knife and fork. You could even do away with the knife.

So love truly can come in all formats. I present mine in the form of sweet, sticky sausages. I urge you to present yours the same way. Tell someone you love them with a sausage. They will thank you.

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