If I were a proper food blogger, the title of this post would be something like 'roasted sausages with apple, onion & sage, accompanied by a butternut squash & carrot mash'. But, a) that wouldn't fit in the title space, and b) it is essentially just bangers and mash.
In May 2012, I decided to stop eating meat. I'd just read Jonathan Safran Foer's 'Eating Animals' - an amaaaazing book which I urge to read whether you eat meat or not, because it's just so, so important. It prompted me to stop eating meat altogether (though I continued to eat fish), and since then I've really enjoyed the range of meat-free food I've eaten and cooked. Being a vegetarian taught me how to work creatively and cleverly in the kitchen, & opened up my tastes to all manner of things I'd not previously considered. Furthermore, I still - and always will - totally believe that a vegetarian or vegan diet can be every bit as tasty, healthy & fulfilling as one which contains meat. That it's morally the correct way to eat is basically undeniable. So, it's with more than a little bit of regret that I return to the world of meat - but, for various reasons which I won't discuss here, I've decided to return nonetheless. I still feel hugely uncomfortable about buying meat from supermarkets so don't plan on doing that any time soon, which is why I was super excited when the farmer's market rolled in to town last Saturday. For me, it's so comforting knowing where your meat comes from, and even being able to talk to the person who reared the animal themselves. It might be a teeeeny tiny bit more expensive, but honestly the peace of mind is worth the additional 50p. Not to mention the fact that they inevitably taste like, ten thousand times better. Anyway, I stocked up, so you'll no doubt be seeing a few more meaty recipes from me soon enough.
One thing I never managed to stop craving as a vegetarian was sausages. I know bacon is supposed to be the most difficult thing for a vegetarian to give up, but I never found that - for me, it was always pork & leek sausages in a brown bread sandwich with a hefty dose of coleslaw/mustard/ketchup/delete as applicable. And when I came home from the market on Saturday, that was the first thing I made. But, once that craving was satisfied, I wanted something a little homelier - and what better than bangers & mash?
The "mash" is mashed up butternut squash & carrot, and I roasted the sausages along with some onion, Braeburn apple, mustard & maple syrup. Can you get a more autumnal dish than this? I'm not sure it's possible. This recipe is unfussy, unfancy & filling, and it's worth making just for how good your house will smell afterwards. Enjoy.
To feed 3, you will need:
- 6 sausages - I used pork & leek, but use whatever you fancy.
- 1 onion.
- 2 tbsp olive oil.
- Half a tablespoon of dried sage.
- 2 eating apples - I used Braeburn, but go with whatever you have.
- 1 tbsp maple syrup.
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard.
- 1 medium butternut squash.
- 4 medium carrots.
- 1 tablespoon of butter.
- Salt & pepper, to taste.
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees c.
2. Peel and chop your butternut squash and your carrots into bitesize pieces, and throw them in a roasting tin. Drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil, and sprinkle salt & black pepper over the top. Rub it all together with your hands until thoroughly coated, and then place in the bottom of the oven for 40-45 minutes, turning occasionally.
3. Peel & chop the onion into wedges - however big or small you fancy, according to preference.
4. Place the onion & sausages into a seperate roasting tin, and drizzle with olive oil. Rub with your hands to coat, and then place in the oven for about 20 minutes.
5. Peel your apples & cut them in half, then into four. Cut out the core, and then chop into slices.
6. Mix together a tablespoon of maple syrup & a tablespoon of Dijon mustard.
7. Once the sausages have been in for 20 minutes, remove the roasting tin from the oven and add in the apple. Cover with the mustard & maple syrup mix, sprinkle with half a tablespoon of dried sage, then place back into the oven for a further 20 minutes.
8. Once your squash & carrots are tender, remove them from the oven and transfer to a saucepan, along with a knob of butter. On a low heat, mash it all together - the butternut squash will be much softer than the carrot, so you'll probably end up with chunks of carrot throughout. If you're feeding people who really hate chunky mash, perhaps forego the carrot & replace with another butternut squash, or use sweet potato instead.
9. Once the sausages are brown & cooked, take them out of the oven and serve alongside the mash for a simple, hearty supper that's perfect for autumn.