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(Slightly) spicy sausage casserole

This is one of the most popular recipes in our home. Whenever I ask the men what they would like to see on the menu at holiday time or when they are feeling tired or run down, the answer is always "Sausage casserole!".  I often try to double the ingredients, in the hope of freezing a large batch. The problem is, we end up eating so much, there is often not much left to freeze, although smaller portions can be padded out by chopping the sausages into thirds and adding lots of sad looking vegetables.  Of course you can vary the heat according to the taste of your family.
  • 12 free range sausages, whole or cut in half if you want the casserole to go further 
  • half bottle of passata, give or take
  • half large onion, sliced thinly 
  • good slosh of red or white wine if you have some left over
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced thin and then chopped even smaller 
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • large squeeze of lemon 
  • drizzle of honey 
  • seasoning 
  • any old sad looking vegetables you have lying around
  • dried chilli flakes if desired - amount to suit your taste - or a good shake of dried thyme if you don't fancy the spice
  1. First of all,  fry the onion in olive oil until golden and soft.  
  2. Add the sausages and fry until slightly brown. 
  3. Add half a bottle of passata or enough until well covered.  Save the rest of the passata in the fridge to use in another recipe - I find it lasts for weeks without tasting funny.  If you are using up a bottle, make sure you pour a little tap water in it and shake to get the dregs and the yummy bits on the side.  
  4. Add a good slosh of old red or white wine if you fancy it and have some left over - the alcohol evaporates so I give it to my children. 
  5. Add garlic, bay leaf, lemon, honey, chilli or thyme and seasoning as well as any old sad looking vegetables, chopped small. For example one time I added half a tin of sweetcorn that was left over from the tuna and sweetcorn earlier in the week. 
  6. Bring to a simmer.
  7. Put in oven at medium temperature a good hour or so, stirring and checking to make sure it does not dry out. Alternatively keep simmering on stove, but you will need to keep more of an eye on it.