Store cupboard sausage and cider casserole

There is one consolation to the weather getting cold: I get to make more delicious but ridicuously easy casseroles thrown together with whatever I have lying around. Last night was one such night.

Most people probably don't have loads of cider lying around, but I was in Somerset last weekend and stocked up. The thyme in the window box died of neglect while we were away a month or so ago, so it's kinda equivalent to dried. The sage is still going, so that's fresh.

I made this last night and it was excellent. Now I'm going to enjoy the leftovers for dinner tonight!

Cider and sausage casserole

  • 4 fresh pork sausages
  • 100g diced chopped pancetta
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 large carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1 large courgette, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups green lentils (washed)
  • 1 tbspn chicken stock concentrate
  • ~1 L traditional west country cider
  • sprig of thyme
  • 6 sage leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • ground pepper
  • worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbspn cornflour

Brown the sausages over high heat in (just brown them, you're not cooking them). Remove to casserole dish. Brown the pancetta and remove to the casserole dish. Roughly slice the onion and soak up the fat from the sausages and pancetta, cooking until the onion is slightly browned. Get the oven on to 160C.

Deglaze the pan with some of the cider, scraping up all the lovely goodness from the cooking. Bung everything except the cornflour into the casserole dish and fill with cider until the liquid level is just above the solids. Season with pepper and a hefty glug of worcestershire sauce.

Place in the oven for a couple of hours, stirring occasionally. After one hour, mix the cornflour with a small amount of extra cider, until smooth, and add to the casserole to help it thicken.

I served it over cous cous, because that's what we had in the cupboard. Would work equally well (better, even) with mash, rice, whatever.