This is a comforting one-pot dinner that evokes all of the flavours of pub classics and Sunday roasts, but with a fraction of the work. The stuffing crumbs are one of my favourite ingredients – the Guardian once did a feature on my love affair with it, which involved a photoshoot where I bent perilously close over a smoking briefcase and had a waterfall of crumbs poured on my head. Thankfully, in my kitchen these crumbs just live in a large jar and nobody throws them at my face, but I do hurl them into a surprising number of suppers. Here they do a lot of heavy lifting; thickening the sauce and adding a deep, herby base note.
You can play with the cider and water quantities, depending on who you’re cooking for, as long as the total liquid content is 600ml. For the purposes of this recipe, the frozen carrot and swede mix works well if wrestling with a solid and rather graceless root vegetable just isn’t what you feel like doing. And I don’t blame you, swedes are absolute gits. I use a cheap plastic and metal guillotine-style contraption to pulverize them into neat little cubes these days (see the Fairly Essential Equipment list for more details) and it’s extremely satisfying!
First, pop your sausages into a large nonstick pan and drizzle with the oil. Cook over a medium heat for 5–6 minutes, hustling them around the pan every now and then to prevent them from sticking and burning.
Peel and dice your onion and leek if using fresh ones, or measure them out if using frozen. Finely slice the celery, if you’re using it – it’s not essential, but it does help bulk the dish out and adds a bright base note, as well as being packed with vitamins K, A and C, so it’s worth bunging it into a dinner whenever you get the chance. Dice your swede or potato and carrots.
Add all the veg to the pan and extra oil, if required. Season with a pinch of salt. Cook for 10 minutes more, still jostling it all about every now and then.
Pour over the cider, wait a beat for it to settle, then add most of the water and the stock cube, mustard and stuffing mix. Drain and thoroughly rinse the beans, then add those too. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for 25 minutes until the sausages and veg are cooked through and the sauce is thick and succulent. Add the remaining water, if required.
Finish with a dash of vinegar or lemon juice, and serve. I like to remove the sausages and chop them into slices, as it makes for a more pleasurable eating experience than wresting an entire banger into your chops, and it also makes it feel like the meat goes further. If I’m feeling fancy, I’ll sling a handful of chopped greens, frozen spinach or kale in there too, for a bit of extra goodness.
© Jack Monroe, 2020