What a lovely warming dish to come home to! I have an automatic timer on my oven so will often make it in advance and have the oven warm it up before I get home. You can use a slow cooker for this one – the technique is the same but it needs at least 3 hours in the slow cooker.
For the casserole –
4 x sausages – I truely believe that butchers is best but you can use any sausages. For this one, I’ll be using chipolatas left over from Christmas but will usually use normal sausages, turkey sausages work very well too.
1/2 chopped onion – any colour or 1 shallot if you’re that way inclined
1 x carrot, sliced
1 bay leaf – not essential but adds to the flavour. Just tear it in half and you will need to fish it out at the end.
1 x tbs (tablespoons) flour – can be any except cornflour
200 ml beef stock – I find beef gives the best flavour but you can use any
1 x tsp (teaspoon) paprika
1/2 tin of beans – for this one I am using kidney beans but butter beans also work well. You can use any really, just make sure they are not in a sauce! You can freeze the other half of the tin in a tub in the water from the tin to use again another day.
For the dumplings –
60g self raising flour
30g suet – I use veggie suet but you can use beef suet
1/2 tsp (teaspoon) rock salt – I prefer it for the crunch but you can use normal salt
1 x tsp chopped rosemary – you can use any hardy herb but I particularly like rosemary.
approx 3 tbs water
Start by browning the sausages in a little oil, on a medium heat. They do not need to be cooked through but browned on the outside. I am lucky to have a casserole dish that I can use on the hob but you can start in a frying pan.
Once the sausages are browned, remove from the pan, turn down to medium low heat and fry off the onions and carrots until softened slightly – this should only take a couple of minutes.
Slice the sausages about 2cm thick and add to the onions and carrots with the bay leaf and paprika and cook for a couple more minutes.
Stir in the flour then add the stock and the drained and rinsed beans, turn up the heat and bring to the boil. Give one more stir, put into an oven proof dish, cover and then pop in the oven at about 140 centigrade (fan) for about an hour and a half.
While that’s cooking, make the dumplings – put all the dry ingredients into a bowl, add most of the water and, using a knife to stir, bring all the ingredients together until they start to form a dough (you may need to add more water)
Once the dough is formed, shape into 4 dumplings (but you mustn’t handle the dough too much or the dumplings will be rubbery) then refrigerate.
Add to the casserole 30 mins before it’s due out of the oven. Simply give the casserole a stir and season to taste, then float the dumplings on top leaving uncovered for the last 30 mins of cooking. (If making in a slow cooker, just transfer the dish into the oven for the last half an hour)
I always serve this with horseradish mashed potato (add a tsp horseradish to your normal mashed potato) and buttered cabbage – it’s delicious!
If you have any leftovers, heat for 2 mins 30 in a microwave for a delicious hot lunch the next day (ensure food is piping hot before eating), or freeze for a really quick dinner after work!
Serves 2 – cals 472 – fat 27.8 – carbs 37.6 – protein – 19.5