This isn't the sort of dish I grew up eating, and indeed sausage stews or casseroles are fairly new to me. As a child, we had (meat) sausages fairly infrequently at barbecues. They were a novelty and eaten in a bun or with barbecue themed side salads. Perhaps as a result, vegan sausages now frequent either in buns or alongside potato and salad. However, Dannii's casserole caught my eye as a hearty cold weather dish and as something suited to my current preference for make ahead dinners. (The time immediately before our dinner is usually taken up with bathing and feeding Mini Bite.)
Dannii's casserole used turkey sausages so an obvious adaptation in my dish was to substitute veggie ones. I used the Linda McCartney brand, which is one of our most frequently purchased vegan sausage options. I also put one potato into the stew and paired it with pitta bread instead of a mashed potato side. I left out the beans as I eat so many of them in other formats, added some additional vegetables (carrot, pepper, spinach), and tweaked the seasonings.
If I'm honest, I actually didn't like the sausages in this, which may reflect my lack of experience with sausage stews and/or the fact I made it in the morning and we didn't eat it until the evening. The sausages were slightly soggy and I much prefer mine crisp from the oven (or barbecue)! However, the vegetable component was enjoyable and I would make this again just with beans...albeit then taking the dish back to my more usual meals. Alternatively, I think I'd like this with sausages on the side.
Depending on your own views of sausages and how to eat them, this may be a winner as is if you like sausage stew style dishes. Otherwise, I can recommend the vegetable base as a highly flavoured stew for pairing with your protein of choice.
Vegan-friendly Italian sausage stew
A hearty but healthy meal that feeds 4 if served with pitta bread
Author: Adapted from the sausage and bean casserole on Hungry Healthy Happy
4 vegan-friendly or vegetarian sausages
1 large potato, quartered
1 brown onion, diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried paprika
1 tin (1-1/2 cups) crushed tomatoes
1 tsp Marmite or Vegemite
Few cracks black pepper
2 medium carrots, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
8-10 button mushrooms, finely chopped
2 cups baby spinach
Cook the sausages in the oven according to pack instructions, along with the potato pieces (just cook the potato for whatever time the sausages require as they will be cooked further on the stovetop).
While the sausages and potato are cooking, heat a non-stick pan over medium-high heat and saute the onion, garlic, oregano and paprika for 3-5 minutes, until fragrant and the onion is slightly golden. Add a little of the crushed tomatoes to stop the mixture sticking if needed.
Add the rest of the crushed tomatoes, the Marmite or Vegemite, black pepper, carrots, bell pepper and mushrooms to your pan and reduce heat to medium-low. Allow to cook, stirring regularly, for 10 or so minutes.
When the sausages are ready, cut them into chunks and add to the pan along with the potato. Cook over medium-low heat until the potato is fully cooked and then add the spinach and cook for a further 5-10 minutes until wilted down.
Serve with pitta bread, or an equivalent side.
So - sausages stews / casseroles. What are your views?!