Saturday, 3 August 2013

Recipe: sausage and summer vegetable bake: frugal

Having decided I would have sausages, new pots and veg for dinner this evening, I then decided maybe I didn't want that after all (typical) and started umming and ahing about savoury sausage rice or sausage and veg pasta.  Decisions, decisions!

So in the end I did neither, I made what I think I will call a sausage and summer veg bake.  It was very nice indeed so here it is.  It's a bit rambly (just as well I'm not writing a cookery book) and there's a lot of ifs, buts and maybes and stuff in brackets.  Use veg to suit yourself!

What really gave it more flavour was the bacon fat.  When I fry my bacon (value middle cut bacon slices) I start it off with 1tsp oil and by the time it has slowly fried in crisp scrumptiousness, there's a fairly huge amount of bacon fat left in the pan.  It may be not too healthy but it's wonderful for cooking with.
I had bacon for breakfast that morning!

Sausage and summer veg bake

Ingredients:  this made a very filling portion for one.
two chipolata sausages cut into 1cm chunks (Chapman's chipolatas are quite long and as they are hand made, they're not uniform length at all)
some bacon fat (or other tasty stuff)
a bit of onion, sliced (I used half of a small onion)
about 70g frozen sliced peppers
three mushrooms, sliced
one courgette, peeled, if necessary, and sliced
three or four new potatoes, boiled and sliced
some soft cheese (I used value soft cheese from Morrisons - philly light would be better)
about 30g strong cheddar, grated
chives, snipped into little bits
I didn't add any salt because the fat, the sausages and the cheeses were already salted and I'm eating less salt anyway!

1.  Turn on the oven to keeping warm temperature and pop in an oven proof dish, one portion size.
2.  In a non stick pan, add a little bacon fat and the sausage chunks and fry slowly until cooked and just beginning to brown.  Then add the onions and sizzle until soft and sweet.  Then add the frozen peppers (which won't be frozen much by this time) and fry a bit longer, then the mushroom.  Tip it all into the oven proof dish, spread it out evenly and keep warm in the oven.
3.  Add a bit more fat and fry the sliced courgettes until soft and browning.  Layer over the top of the veg and sausage mixture.  Keep warm.
4.  Add a bit more fat to the pan and add the sliced cooked potatoes.  Turn up the heat and fry until browning and looking delicious.
5.  Take the dish with the veg, etc, inside out of the oven and turn the oven up to about 170C  Put some little bits of soft cheese over the courgettes in the oven proof dish.  Being value, it won't necessarily melt (philly light would) but the flavour is OK.   Then spread the fried potato over the top - you could layer it neatly but I think it looks better the rustic way!
6.  Finally grind over some pepper, sprinkle over some snipped chives and, last of all, add the grated cheese to lightly cover the potato.
7.  Bake in the oven until the cheese has melted over and everything is piping hot (about 10 to 15 mins).  Eat immediately and straight from the dish (it will be very hot - take care).  You need no other veg.

This would not be very expensive anyway but, for me, it was pretty frugal because:
the sausages, potato and courgette were all given to me - the last two were from Beth's allotment
the fat came out of the breakfast bacon so was, in effect, free - I would say it made all the difference in flavour too
the chives were from the garden
the cheese was on special in Aldi or Lidl (can't remember which now), grated and frozen - I find this so very useful

You could use other veg, additional herbs/spices/seasonings, etc.  Follow your taste!

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