Sunday, 27 April 2014

Cider Braised Sausages & Apples

The weather in Ireland is unpredictable at the best of times, but never more so than during spring when it can be cold and windy one moment but a few hours later the sun will appear and the temperature creeps upwards. It can be very difficult to know what meals to cook; meals that are warming and comforting but that are also light and not too rich or heavy. I think that this dish is the perfect thing to prepare, because the cider flavoured sauce although warm and comforting, also possesses a freshness on the palate courtesy of some added apple wedges. I love this dish – it’s so tasty, relatively inexpensive to make and is just so well balanced.
 
I love the sweetness that the apples and onions lend to the overall dish and the way that this sweetness is offset by the savoury meatiness of the sausages. I use quality pork sausages with a high meat content (85% - 95%) and these really make all the difference to the finished dish. I always check the meat content of the sausages I’m buying, because the amounts can vary dramatically depending on which you buy. I don’t mind a small amount of rusk or other filler in them, but I honestly believe it’s pushing it to call something a sausage when it only contains 53% - 55% meat. Yes… the higher the meat content, the more you are likely to pay for them, but in my opinion it’s often a false economy buying products that are inferior just because they are cheaper.

In any event, I urge you to buy the best quality sausages that you can afford if you are going to make this recipe; and I also urge you to have a go at making this dish. It is delicious and if you have any leftovers, they reheat easily and still taste wonderful.

I like to serve this dish with some mashed potato and a green vegetable.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Ingredients:

2-3 tblsp vegetable oil
A large knob of butter
8-10 large sausages
2 large onions, peeled, halved and sliced
2 apples, peeled, cored and cut into chunky wedges
1 heaped tblsp plain flour
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
2tblsp white wine vinegar
500ml dry cider
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
2 bay leaves

Method:

1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large sauté pan over a moderate to high heat. Add half the knob of butter and when melted, add the sausages and brown them until they are a rich even golden colour. Remove and set aside on a plate whilst you get on with browning the onions and apples.
2. Add the onions to the pan in which you browned the sausages. Keep cooking for 4-5 minutes, stirring regularly and allow to colour until golden brown (keep an eye on them and don’t let them burn). Add the rest of the butter and when melted add the apple wedges. Let the apples colour slightly.
3. Next, return the sausages to the pan, season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper and reduce the heat slightly. Sprinkle over the flour and stir in. It will look a bit claggy, but don’t worry. Allow to cook out for a minute or two. Add in the vinegar, followed by the cider. Stir well, reduce the heat so that everything is gently blipping away. Cover the sauté pan and cook on the hob for 35-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the sauce is a bit thick you can add a little bit water to thin it down. Remove the bay leaves and thyme and discard. Taste and adjust seasoning before serving. Serve with creamy mashed potato.

Serves 4.