Fellow devotees of EastEnders: I give you my recipe for Sausage SURPRISE! – a one -pot sausage casserole with a side portion of soapy humour!
If the 80’s and 90s served up Betty’s Hotpot, then the new millennium has delivered us Jean Slater’s Sausage SURPRISE!
If you don’t know what I am talking about, I fear you are going to be greatly disappointed when I confess that I am an avid EastEnders fan. I have no shame. Yes, the plotlines can stagnate – to the point that I took a couple of years off after the 2012 Olympics. But the return of Peggy Mitchell for her swansong appearances drew me back in and I have remained loyal to Albert Square ever since.
For my fellow devotees, the words Sausage SURPRISE will make you smile and think of dear Jean Slater. Like Betty Turpin before her, Jean’s signature dish is a type of sausage casserole that is wheeled out with wild abandon for family celebrations, mid-week supers and when she is required to serve up comfort for the Slater clan.
Now, the details on what she makes is sketchy in the show. Researching this recipe led me to google images where there is a photo of her serving up something resembling baked beans topped with mash and dotted with the occasional sausage. As much as I love Ms Slater, I draw the line at serving up that!
So in honour of the Slater Matriarch, I have created this version of Sausage SURPRISE. While the ingredients owe more to the Spanish Costas than East-End London, I’d like to imagine that she perhaps tasted this on a 1980s AirTours package holiday to Granada and, upon her return to Walford, she sought to cook up her own version.
Nevertheless, I find this dish is perfect when I am catering for a large crowd with everything cooking in one pot. It is very easy to up the quantities to fill many hungry mouths, yet the quantities here will comfortably serve 6 gluttonous adults – especially when accompanied with a generous splodge of mustard mash and some crisp, fine French beans.Print
- 1tbsp Olive Oil
- 250g Bacon Lardons
- 225g chorizo, cubed
- 12 Pork Sausages
- 2 red onions
- 3 Peppers (red, orange or yellow – your choice!)
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 150ml Red Wine (Rioja works well)
- 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
- 1tbsp tomato puree
- 3tsp smoked paprika
- 1tsp ground cumin
- 1tsp dried thyme
- 1tsp dried oregano
- 1tsp dried rosemary
- 1 stock cube (chicken or vegetable)
- 3tbsp redcurrant jelly
- 1tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
- Black Pepper
- In a large saucepan, heat up the olive oil and toss in the bacon lardons and cubed chorizo. Fry for approximately 10 minutes over a medium heat until the fat has rendered down and everything has begun to brown.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon lardons and chorizo and put to one side in a bowl. Prick the pork sausages all over and fry in batches in the pan. You want to brown the sides of the sausages so don’t over-crowd the pan by cooking them all at once. Once the skins have browned, lift out of the pan and put to one side with the bacon lardons and chorizo.
- Dice the onion and toss into the pan with a pinch of salt. Stir around in the juices and cook over a medium heat for approx. 5 minutes. Meanwhile dice the peppers into cubes and crush the garlic. Once the onions have softened and begun to brown a little, throw the chopped peppers and garlic into the pan and cook for a couple of minutes.
- Add the red wine to the pan and stir to help dislodge the caramelised bits that are sticking to the bottom of the pan. This will all add flavour to the sauce. Pour in the tinned tomatoes, stock cube, paprika, ground cumin, tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce and the herbs. Stir well to combine.
- Return the sausages and bacon lardons to the pan and bring the pan up to simmer. Clamp a lid on and leave the pan to bubble away gently for about 35 minutes.
- Remove the lid from the pan and stir the stew to dislodge anything that is catching on the bottom of the pan. Add the redcurrant jelly and cook for a further five minutes uncovered to allow the sauce to reduce slightly.
- Test a little of the sauce and season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Add the two cans of butter beans and continue to cook uncovered for a final five minutes.
- Ladle generously on plates and serve alongside mounds of creamy mustard mash potato and crisp French beans.
- Category: Sausage Casserole, Meat
- Cuisine: British
Keywords: Sausage Surprise, Sausage Casserole, Casserole, Sausages, Dinner, Supper