We’ve had some stunning weather in Orkney recently and yet I have an overwhelming urge to put my cosy clothes on, hunker down under the warm wool blanket and get settled with a hot chocolate and marshmallows (and then extra marshmallows). Don’t get me wrong – I’m absolutely loving the summer weather. Feeling the warmth of the sun, the long bright days and the hum of insects in the garden. But I just have this longing for the comfort and security that comes with winter – piling on the layers and snuggling on the sofa while a storm rages outside and the rain hammers the windows. I promise I’m most definitely not wishing the summer away.
I suppose this meal was my attempt at summer meets winter to satisfy my urges. We don’t do BBQs at our house. This is a very long convoluted story of three parts which I won’t bore you with. So, what’s the next best thing to do with sausages if you don’t BBQ? Team it with mash and some summer vegetables of course!
I have some fine Orkney buffalo sausages and a bottle of Swannay brewery ‘Imperial Stout’ to make sausages with onion gravy. I’ve had Orkney buffalo steak before and found it meatier and richer than beef so I know we’re in for a treat. I’m going to mash some spuds from the garden and cook up some courgette, tomato and basil to go with it. It’s going to be awesome!
After browning the sausages on the hob I make the gravy with onions, stock, bit of flour and the stout. There’s a bit of stout left over so I polish that off while the sausages are in the oven. It’s not much but it’s enough for me to merrily forget that I’m supposed to be making the mash and frying up the veg! The stout has a rich dark chocolately taste that still comes through in the gravy and is a perfect match to the meaty buffalo sausages. I think I’ve found my meal for all seasons. It should at least get me through the summer until I can get away with making soups and stews again. Still not wishing the summer away.
Slow baked Orkney buffalo sausages
(From The Kitchen Diaries II by Nigel Slater)
8 Orkney buffalo sausages
2 large onions
Thick slice of butter
2 tbsp plain flour (lightly heaped)
1 tsp brown sugar (heaped)
400 ml stock (beef or veg)
200 ml dark beer
Pre-heat the oven to 160°C. Fry the sausages in a little oil over a moderate heat until lightly coloured on all sides. Remove from the pan. Thinly slice the onions into rounds. Melt the butter in the pan over a moderate heat, add the onions and let them colour lightly. Stir in the flour and continue cooking for 3 or 4 minutes, stirring from time to time, then add the sugar. Return the sausages to the pan, pour in the stock and beer and bring to the boil. Let the mixture boil for a couple of minutes then transfer to the oven and bake for fifty minutes. If, like me, you don’t have any pans which can go from the hob to the oven transfer the sausage mixture into a casserole dish which you’ve been warming in the oven while it’s been pre-heating. Serve with mash and summer vegetables on the side.