Saturday, 6 February 2010

Everyone likes a sausage

After the binge of fried stuff and fats last weekend, we settled down into ration-style food again quite quickly. I made a large cream of mushroom soup, padded out with potato, oats and pearl barley that lasted several days. It had Boursin soft cheese in it, so drifted from rationing slightly, but was back on track in the wholesomeness stakes.

A large winter salad over two nights followed, again drifting because of the large amount of cheese and the Hungarian paprika dressing I made (where has Hungarian paprika been all my life? Thank you, Dave, thank you thank you thank you!)

Tonight it's a sausage pie that would work well in wartime, although, with rationing off until later this month, I've made it more to modern standards. At heart, this pie is actually a sausage casserole, becoming pie only at the last minute.

In a moment of weakness, I bought pre-made pastry rather than making my own, and if I make this during rationing, I'll do the potato pastry I liked so much last month. I peeled, diced and brought to the boil two potatoes, then lined the pie dishes with pastry. When the water boiled, I took the potatoes off the heat and left them in the water to one side.

I finely chopped one onion and roughly chopped another, then melted some margarine in a frying pan. From this point on, I was actually making one vegetarian version and one meat version, but the process is the same and I'll not boast about my amazing skills at multitasking.

I started the finely chopped onion in the melted fat, then added the sausages. These I cooked slowly, on the smallest gas ring, so I didn't need to prick the skins. When the sausages were browned, I removed them with tongs and added gravy powder (which is basically cornflour and onion powder) to soak up the remaining fat, then made a roux with some pureed tomato. I topped this up with more tomato until I had a good liquid base.

If I was making a sausage casserole, this would be the point to combine the sausages, the rough onion, the diced potato and the tomato base and put the lot in the oven. But I wasn't. So instead I chopped each of the sausages into three.

By adding some instant gravy to the tomato base, I caused it to thicken. In wartime, I'd've used some cornflour in water made up in a cup and added that for the same effect.  I drained the potatoes, then added them, the rough onion and the copped sausages to the tomato base, mixed well and put them into the pastry-lined pie dish. I then topped the pie off with puff pastry - a real indulgence in wartime - brushed the top with a little milk and then tried to find creative ways to make sure I had no wasted pastry off-cuts.

These can now sit until I'm ready to cook them - best in a slow to moderate oven for as long as possible. I'll serve with leftover new potatoes from the salad and, depending on how saucy the sauce is, perhaps some onion gravy.

Edit: and here it is cooked and partially eaten...

Oh, and another reason to go back on rations: it saves crushing disappointment. Earlier in the week, I bought some Morrison's cheese-topped garlic bread slices as a treat. If I'd still been on rations, I dare say the cheese would've been downright generous. But I wasn't, and it wasn't. For shame.


Kecske said...

The nice thing about Hungarian paprika is that it allows you to make "red soups" based on what the Hungarians call a rántás (you'd call it a roux) that includes paprika. Bean soup is my favourite in winter (made with dried beans). It has tiny little dumplings in it called csípetke which are delicious.

In England I remember my mum having a tiny little jar of paprika that she'd use sparingly on prawn cocktails when she had people round. We have two freezer bags full of it!

Michelle said...

I have a tin of Hungarian paprika in my spice cabinet that holds the position of high honor - such a treat!

And isn't it interesting how after a month of home cooking that convenience foods become a disappointment? We've experienced the same thing when we've gone out to eat on one of our rare allowances - many places just don't have the quality to make it worth it.

Glad to have you back on the blog!