Winter has finally made its appearance; that’s for sure – with rains slashing across the seas, creating huge waves that with a dramatic roar, crash on the shore. Inland the rains have been giving welcome relief to parched land.
But this is a recipe column not a weather report so the gist of this is that it’s time to look at some grub that offers warmth and greater sustenance.
There’s nothing nicer than sitting in a cosy kitchen, with a glass of wine, preparing the evening meal, with the windows all steamed up, and something bubbling on the stove.
I love bangers and mash, and these days there’s no excuse for not finding a good quality sausage as there are so many artisal sausage makers and food stores, picking up on the competition have introduced a large variety on the shelves of their display fridges.
Last Wednesday as temperatures plummeted, I hauled out a packet of pork bangers and got to work; creating a dish that is not only a pub favourite but a standby when there ain’t much in the larder.
Pork bangers and mash with a caramelised onion relish
500g pork bangers
6 large potatoes
2 large onions
Salt and pepper
Prepare the mash and onion relish before you cook the bangers.
Boil the potatoes in water with a dash of salt until they are so soft they are breaking apart.
Drain and leave to completely dry out in a colander.
Return the drained potatoes to the pot they were boiled in and add a good dollop of butter or margarine, a few glugs of olive oil and about 1/3 cup of milk.
Using a potato masher, mix thoroughly and add more milk or butter/margarine until you reach the consistency and taste you like, adding a few twists from a pepper and a salt grinder.
To make the onion relish, remove the skins and cut the onions into fat rings.
Sauté slowly in a large pan with some olive oil and drizzle in some balsamic vinegar and a tablespoon of brown sugar, adding two teaspoons of mustard.
Allow to cook slowly until it caramelises.
For the sausages, preheat your oven to 200°C. Place the sausages in an oiled oven-proof dish and allow to cook until they are browned all over, turning over. Alternatively you can cook them on the braai or fry them.
To plate, simply place a few dollops of mash on the plate, the sausages and add the onion relish over the sausages.
Slow-cooked chicken casserole
In the same vein, there’s nothing nicer than a slow-cooked casserole, in which all the flavours amalgamate from their time in a low oven.
500g chicken thighs, deboned
1 head of garlic
Handful of cherry tomatoes
3 red onions
1 cup white wine
Fresh oreganum or thyme
Preheat your oven to 160°C.
Oil an oven proof flat casserole dish. Scatter the chicken pieces around.
Peel and quarter the potatoes. Peel the onions and cut them into wedges. Skin the garlic cloves. Place the cherry tomatoes in a bowl of boiling water for a few minutes. Drain and remove the skins.
Scatter the rest of the ingredients in the casserole dish and top with a handful of fresh herbs or two teaspoons of dried herbs. Season with salt and pepper and add the wine.
Cook for about 60 minutes until all components of the dish are soft and the flavours have all mingled well together.
Both dishes go well with a nice spicy shiraz.