Autumn is most definitely in the air. I’ve just returned from a walk down blustery Upper Street and I now look like something the cat dragged in. The last few weeks (or rather months) have been more or less dedicated to work, meaning late nights and a yearning for comfort food. I turned into a 1970s vegetarian last week, making a batch of Rose Elliott’s delicious red lentil croquettes that lasted me pretty much all week, but had planned to make something a bit fancier for dinner last night.
With the best of intentions, I turned to my Terre à Terre cookbook. Everything in there is insanely complicated and fancy so it’s not the book I turn to for a quick weeknight supper, but their take on veggie sausages and mash (“No Cocky Big Leeky”) seemed just the thing for a chilly Saturday night.
The good thing about the book is that the dishes are made up of several discrete components, so if you want to simplify things a bit you can just leave a few out and still end up with something delicious. I made the sausages (bank-breaking amounts of Caerphilly and Wensleydale mixed with leeks, breadcrumbs, parsley, sage, wholegrain mustard and egg to bind) accompanied by red wine gravy (a right faff but totally worth it) and potato and celeriac mash. (In case you were wondering, I couldn’t be bothered making the cinnamon merlot onions or the celeriac “straw”. I’d already used all my saucepans twice over.)
I think the key to good veggie sausages is to not even try to make them look or taste anything like meat; made and seasoned well, they are delicious in their own right. That, and make sure you chill the sausages really well before you fry them.
These were beauties: cheesy and herby, hot and melting, with a perfect crispy crust (seasoned flour, then beaten egg, then fine breadcrumbs), and the winey gravy and earthy, sweet celeriac and potato mash complemented the sausages nicely. If this is autumn, I’m not sure I mind.