This side of Christmas I’m generally onboard with winter. Not the cold wind whipping me off my bike, but I enjoy the annual hunker down. I’m a home person really and when it’s getting colder I do take considerable pleasure in staying indoors, shutting the curtains to the rest of the world and putting something in a casserole pot for a long slow braise. Braising is very peasant-y, I like that, it means it’s honest, devoid of pretence and it very rarely goes wrong. This casserole uses hearty ingredients, making the most of a few cheap sausages and a really good grain. So my suggestion on this Sunday evening is to get right into the hunker down with a bowl of sausage au vin.
6 good sausages (I used a Toulouse version)
1 red onion, quartered
1 stick celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
150g pearl barley
½ bottle red wine
1 pint vegetable stock
2-3 sprigs rosemary
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
- Preheat the oven to 180C. In a large pan or hob-friendly casserole dish, fry the sausages in a little oil until they are browned all over, then remove from the pan and set aside. Add a little more olive oil to the pan and fry the onion, celery and carrot until soft. Add the garlic and fry for a minute longer.
- Return the sausages to the pan with the pearl barley, give it a good stir, then pour in the wine and enough stock to cover all the ingredients. If using a saucepan, transfer the sauce to a casserole dish with a lid. Nestle the rosemary sprigs among the sausage and sprinkle over the thyme and some black pepper. Place in the oven for about 45mins-1hour until the sauce is thick and the pearl barley is cooked. Check on it halfway to make sure there is enough liquid for the pearl barley to cook.
- Remove from the oven and taste, sausages can be salty so you may not need any extra salt but season to your own taste.