My very good friend Rebecca is the best home-cook I know. She’s often rustled up plates of yumminess for me and knows exactly how to please a crowd with her cooking. However, even our Boxing Day dinner party was a tall order for such an accomplished cook…
6 of us in total, and nearly every single one of us had a different dietary requirement:
Allergic to shellfish
Pregnant (eliminating blue cheese, rare meat, shellfish, peanuts and alcohol)
So what is a girl to do? A combination of mixed Hors d’oeuvres and cocktails instead of a sit-down starter was a great idea, from smoked salmon bellinis, wontons with plum sauce and some melt in your mouth BBQ belly pork meant everyone’s tastes were catered for and we could have a drink and a mingle before sitting down to tuck in to our main course: a very scrummy and exceptionally hearty pot-roasted sausages with boozy bourguignon sauce.
Well, she certainly pulled it out of the bag. Rebecca used wine in the cooking sauce, but made sure all the alcohol was cooked out. And the button mushrooms she threw in for some added earthy flavour were taken off my plate before it was served to me‚ until I looked around the table I would never have known they’d snuck in.
Served up with perfectly cooked broccoli, crusty bread and the crispiest golden roast potatoes, we were all suitably impressed, and suitably full.
The table was decorated beautifully and it really was Christmas entertaining at its best.
A big thank you to Rebecca and Danilo for being great hosts and to Rebecca for kindly sharing her recipe.
You will need:
3 tbsp light olive oil
8 large good quality sausages
140g/5oz pancetta cubes
1 large onion, very finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
150g/5¬ºoz button chestnut mushrooms
2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 tbsp tomato puree
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
good splash of brandy
150ml/5fl oz fresh beef stock
150ml/5fl oz red wine
1 x 400g/14 oz tin of butterbeans, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp flatleaf parsley, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 200C/375F/Gas 6.
Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a wide casserole dish. Add the sausages and fry over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes until nicely browned all over. Remove from the pan and rest on a plate.
Add the remaining oil to the pan with the pancetta and cook for one minute, then add the onion. Cook for a further 2-3 minutes when the onion should be soft and the pancetta beginning to crisp.
Add the garlic and the mushrooms and fry for one minute more, then stir in the tomato puree followed by the mustard.
Turn up the heat and stirring all the time fry for about 30 seconds.
Pour in the brandy and allow the alcohol to burn off. Next add the stock and wine. Allow to come to the boil then season to taste. Tip in the butterbeans and put the sausages on top. Place in the oven and cook for 15 minutes.
Serve in deep bowls with a sprinkling of parsley and loads of crusty bread.