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Sausage casserole with homemade Irish soda bread

This rich sausage casserole partners wonderfully with homemade Irish soda bread and lots of red wine. It is perhaps a little time consuming to make on a weeknight, but that doesn’t stop me. The soda bread can be cooked alongside the casserole so that everything is ready together. The effort is in the preparation with this recipe so find yourself a few good tracks on the iPod and get cracking!

Serves 4

For the sausage casserole

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 sausages
  • 2 large shallots sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 2 red peppers roughly chopped
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can baked beans
  • 1 can butter beans
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • 100ml red wine
  • Salt and pepper

For the Irish soda bread

  • 450g plain flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 400ml buttermilk

For the sausage casserole

Preheat the oven to 200ºC.

Heat the oil and fry the sausages for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown, transfer to a casserole dish.

Fry the shallots in a pan until golden brown, stirring continuously, add the garlic for the last 3 minutes.

Stir through the smoked paprika for 1 minute. Add the chopped tomatoes, chicken stock, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, herbs and red peppers. Pour over the wine and bring to a simmer.

Tip into the casserole dish with the sausages, cover and place in the oven on 200ºC for 30 minutes.

Stir in the beans and allow to cook for a further 10 minutes, until the casserole has thickened.

Season to taste and serve with homemade crusty Irish soda bread (recipe below).

For the Irish soda bread

Preheat the oven to 220ºC.

Sift the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda into a mixing bowl.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in most of the buttermilk.

Mix together with your hands. The dough should be very soft but not too wet. If necessary, add the remaining buttermilk.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it lightly. Shape into a 15cm round.

Place the dough on a greased baking tray, cut a cross in the top and place in the centre of the oven for 30 minutes. When the bread is done it will sound hollow if tapped on the bottom.

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