Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Roast Vegetables with (or without) Sausages

This week I went down to the Pyrennes for a couple of days- on the Spanish border near San Sebastian and found myself in the “Piment” area of France. We know piment as sweet red pepper (capsicum). They were everywhere- used a lot in Basque cooking and represented on everything that didn’t move. However no signs of a model giant pepper looming over the town of Espelette which is the source of dried piment. This devotion to piment also carried over the border into Spain where the markets around San Sebastian featured barrows of shiny red peppers- no sign of any green ones, anywhere. Although I use red peppers in this recipe I am sure if you sneak in a green one it will be fine.

This dish is basically roast vegetable with sausages stuck on the top. If you chose the vegetarian option (no sausages) just follow the cooking method for the vegetables. The roast vegetables make a great side dish for lamb.

I use pork chipolata sausages, which are all meat for this but any good quality sausage, high meat content and no or little filler, (breadcrumb, rusk etc) will work.

Cous cous goes great with this as the vegetables are rather juicy.

2 sweet red peppers

2 red onions

3 cloves of garlic

2 courgettes (zucchini)

2 medium tomatoes or handful of cherry tomatoes

fresh basil

chilli flakes

Salt and pepper

Sausages (as many as you think you’ll eat)

Corn oil

An hour and a half before dinner

Heat the oven to 200 C (400 F Gas 6)

Cut the peppers in half and remove the seeds and whitish membrane. Cut into slices. I usually do this from top to bottom but it is not important.

Peel the onions, cut them in half and then slice them finely.

Top and tail the courgettes and cut crosswise into slices about the width of your little finger.

Put all of these into an oven dish, sprinkle the oil over them and give a good stir. Add about a teaspoon of salt and a really good grind of pepper. Finish the lot off with a generous shake of chilli flakes (more if you like it hot)

Put all of this into the oven and cook for 30 minutes.

45 minutes before dinner

Heat a little oil- about a tablespoon, in a frying pan and brown the sausages on all sides – turning as you go. This will only take a couple of minutes. Place the sausages on top of the roasting vegetables and return the dish to the oven.

30 minutes before dinner

Chop up the tomatoes by removing the core , halving and cutting into chunks. Push the tomatoes into the vegetables around the sausages. Do the same with the basil leaves. Put the dish back into the oven.

10 minutes before dinner

Boil water and prepare the cous cous as per the instructions on the packet.

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