I think it’s probably about time I came clean and admitted that I’m obsessed with sausages. I liked them when I ate meat and now I’m a vegetarian I don’t see why I shouldn’t be able to eat sausage-shaped alternatives (and Jay Rayner and the rest of the Kitchen Cabinet can just lump it!).
I was pleased and intrigued to find a new veggie sausage in the chiller cabinet on my last grocery shop. These are from Meet The Alternative. The website calls them Pork-Style Sausages, but the packaging just calls them Sausages. They are vegetarian, but not vegan.
I gave them my standard test and fried them.
They look OK with a decent bit of browning. Texturally I have to say they’ve got it spot on. The sausages are chewy without being dense and give a great mouthfeel. Flavourwise, they’re very bland. They’re up there with tofu in the taste stakes. If I were them I’d stop trying to make them taste like pork and concentrate on getting more umami tastes in there. They’d be OK in things, but I wouldn’t be rushing to eat them on their own.
It’s great to see new veggie products coming out there, I might try some of their ‘meat’ chunk style offerings, but I can make better tasting sausages than this.
It must be the weather getting colder, but I fancied a bean stew this week. I wanted to try my hand at a veggie version of cassoulet. Now, I know a cassoulet without duck or meat sausage is not a real cassoulet and I believe Raymond Blanc just suffered a sudden unexplained twinge at the mere concept, but there are some nice veggie sausages out there that seemed making it worth a go.
Quorn have recently come up with a new Chef’s selection range of sausages (of which more later) and I used the wild garlic and parsley sausages in this recipe.
I made this in the slow-cooker, but I wouldn’t do so again with these sausages. They disintegrated and went mushy after the long cooking. It was still tasty, but the texture wasn’t there. I have made adjustments in the recipe so it shouldn’t happen again.
110g pinto beans
1/2 onion, chopped
2 veg sausages, cut into pieces
300 ml water
1 tsp veg stock
1 tsp marmite
Soak the pinto beans overnight then drain and rinse.
Soften the onion in a little olive oil in a saucepan until translucent.
Add the beans, sausages and the rest of the ingredients. Add a pinch of thyme and some black pepper, but no salt yet as it makes the beans take longer to cook.
Bring to the boil and then reduce to a slow simmer.
Cover the pan and cook for 2 hours until the beans are tender.
Stir in salt and serve.
Runner beans with tarragon and lemon
I got the idea for this recipe from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s ‘Veg Everyday’, but he cooks the beans for 20 minutes, which is way too long for me.
1 clove garlic, chopped
6 runner beans, destringed and chopped on the diagonal
pinch tarragon or 1 tsp chopped fresh tarragon
Squeeze lemon juice
Soften the garlic in some olive oil in a saucepan.
Add the runner beans and the dried tarragon (if using) and stir in the hot oil for a minute.
Pour in a few tablespoons of water and simmer the beans for five minutes until they are tender but still bright green.
If you’re using fresh tarragon now is the time to add it, along with a squeeze of lemon juice and salt and pepper.
Give it a good stir and serve.