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THERE is stuff deep in my freezer that has been there since the Ice Age. And Lockdown seemed as good a time as any to exhume it to augment our weekly supermarket deliveries. There is, of course, a good reason why some of it has languished there – sell-by-date ‘bargains’ that never seemed that appealing; fruit and veg gluts passed on by friends; roasting joints too big for us on our own awaiting visitors (and when will they come again?); delicacies awaiting a Special Occasion.

I’m not altogether sure what much of it is and have to defrost to find out. For instance, a container I thought was full of stock I could use to make a risotto turned out to be apple sauce (a mate’s bumper Bramley crop.) And what looked horrible like a small turd was actually a bit of leftover haggis from Burns Night. You get the picture…

But rootling around I came across a pack of Italian chicken sausages (sorry, no idea where I got them); anyway, you can just as well use any decent plump bangers for this cassoulet – I use the term loosely – cooked with both beer and red wine. I used Bay’s Gold, from our neck of the woods, actually more of a pale copper in colour and drinks like a light bitter.

Bangers ‘n’ beer cassoulet

4 pork sausages; l leek, trimmed and sliced; one clove of garlic, crushed; quarter pint each of light bitter and red wine; small can butter beans, drained; around 50g button mushrooms; 1 teaspoon ginger powder, 1 tsp each dried sage, thyme, tarragon, sweet paprika and French mustard; 1 tablespoon tomato puree; 1 bay leaf; oil for cooking

In a heavy casserole dish sweat sausages in a little oil, turning until lightly browned on both sides. Add leek and garlic and cook gently for a few minutes before stirring in the beer and wine; heat to simmering point. Add the rest of the ingredients, return to simmer, and stir. Put the lid on and cook in the centre of a medium oven – 180C, gas mark 5 – for around 45 minutes until the sausages are tender and sauce thickened. I served with green beans and crusty bread. Cheers, and bon appétit.

Susan Nowak

Susan Nowak, pictures by Fran Nowak

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