On Thursday, I got a text message from my best friend asking if I wanted to meet for lunch and casually mentioning that it was National Hot Dog Day. Normally I side-eye those National Something Days but heck, National Hot Dog Day? There’s something I can get behind with aplomb. Gusto. Unfettered enthusiasm. And sausages.
I’ve been making vegetarian sausages for years – originally based on a recipe by Irish chef Denis Cotter in his excellent and beautiful book For The Love Of Food. Over time I swapped the chestnuts for peanuts, the tofu for white beans, ekeing and tweaking in the way we all make things our own. And THOSE sausages are great. Joyous. An oral sensation. But they have eggs and cheese in, and today on this nationally sausagey day, I thought I would challenge myself out of my accidental culinary hibernation and make a vegan dog. I’ve been reading Peace And Parsnips by Lee Watson lately (follow him on Twitter at @lee_the_vegan) and it’s a PHENOMENAL book. Inspiring, beautiful, peaceful, funny, cheeky, and full of all the noms. Separate blog post to follow on this amazing guy but he’s inspired me to cook more vegan nosh these days and hence the sausage challenge – plus I figured my vegan readers would appreciate it too, and there’s a lot of you out there, hello fellow plant-noshers!
Makes 6 decent sized sausages at 10p each
1 small onion, 9p (from 1.5kg Basics bag, 90p)
1 small carrot, 9p (from 1.5kg Basics bag, 75p)
1/2 tsp paprika, 2p (50g smoked paprika, Sainsburys, £1)
1/2 tsp cumin, 1p (100g Rajah Jeera, £1)
1 tbsp cooking oil, 2p (3l veg oil, £3)
1 tbsp peanut butter, 8p (Sun Pat (£1.80/340g)
400g tin of kidney beans, 30p (Basics)
30g fresh breadcrumbs (1 slice of fresh bread grated or blitzed in a blender), 2p (800g loaf of Basics bread, 40p)
First very finely chop your onion and grate your carrot, and tip into a pan – frying pan, saucepan or saute pan, they’re not fussy, you’re just going to soften them up a bit. Add the spices and oil and bring to a medium heat, stirring to disturb them and stop them from sticking and burning. Stir for a few minutes to take that raw edge off, then remove and allow to cool to one side.
Drain your kidney beans and thoroughly rinse them, then test how soft they are – some canned beans are very soft and easy to mash as they are (super cheap basic and value ones), and some need a little more work (Napolina, I’m looking at you). Place one on your worktop and press the prongs of a fork against it with a medium pressure, if it yields and splits, you’re good to go. If it sulks and holds tight, pour the whole lot into a pan of water, bring it to the boil, reduce it to a simmer, and cook for 8 minutes to soften up. Remove from the heat and drain.
In a large mixing bowl, combine your veg, beans, and peanut butter and mix and mash until it forms a rough paste. You may need to loosen it with a splash of water but only a splash or they’ll fall apart later down the line!
When you’re satisfied that it’s all nicely mashed, add the breadcrumbs, flour and chopped herbs and stir through. Pop the mixture in the fridge for at least half an hour to firm up – important otherwise they will fall apart in the pan!
Remove from the fridge, and roll into sausage shapes in your hands. Heat a little oil in your frying pan and gently, carefully place them in – they are fragile! Cook for around 8 minutes on a medium heat, gently rolling them at intervals to cook evenly. Remove (gently, carefully) and serve. Ta-dah!
PS, I had a little help with these… Here’s my Small Boy making sausages…