Delia Smith's Winter Collection
FEBRUARY 27 2012


Today was the kind of day that required a warm, delicious, comforting dinner. And what's more delicious than sausages, onions and bacon slowly braised in red wine. Not much!

together these make magic!

First brown the sausages then remove from pan and saute the bacon and onions. Smelling good! Add all the seasoning, sausages and red wine to the pan and gently simmer 30 minutes. I simmered mine a bit too gently so gave it an extra 15 minutes at this stage.

browning venison sausages

browning the "yummy" component (check out my new splatter screen!)

smashed juniper berries

Add the mushrooms; mine were a little big so I quartered them before dumping into the pot. This now simmers again for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, I start the potatoes and boil water in the kettle to pour over them (Delia's preferred method) before letting them simmer for 25 (!) minutes. Seems a little long, Delia. But here goes...

mushrooms go in to braise

salted potatoes waiting for boiling water

Final step has me pulling the sausages and mushrooms out of the lovely, rich wine sauce then whisking in butter, powdered mustard and flour to thicken the braising liquid. Finally stir in the redcurrant jelly (a little sweetness!) and nestle the sausages & mushrooms back in.

Potatoes are soft, very soft. I add butter and cream then, as I'm whipping them, realize that something is strange about these mashed potatoes. They are acquiring the consistency of snot or elmers glue. They still taste okay and I'm sure will be fine once smothered with rich red wine sauce and sausages.

weird gooey potatoes

Time to eat! The potatoes aren't too bad once it's all together. And I am enjoying my dinner more and more with each bite. In fact, this is absolutely fantastic! I love the bite of the juniper berry. It really takes this meal over the top. YUM!

red wine braised sausage w/ juniper berries. fantastic!


Serves 2 - 3

Bangers are bangers, but there are some bangers that are extremely special – and venison sausages are positively five-star, especially when you serve them braised slowly with herbs, shallots, mushrooms and red wine. Then all you need is a dreamy pile of light, creamy mashed potato to go with them.

1 lb venison sausages
10 fl oz red wine
1 dessertspoon olive oil
8 oz diced bacon or pancetta
1 large clove garlic, peeled
8 oz shallots, peeled
1 level dessertspoon juniper berries
1 level teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
6 oz medium-sized, open-cap (portobello) mushrooms
1 heaped teaspoon plain flour
1 rounded teaspoon mustard powder
1 oz butter, softened
1 rounded tablespoon redcurrant jelly
Salt and freshly milled black pepper


Heat the oil in the casserole then, with the heat at medium, brown the sausages evenly all over, taking care not to split the skins by turning them over too soon. Next, using a slotted spoon, transfer them to a plate while you brown the diced bacon along with the garlic and shallots. Now crush the juniper berries very slightly without breaking them – just enough to release their flavour.

Return the sausages to the casserole, pour in the wine and add the berries, then thyme and bay leaves. Now season lightly, bring it all up to a gentle simmer, put a lid on the casserole, turn the heat as low as possible and let it all simmer gently for 30 minutes.

After that, add the mushrooms, stirring them in well, then leave everything to cook gently for a further 20 minutes – this time without the lid so the liquid reduces slightly. To finish off, remove the sausages and vegetables to a warm serving dish, mix the flour and the mustard powder with the softened butter until you have a smooth paste and whisk this, a little at a time, into the casserole. Let everything bubble for a few more minutes, then take the casserole off the heat, return the sausages to the casserole, whisk in the redcurrant jelly – and it's ready to serve.


Serves 4

This is now my standard all-time mashed potato recipe. To make a low-fat version, replace the butter, milk and crème fraîche with 5 oz of Quark (skimmed-milk soft cheese) and 2-3 tablespoons of semi-skimmed milk.
2 lb Desirée or King Edward potatoes (I used Yukon Gold)
1 level dessertspoon salt
2 oz butter
4 tablespoons whole milk
2 level tablespoons crème fraîche
Salt and freshly milled black pepper


Use a potato peeler to pare off the potato skins as thinly as possible, then cut the potatoes into even-sized chunks – not too small; if they are large, quarter them, and if they are small, halve them. Put the potato chunks in a steamer fitted over a large pan of boiling water, sprinkle the salt all over them, put a lid on and steam the potatoes until they are absolutely tender – they should take 20-25 minutes. The way to tell whether they are ready is to pierce them with a skewer in the thickest part: they should not be hard in the centre, and you need to be careful here, because if they are slightly underdone you do get lumps.
When the potatoes are cooked, remove them from the steamer, drain off the water, return them to the saucepan and cover with a clean tea cloth for about 4 minutes to absorb some of the steam, then add the butter, milk and crème fraîche. When you first go in with the whisk, use a slow speed to break the potatoes up, then increase it to high and whip them up to a smooth, creamy, fluffy mass. Taste and, if they need it, season.

These recipes are taken from Delia Smith’s Winter Collection.

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