An Autumnal Supper: One-Pan Sausage and Pumpkin
As I mentioned in my last post, there is something special for me about cooking at this time of year. The colder weather, shorter days and thicker jumpers seem in perfect harmony with the earthier flavours and longer cooking times. The seasonal produce – from apples, pears and quinces to mushrooms, parsnips and celeriac – suit being cooked slower.
The pumpkins and the squashes are the royalty of the autumnal vegetables, and they are a staple in our cooking at this time of year, especially once Halloween and Guy Fawkes Night have passed, and the decorative gourds that we have gathered in little clusters around the house need to be consumed to make way for the incoming Christmas decorations.
'Seasonal cooking' isn't just about fruit and vegetables: not only do we move into game season at this time of year, but many of our traditions involve a much more natural relationship with animals and meat than we have today, with our seasonless supermarkets and opaque supply-chains. Martinmas, which falls on 11 November, was the traditional day to slaughter livestock ahead of the harder months ahead. In societies that would have been predominantly vegetarian, Martinmas would be celebrated with lavish feasts of meat that couldn't easily be preserved. The rest was preserved in many forms, including sausages and bacon, for the winter.
This recipe is an adaptation of a favourite student supper that makes the most of these wonderful seasonal ingredients: simple, warming, and infinitely flexible. Plus, hardly any washing-up to do afterwards!
Sausage and Pumpkin One-Pan Supper
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour
a small pumpkin or squash
250g small potatoes
I large red onion
8 garlic cloves
1 tsp Cajun seasoning
small handful of sage leaves
2 tbsp olive oil
4 organic, high-welfare sausages (pork with apple ideally, if you can find them)
2 tsp maple syrup
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees celsius.
Firstly, prepare your vegetables. Peel and quarter the pumpkin or squash, remove the seeds, and slice into narrow wedges. Peel and quarter the red onion. Leave the potatoes whole if very small, or cut larger potatoes into chunks. Leave the garlic cloves whole and unpeeled.
Add the pumpkin, potatoes, onion and garlic cloves to a medium roasting dish, ensuring they fit snugly without overlapping. Finely chop the sage leaves, and add to the dish along with the Cajun seasoning, a pinch of salt and the olive oil. Give everything a good mix with your hands, ensuring the vegetables are evenly coated with oil and spices.
Place the sausages evenly on top of the vegetables, turning them quickly in the spiced oil, and put the roasting dish in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
Remove the dish from the oven, turn the sausages, and drizzle everything with the maple syrup.
Return the dish to the oven for another 30 minutes, by which the pumpkin should be soft with some charred edges, and everything should be sizzling. Serve with a crisp, peppery salad.