For many reasons, I am returning to a very strict groceries budget for the foreseeable future. Yesterday I went to the supermarket – in two separate trips, as I was on foot with a backpack – with a budget of twenty pounds. I uploaded my receipts on Twitter, but for those of you not on Twitter, I will post them as a separate post here later on. I will try my best – other work and commitments permitting – to write up as many of the new recipes I make from that list of ingredients as possible. This one was made both with the sausages and bacon for my son, and without, for me. Although I am no longer vegan, I do eat more plant based meals than not these days, and as I tighten my budget again, that will continue to be the case.

This recipe was originally designed to fulfil five out of five of our five a day, making three portions, but it made such a large pan that I easily got four portions out of it, one each for tonight and one each for the freezer for another day, which means each of the veg portions is now slightly shy of the recommended 70g per person, but it’s still a hearty dose of a mixture of vitamins and minerals in one simple pan. 

My Small Boy, who at ten years old with dinner plates the same size as my own these days cannot be described as ‘Small’ for much longer’, declared this one of his favourite dinners and offered to help me make it next time. Possibly only because I batted him out of the kitchen for trying to pilfer a sausage, but perhaps because he’s developing an enthusiasm for cookery as well. We had ours with plain white rice, which worked out at 3p per portion.

Serves 4, from 39p each, (This post contains affiliate links – I may earn a small commission if you click the links or purchase any products.)

210g onion, 18p (80p/1kg, Farm Stores at Asda)

210g carrot, 13p (30p/500g, Farm Stores at Asda)

200g mushrooms, 39p (49p/250g, Farm Stores at Asda)

3 fat cloves of garlic, 6p (50p/3 bulbs, Growers Selection at Asda)

Fresh strong autumnal herbs such as thyme or rosemary

1 tbsp lard, or cooking oil, 1p (39p/250g, Smartprice at Asda)

6-8 sausages, 30p (£1/20 frozen sausages, Smartprice at Asda – defrost in the fridge overnight)

500ml boiling water

2 tsp gravy granules, 1p (25p/200g, Smartprice at Asda)

20g tomato puree, 3p (27p/200g, Asda)

1 chicken stock cube, 3p (35p/12 cubes, Asda)

100g cooking bacon, 15p (75p/500g, Farm Stores at Asda)

400g baked beans, including sauce, 22p (22p/400g, Smartprice at Asda)

2 tbsp dried stuffing crumbs, 4p (35p/170g, Asda)

A splash of vinegar, <1p (27p/500ml, Asda)

Garden bonus: a few large rainbow chard leaves. You can use spinach, kale, spring greens or dark green cabbage instead if you wish, fresh or frozen, or leave it out. Ha. ‘Leaf’ it out. 

 

First peel and dice your onion, then dice your carrots – don’t worry about peeling those, the skin is full of fibre and goodness, but if they’re a bit grubby, give them a good gentle scrub to dislodge any stubborn earth. Dice your mushrooms. Set all the veg aside for a moment.

Peel and finely slice your garlic, and roughly chop your herbs if using fresh ones, and set to one side.

Heat the lard, or cooking oil, in a very large nonstick pan, and add the sausages. Cook for 5-6 minutes on a medium-high heat to seal them, and also to release some extra fat into the pan. 

When the sausages are sealed, add your veg. Reduce the heat down to medium, and cook for 4-5 minutes, nudging it all around with a spatula or wooden spoon to prevent it from sticking and burning. Don’t add the garlic just yet as it may burn.

Boil the kettle, and measure your gravy granules and tomato puree into a heatproof jug. If you don’t have one, a large mug will do, but you will need to add another mug of water to the pan later on. Crumble in the stock cube, and add the herbs. Pour over the boiling water, and stir well to make a rich and delicious sauce for your base. The gravy granules thicken it and add a depth of flavour, and the tomato puree is for colour and a slight sweetness. You don’t need to add any extra salt to this dish, due to the salt in the stock cube and the gravy, which is why I didn’t season the veg above. I am painfully aware my palate for salinity is quite a greedy one, but I managed to resist here!

Chop the bacon and add to the veg pan, stirring intermittently for a minute, then add the garlic and stir briefly for a minute to knock the acerbic edge off it, then pour over the jug of sauce. Stir in the baked beans, including the sticky orange sauce – the sweetness of it disappears into this dish and balances it out beautifully, so if you are using beans without sauce in, add a pinch of sugar and a little extra tomato puree to counter its omission.

Bring the pan to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Place a lid on if you have one, and simmer for 30-40 minutes, adding a splash more water if necessary, and stirring every now and again. 10 minutes before serving, add the stuffing crumbs, a splash of vinegar and a generous amount of black pepper.

TIP: I didn’t defrost my sausages before making this, and simply roasted them in the oven at 190C for 30 minutes and served them on top. My sink is a never ending revolving door of washing up, so one more roasting tin doesn’t make a blink of a difference in my kitchen, and also I chose to have mine without bacon or sausages so had to cook those separately. I’ve written this recipe as a one-pan all-in to make it simpler, and will be writing up the vegetarian version in its own right shortly.

 

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