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This particular recipe was born out of hurriedly putting together last week’s meal plan, it seemed like a good idea at the time, and a good idea it was! There is something so wonderfully warming about a hearty sausage casserole and its great if you are feeding family arriving at uncertain times! My recipe for sausage casserole seem to vary slightly every time as to what is in the fridge but every time fortunately they are always so comforting and delicious! I hadn’t really planned to blog this recipe but I had a lovely comment on the meal plan post, and so I remembered to note down the ingredients!
For the sausage part of this casserole I used a packet of Nuremberg Bratwurst, that my dad had gifted for us to try – they are sort of chipolata in size and consist of Pork, seasoned with earthy spices, including marjoram and a hint of citrus to lift the flavour. They are delicious simply grilled or fried but work very well too in casserole form. We normally buy the standard sized Bratwurst so it made a nice change to discover a new version of them!
Stock wise a light chicken or vegetable stock will suit best – I used Bisto stock melts on this occasion, purely as they were on offer when I went hopping and they worked out a good choice. My dad often finds dishes too salty if I use another well known brand of stock pots but if anything he added salt for the first time to this, I was so shocked!
To speed up cooking time you can pre-soak the barley in boiling water first, though I forgot to prepare this in the morning so they only had a quick bathe but was enough to get the barley started. Its a handy dish to put on the hob and then ignore whilst you get on with important things like opening up wine bottles for example.
Serves 4-6

300g Nuremberg Bratwurst
3 medium carrots, diced into 1/2cm chunks
3 medium parsnips, diced into 1/2cm chunks
1 white onion, diced
80g kale, hard bits removed and leaves shredded
1 leek, sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
100g pearl barley
3 bay leaves
1 heaped tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
1 chicken stock pot – I used Bisto stock melts
1200 ml boiling water 

Heat half the oil in a large lidded saute pan and fry the sausages for about 10 minutes or until nicely browned all over, remove from the pan and when cool enough to touch cut into 4 or 5 chunks.

Put the pan back on the heat with the remaining oil and fry the onion until golden, then stir in the parsnips, carrots and leeks and fry gently for a good ten minutes to add a little colour. Add the barley, tomato puree, mustard and bay leaves. Combine the stock pot with the boiling water and pour over the mixture, bring to the boil then add the cut up sausages and then reduce to a gentle bubbling simmer for about an hour and a half or until the barley is tender.

Stir through the kale, cover and simmer for a further 5 minutes then serve immediately into nice big bowls. 

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