Memory Food – Ma’s Sausage Cass

Image copyright Lucy Stendall Photography Ltd

I mentioned in my first Memory Food post, my love for humble food. For me, as for so many of you, I equate food with my childhood home and more specifically with my mother’s cooking. One meal in particular jumps out and grabs me. Ma’s Sausage Casserole, or Sausage Cass as we call it. We have been having this meal for some years, although I believe it originally came from a Sainsburys recipe card, it has been adapted by Ma.

There is something about the combination of garlicky sausages, smoked bacon¬†and its thick moreish gravy. When served with a small mountain of steaming mashed potatoes it will soothe your soul. That’s a promise. To me this dish means coming home from school on a dark winters night, tired, cold, miserable and hungry enough to eat a horse and its rider. It means a contented tummy that makes everything seem right in the world. A hug on a plate. I’ve shared this recipe with many friends over the years and I’d like to share it with you too.¬†Nobody needed much persuading to indulge in this on Sunday so that I could take a photograph.

As with all good cooking, this recipe comes with a few rules. Ignoring these will change the dish beyond recognition and you’ll only have yourselves to blame. Please don’t come crying to Barbara.

Firstly, without wishing to sound like a sausage nazi (Heaven forbid!), do not substitute any other sausage. I’ve tried and it doesn’t work. Toulouse style sausages are available at Sainsburys and these are the ones we always use. Try to buy them on the day you’re going to cook this dish because the garlic smell with overpower everything in your fridge otherwise. Which I don’t mind, but others in your household might.

Secondly, the best bacon to use is from Fortunes in Whitby but we don’t always have a ready supply in the fridge, so you can use another smoked bacon. If you can get hold of some from Fortunes or another traditional smokehouse it makes all the difference to this recipe.

I can’t really stress those rules enough.

And so, onto the recipe…

Recipe – Feeds 2-3

Olive oil for frying

1 large onion, diced

1 clove of garlic, crushed

6 Toulouse Sausages

2 heaped tbsp Plain Flour

1 large glass of red wine

1 Beef stock cube, dissolved in 1/2 pint of boiling water

1 bay leaf


Grill or fry the sausages until browned. You don’t need to cook them through, this process is mainly to give colour because they will cook later on.

Meanwhile fry the onion and garlic in some olive oil gently, over a low heat for 10 minutes until soft and shiny.

Stir through the flour and cook on a low heat for 1 minute.

Turn up the heat and pour in the wine to deglaze the pan.

Add the browned sausages to the pan and pour over enough stock to go half way up the sausages. Keep any leftover stock for later.

Add the bay leaf and turn the heat down low to cook slowly for 40 minutes on the hob. Alternatively cook for 1 hour at 150 degrees in your oven if your pan is oven safe or add to your slow cooker on low for several hours, adding more stock if you need to make more gravy.

Serve with mashed potatoes and vegetables of your choice.


Posted in: Memory food



  1. Posted March 5, 2013 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    I might be being dense but are the bacon rules just rules for life or am I missing something?

    Otherwise this is now making me long for winter rather than spring as it looks and sounds perfect for cold dark nights.

    • Barbara
      Posted March 5, 2013 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      I suppose the bacon rule could apply to life in general, but more specifically any other type of bacon in this recipe has quite an impact on the taste. I think it’s because commercial smoked bacon isn’t done over wood chips which gives traditional smokehouse bacon that special flavour.

      Today would be an ideal sausage cass day, we have been known to have it in the middle of ‘summer’ on colder days.

  2. Posted March 5, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Gosh this looks divine! I’m just waiting for a dip in the temperatures (I live in Australia) so I can start making casseroles again.

  3. Posted March 7, 2013 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    This looks delicious and I can just imagine how soothing this would when it’s grey outside, or you’re just tired and need good comfort food. My Irish mammy brought us up on stews and casseroles, much to my younger self’s dismay. Now, I crave and devour those meals, no more fork pushing for me! Thanks for sharing Barbara x

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