Best one-pot sausages in onion gravy

Sausages, onion gravy, mashed potato and stewed cabbage

Sausages and onions are a match made in heaven. Add some mash and seasonal greens and you have got a perfect mid-week supper.

This recipe – more of a guide really – focuses on getting the sausages and a rich onion gravy right. It was inspired in part by my review of Tom Kerridge’s Hand and Flowers Cookbook and the onion tart I made from it.

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The key to well-cooked sausages, I find, is low heat and a little bit of unsalted butter and lots of time – up to 40 minutes. It’s slow cooking but more than manageable to put this dish together in under an hour.

Fortunately, onions enjoy a similar treatment and neither require a huge amount of attention while cooking, so it’s easy to pull together the side dishes.

Following this guide, and with some experimentation, you will end up with perfectly cooked sausages with a hint of caramelisation on their skin, along with an unctuous gravy to go with it.

It’s well worth investing some time in finding a good sausage supplier. If you’re in North Wales, Edwards of Conwy is widely regarded as the best place to buy (you can also order online).

But most butchers’ own sausages will prove better than many supermarket brands. If you can afford to choose pork that comes from pigs that were ‘outdoor bred’ or even free-range, then all the better.

The recipe

  • Allow the meat to come to room temperature
    Any meat needs some time out of the fridge before cooking. Give the sausages 20 minutes or so on the side and peel and slice a medium onion per person. Introduce the two stars of this dish to one another in a large, non-stick pan with a knob of unsalted butter.
  • Start off on a medium heat until the butter is melted and the everything is just beginning to sizzle. Then turn the heat right down – just above the minimum gas works for me.
    About 10-15 minutes in the onions will have softened and be beginning to brown, as below.
  • Keep going, stirring everything occasionally and making sure the onions are browning but not burning. If they are catching turn the heat down, you can also add a small splash of water if necessary.
    After about 30 minutes, the sausages should begin to be looking caramelised, as will the onions. At this point you can add a small teaspoon of (preferably brown) sugar to enhance the sweetness of the onions and then a cup of water or some fresh chicken or beef stock. If you’re using a stock cube be careful as they are more salty. Nearly cooked sausages and onion gravy
  • The sausages and gravy will be quite happy bubbling away on a low heat as you prepare the sides. Mashed potatoes are the classic accompaniment, along with some seasonal greens. We had some stewed red cabbage left over from the Sunday Roast.