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Step-by-step with Richard Hughes

PUBLISHED: 12:00 21 September 2015

Boston baked bean and banger casserole from Richard Hughes.

Boston baked bean and banger casserole from Richard Hughes.

Archant

Give a twist to your sausage casserole in honour of the Battle of the Bangers, says Richard Hughes of The Lavender House in Brundall

This September sees the return of a keenly contested highlight of this year’s Norfolk Food and Drink Festival. The Battle of the Bangers may have changed venue, the 2015 sausage slug-out is being staged in Chapelfield Gardens as Norwich city centre takes its turn to host the epicurean entertainment. The weekend will see a host of demonstrations from all manner of gifted chefs (and me), street food, market stalls, tasters, competitions and, of course, the aforementioned analysing, eating and voting for your favourite porker. This year, as ever, promises to be a sizzling competition - there’s even talk of a controversial veggie entrant - and given the move to the Sunday, I’m sure the masses will be out in force. Everyone has their favourite butcher and so, therefore, their favourite sausage. I’m on record as holding a special place in my fridge for Spikings from Upwell, but I’m sure past winners, that include Archers, Tasty Tavern and last year’s winner, Icarus Hines, will all be returning to fry it out with their many rivals. These really are the peak weeks for the phenomenon of the cookery demonstration. As usual I will be trying to keep up a continual stream continual of banter and anecdotes while trying to cook for the crowds. It’s all a far cry from my show debut to one man and his dog as a warm-up act for the legendary Patrick Anthony, who certainly pulled in the crowds in the mid-1990s in a wobbly caravan at the Royal Norfolk Show. Now we have complete kitchens, every piece of equipment you could imagine, programmes, assistants, and, on occasions, the ingredients provided. This is largely due to the efforts of my fellow columnist Mary Kemp, who organises many of the events which, given that involves the cheffing fraternity, is no mean feat!

I hope to see you at one of these events. Sorry, I’m not offering free tasters, but on the flip side I’m not after your vote! Best of luck to all the butchers.

Boston baked bean and sausage casserole

Serves 4

8 of your favourite sausages

250g dry cured streaky bacon

1 tsp vegetable oil

1 large onion

1 tsp smoked garlic

2 cloves garlic

2 sticks celery

2 red peppers

12 cherry tomatoes

2 corn cobs, shaved into chunks

1 200g tin cannellini (or baked) beans

1 dessertspoon tomato puree

1 200g chopped plum tomatoes

picked fresh thyme (or dried)

1 tsp Colman’s English mustard

250ml chicken stock

Pre-heat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4

1 Cut the smoked streaky bacon into chunks. I’m using the award-winning beer and treacle cured bacon from Pepperell of Harleston.

2 Snip the sausages.

3 Heat the casserole or heavy pan. Fry the bacon and the sausages in a minimum of oil until nicely coloured. Brown the bacon.

4 Slice the onion thickly.

5 Finely chop the garlic and add both to the casserole.

6 Add the smoked paprika.

7 Dice the celery and slice the peppers and add to the casserole.

8 Add the cherry tomatoes and corn, beans, tomato paste, plum tomatoes, mustard, thyme and stock.

9 Place on a tight-fitting lid and place in the oven for 45 minutes. Serve in a deep bowl with crusty bread.

Richard Hughes is the chef proprietor of The Lavender House at Brundall and the Richard Hughes Cookery School. He is also director of the The Assembly House, Norwich; www.thelavenderhouse.co.uk; www.richardhughescookeryschool.co.uk

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