As much as I would love to cling on to the warm, sunny days of summer for at least a little while longer, the dark nights are beginning to roll in earlier and the breeze in the air is becoming all the more chilly so, it is almost impossible to deny that Autumn is now well and truly arriving. Luckily, despite the wind and rain that Autumn will surely bring with it, it will also bring a whole array of delicious, warming, hearty dishes to tuck into on any cold September, October or November evening and I for one, cannot wait to munch on every stew, hot pot, cobbler and crumble Autumn has to offer.
For me, this gorgeous veggie sausage casserole has just become my go to meal for Autumn and I can't quite believe just how delicious it turned out. The casserole is full of rich, earthy flavors and vibrant, colorful vegetables and the feta, chive and red onion scones, oh these scones, are utterly unbelievable! Soft, light and fluffy and the perfect accompaniment to the tomato base of the casserole as it creates a really wonderful Mediterranean feel to the dish with the combination of tomatoes, red onion, feta and basil. It was honestly delicious and looking back on the pictures now, I could just munch on it all over again and next week I probably will!
For the Veggie Sausage Casserole-
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1/2 yellow pepper, chopped into small chunks
1/2 red pepper, chopped into small chunks
1 fat clove of garlic
2 Quorn sausages
2 Quorn Chorizo sausages (you can get these from Sainsbury's or just use whichever vegetarian sausages you like. I think Linda McCartney's Italian sausages would be delicious in this dish if you can get them)
3/4 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
65ml vegetable stock
1x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
200g mixed beans (I used a tin of mixed beans in a chilli sauce and they added lots of flavour!)
For the Feta, Chive and Red Onion Scones-
195g plain flour
1/2 tbsp. caster sugar
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. bicarbonate of soda
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
85g unsalted butter
1/2 egg, beaten
95ml whole milk
110g feta, crumbled
1/2 a small red onion, finely chopped
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 an egg, beaten for glazing
smoked paprika for topping
1. Start by preparing the scone mixture. In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and black pepper. Stir in the sugar. Add the butter and rub in to the flour mixture until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
2. In another bowl, combine the egg and whole milk and beat lightly with a fork. (Start, by beating a whole egg and reserve half of the egg for glazing the scones when finished and use the remaining half an egg to whisk with the milk and add to the scone dough). Add the egg and milk mixture to the flour mixture and stir to make a soft, shaggy dough. Meanwhile, fry the red onion in 1 tsp. olive oil until softened.
3. Add the snipped chives, crumbled feta and fried red onion to the scone dough, tip out onto the work-surface and knead together.
4. Roll or pat out the scone dough and cut out 8 or so small scones using a small round biscuit cutter. Set aside.
5. Next, prepare the sausage casserole. Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes until softened. Add the celery and peppers and cook for 5 minutes more.
6. Chop the sausages into fairly chunky pieces and add to the pan. Fry for another 5 minutes and then add in the garlic and spices, cooking for 1-2 minutes until the aromas are released.
7. Pour in the chopped tomatoes and mixed beans. Add the vegetable stock and stir, bringing to a simmer. Stir through some snipped chives and torn fresh basil.
8. Pour the sausage, bean and vegetable mixture into a casserole dish and arrange the scones on top in whatever pattern you like. You could just do a border like me or cover the top completely with mini scones. Brush the top of each scone with the reserved beaten egg from earlier and sprinkle with some smoked paprika.
9. Pop in the oven for about 20-25 minutes until the scones are bronze, fluffy and risen. Take out and enjoy!