Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Sausage, Bacon & Three Bean Pies - Gluten Free

Apparently this week is yet another week to celebrate food (as if I don't celebrate it every day anyway). This week is British Sausage Week.

Great! Because we are definitely a 'sausage family'. We love them.............. filled with meat, with veg, spicy, or not.

Being gluten free means limits on which sausages you can eat because most of them contain some degree of added wheat rusk or bread crumbs. The upside however, is that the sausages you can eat tend to have a much higher meat or vegetable content and so taste ( in my view) heaps better.

Way back in May this year, we visited the Free From Show in London and whilst there, discovered a couple of new brands of sausage - one meat and one vegetable.............. Both amazingly delicious, so I thought I should share them with you.

The vegetable ones are made by Secret Sausages (I love the name). Their slogan is 'vegetables in disguise'. They make a range of vegetable sausages with wonderful flavour combinations such as Honey Bee - my favourite (sweet corn, carrots, peas and honey), cheese and spring onion, and chilli and coriander amongst others. Seriously..... If you have treated vegetable sausages as 'second best', think again....... These are definitely worth a try. They taste incredible with their carefully complimenting mix of ingredients and have a lovely crisp bite to the outside. They rival the meat versions superbly without pretending to be anything but vegetable. Great van too!

And then there is our new favourite meat sausage................. Far superior in taste and texture to many I have eaten, these come from a company called Heck. Their slogan is 'we do damn good sausages'.............. and they do! From pork or chicken, to pork and apple or smoky chorizo style (with several others to boot) they are meaty, flavoursome, perfectly seasoned and taste amazing. They also hold together really well when you use them in casseroles!

Which brings me to one of our favourite meals....... Spicy Sausage and Bean Casserole. It is adapted from a recipe that I found years ago in a supermarket magazine (I think, though I can't remember which one) and long before I ever heard of blogging. Wherever it came from, I cut it out and stuck it in my home recipe book and we have been enjoying it ever since.

What I love about it is that it is warming, full of beans, slightly honey-sweet, with a meaty bite, a slight chilli kick and it fills us for days (or feeds loads of guests). Perfect for bonfire night!

A few months back, I adapted it one stage further after I had a hankering for a decent gluten free pie, but was struggling to find one in the shops. I set about developing my own gluten free (and nut free) pastry because I was really unhappy with the quality of the bought versions, and decided that the perfect filling would be a thickened version of the sausage and bean casserole.

It worked incredibly well....... The pastry is crisp and golden, certainly doesn't have a soggy bottom and freezes beautifully. The filling is tasty, colourful, full of love, wholesome, comforting and balanced. I always make a good pile of them so that I can freeze some ready for those cold winter days when I need a meal that fills me with homely warmth and a big foody hug.

Sausage, Bacon and Bean Filling

Ingredients (makes more than you need for the pies, but makes a fantastic casserole to serve with rice..... or you could just make more pastry!)

12 good quality gluten free pork sausages
4 tablespoons olive oil
250g streaky bacon - cut into small pieces
2 medium sized red onions - finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic - crushed
1 red chilli - deseeded and finely chopped
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon dark soft brown sugar
2 tablespoons tomato puree
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
a glug of red wine
200 ml water
400g tin kidney beans - drained
400g tin cannellini beans - drained
400g tin butter beans - drained
2 good handfuls chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons corn flour (blended with a tiny amount of cold water)


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy based hob-proof casserole pot and add the sausages. Fry on medium heat until nicely browned, then remove and set aside. Cut the sausages into small chunks.
  2. Add the bacon and chopped onion to the pan and gently fry in the sausage goo for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the chilli and garlic and continue to fry for a couple of minutes.
  4. Add the sugar, tomato puree and honey and stir through.
  5. Add a glug of wine and mix allowing to sizzle.
  6. Add the tomatoes and water and bring to the boil, stirring intermittently.
  7. Finally add the cut sausages and beans and stir through until evenly mixed.
  8. Bring to a simmer, cover and continue to cook for 15 to 20 minutes on a low heat, stirring occasionally.
  9. Stir through the parsley after about 10 minutes.
  10. Add the corn flour blended with a little water and stir through. Continue to stir for 2 to 3 minutes until the sausage stew thickens slightly.
  11. Turn off the heat and cool as quickly as possible in preparation for filling the pies. The mixture will need to be cold before putting in the pastry cases.
  12. Any stew that is left after making the pies can be eaten as a meal in itself.........

Gluten Free Shortcrust Savoury Pie Pastry

Ingredients (makes 8 individual pies)

220g white gluten free flour mix (I used mix B from this post)
110g potato flour
110g gram flour
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 teaspoon GF baking powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
220g unsalted butter - cold and cubed
2 large eggs
3½ tablespoons cold water


Dough Method - by hand

  1. Weigh and sieve the flours, xanthan gum, baking powder and salt into a large bowl and stir together.
  2. Rub the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  3. In a small bowl, beat the egg with the water and then pour into the crumb mixture.
  4. Stir the wet ingredients into the crumb mixture using a table knife until it begins to clump together.
  5. Bring the dough together with your hands and press into a ball. Knead very briefly to ensure ingredients are fully amalgamated.

by food processor

  1. Weigh the flours, xanthan gum, baking powder and salt into the food processor bowl and pulse briefly to  mix together and remove any lumps.
  2. Add the cubed butter to the mixture and pulse again until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  3. In a small bowl, beat the egg with the water and then pour into the food processor with the crumb mixture.
  4. Turn the processor on and mix until the ingredients form a smooth dough. This will not require any further kneading. 

Turning the pastry into pies

  1. Get ready 8 individual deeper sided non-stick pie tins.
  2. Using a rice-floured surface and rice-floured rolling pin, gently roll the pastry to a thickness of about 2mm (you may want to do this splitting the dough into 3 or 4 pieces to help prevent over-working or drying out).
  3. Using the rim of a small circular bowl (judged to be the right size to cut the pastry to completely line a tin) cut out circles and line the base of each tin. Bring any remaining off-cuts together as you go and re-roll to line the next tin. Set aside. Remember that you will need enough remaining pastry to top each pie once filled.
  4. Fill each pie base with cooled sausage and bean filling.
  5. Roll the remaining pastry and using the rim of a large cup/glass, cut circles to fit the top of each pie ensuring enough room to bring the dough edges together and seal.
  6. Before placing the pastry tops on the pies, moisten the edge of each one and the down-facing edge of the lid. Once placed, seal the edges by gently squeezing the bottom and top layers together with the finger tips.
  7. Place the pies in the fridge to chill before baking for about an hour.
  8. When ready to cook, cut a couple of short slits into the surface of each pie using a sharp knife, to allow steam to escape during cooking.
  9. Pre-heat the oven to 180⁰ C / 350⁰ F / Gas 4.
  10. Using either milk or beaten egg, brush the surface of each pie to glaze.
  11. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is hot.
  12. Remove from the oven and enjoy with your favourite veg.

Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013 unless otherwise indicated

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