In this household, we have ‘calorie-free’ meals occasionally. To us, that means “don’t bother to even think about the calorie count because it’s bound to be off the charts.” Stovies is in this league. All day today it has rained and the temperature is low so a dish like stovies is just the right kind of warming comfort food needed for dinner.
Stovies was a favourite of my childhood meals and I assume that the name derives from the fact that it’s cooked on the stove top. It’s nothing fancy – just sausages, sliced onions and medium sized chunks of peeled potatoes all lobbed into a casserole dish or pot, covered and simmered over a low heat, turning them from time to time to prevent burning, until everything is cooked. Quantities depend on how hungry everyone is. I’ve seen published recipes that include stock but we only ever add a dash or two of Worcestershire sauce for seasoning and the fat from the sausages keeps everything moist. After forty minutes or thereabouts, remove most of the fat from the bottomof the dish leaving only a spoonful or two’s worth. When the potatoes are done, the stovies should be ready to serve and you should, ideally, be scraping sausages or potatoes from the bottom of the dish. The onions will have cooked down into mushy loveliness and although the sausages will not be as brown as when fried or grilled (but don’t let their colour put you off), – they are firm and yummy. Serve with baked beans for a variation from my grandmother’s recipe that would have her turning in her grave if she suspected any deviation from the original.
Stovies could never in anyone’s wildest imaginings be described as ‘fine dining’ but tasty they are and they certainly gets the thumbs up from us! (The photo shows the stovies after only twenty minutes or so’s cooking.)