Saucisson 'Alicante Bouchet'

Serves 4
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Indy Lifestyle Online

This is my interpretation of that great dish I ate in Provence (see above). I doubt you'll be able to find exactly the right ingredients, but it's worth getting as close as you can by improvising with what's available here. The original used the local sausage and grape must - crushed grapes and juice at the stage before winemaking begins. I experimented by blending some tiny red grapes from a vine in the garden that never ripened, with some red wine. Any red grapes and f heavy red wine will do. I used Toulouse sausages but a thick, meaty butcher's sausage will do if you can't find a French one. You also need medium-sized waxy potatoes that won't fall apart during cooking - look for large Charlotte, Belle de Fontenay, Ratte potatoes or similar.

8 large meaty sausages, or 1 large saucisse de campagne weighing about a kilo
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
A good knob of butter
200g red grapes
500ml red wine
1tbsp sugar
500ml chicken stock
8 medium-sized waxy potatoes, peeled
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Gently cook the onion and garlic in the butter for 2-3 minutes until soft. Meanwhile coarsely blend the grapes and red wine and add to the onions with the chicken stock and bring to the boil. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/gas mark 5.

Put the sausages in a casserole or oven-proof dish and pour over the red wine mixture, season, cover with a lid or foil and cook for 11/2 hours, carefully turning the potatoes and sausages half way through cooking. The sauce should have evaporated by now and thickened; if not, remove the potatoes and sausages and simmer the sauce on the stove until it thickens.

Serve with greens or root vegetables.

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