Monday, November 29, 2010

Nigella's Back-from-the-(Vegan)-Bar-Snack

This is another Food Network-inspired offering from the Domestic Goddess of Podge, Nigella Lawson. As I've mentioned previously, Ms Lawson inspires in me a heady combination of bewildered astonishment and rapt fascination, and dishes like this one contribute to that response. While we're not supposed to approve of this sort of thing, one can't help admiring the unbridled gusto - liberally laced with doubles entendres - with which she approaches food and drink.

To hear her tell it, she starts each day with a raging hangover, which she treats with elaborate breakfast cocktails and massive plates of carbohydrates and fat, while testing the elasticity of one her innumerable cashmere cardigans. (Not that there's anything wrong with that!) According to Nigella, the prototype of today's recipe is the sort of thing she whips up in the small hours after stumbling home from some über-posh watering hole(s) on her Stella McCartney kitten heels.

Of course, her version includes the bits and bodily fluids of all sorts of animals, so I've substituted more compassionate alternatives. She also calls for cooked potatoes, which she suggests one keep always at the ready - something my mother usually did, actually - but I just nuked a few in the microwave, because I am too lazy to plan ahead. The sauce can be made with whatever vegan cheddar you have available; I happened to have Daiya on hand, and my dog eagerly licked out the saucepan, which I consider a clear sign of approval! This dish makes a very substantial breakfast, brunch, or whatever-you-like all on its own, or - if you are louche gluttons like us - it pairs nicely with crusty toast and a Bloody Mary. (You know that Nigella would want it that way.)

Nigella's Back-from-the-(Vegan)-Bar Snack
The Sausagey Bit (PHWOAR!)

~ 2 tbsp. olive oil
~ 1 large onion, roughly chopped
~ 5 mid-sized potatoes, baked, cooled, and cut into chunks
~ 3-4 vegan sausages, sliced into 1" rounds (I used apple & sage Field Roast)
~ 1/2 tsp. each: poultry seasoning, smoked paprika
~ A few grinds of black pepper

~ Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and coat a mid-size casserole with cooking spray.
~ In a large, deep skillet, heat the oil, and saute the onions on medium heat about 3 minutes.
~ Gradually add the potatoes and sausages, stirring with each addition, then sprinkle the whole business with the poultry seasoning, paprika, and pepper.
~ Continue cooking for about 15 minutes, flipping with a spatula every few minutes so that things have a chance to get nicely browned on the bottom (Nigella would probably say "on their bottoms," because that's what she's like).
~ Turn off the heat and allow to sit while (Nigella would say "whilst") you make...

The Saucy Bit (know what I mean?)
~ 1 tbsp. olive oil (or other oil)
~ 1 tbsp. flour
~ 1 tsp. each: salt, Coleman's dry mustard
~ 3 cups plain, unsweetened soy milk, heated
~ 1 tsp. Marmite (or 2 tsp. HP, Daddy's, vegan Worcestershire, etc.)
~ 2 cups grated vegan cheddar

~ In a saucepan, heat the oil over low heat, then stir in the flour, salt, and Coleman's mustard to make a roux. Add the Marmite, and a splash of the soy milk and stir until smooth, about a minute.
~ Begin gradually adding the soy milk and cheese in batches, stirring with each addition to prevent lumps.
~ When all the milk and all the cheese has been added and everything is smooth and lovely, cook the sauce a minute or two more, then give one last whisk and turn off the heat.

And now...
~ Tip the potato/sausage mixture into your casserole, and pour the cheezy sauce over the top, making sure that it's evenly distributed.
~ Sprinkle the top with a little extra paprika, then bake at 450 for 20 minutes, until browned and bubbly.
~ Allow to sit about 5 minutes before serving.


  1. This sounds amazing! I often wish I was friends with Nigella. Her parties always seem really interesting.

  2. Audrey from the PPKDecember 7, 2010 at 4:55 PM

    Wanted to finally leave a comment and tell ya I made this on Sunday. It was freakishly good, I think the addition of Marmite to the cheezy sauce made it seem really omni, I think it was the brownish color. I did something weird to the measurements (I'm prone to doing stuff like making 2/3rds of a recipe) and in the process added a bit too much salt, but I was the only one who thought so. Also, we call Nigella "the boob lady" hahah.

  3. Audrey - I'm so glad you liked it! I'm a firm believer in the Magical Power of Marmite: it's good for what ails you!