The week I’ve spent in the south of France at my grandmother’s house has been the most restful holiday I’ve had in a while, mainly because I’ve been able to truly enjoy it. Life here seems to go so slowly, and I’ve spent most of my time reading, talking and cooking with my grandmother – and a little blogging too.
My grandmother was born in the Reunion Island and spent most of her early years there, up to her young married life, so a lot of her cooking, although she now eats very simply, is inspired from her childhood in the Indian Ocean. My favourite, and a family favourite I dare say, of all the creole dishes she cooks is her sausage rougail, a deep, rich sausage and tomato dish spiced with turmeric which I very specifically ask her to cook for me every time I come visit.
Although I am used to eating this dish for Sunday lunch, cooked by my father with a myriad of small accompaniments, my grandmother doesn’t remember it that way. According to her, sausage rougail and embrocal, the turmeric pilaf rice that rougail was traditionally served with, were mainly cooked as a picnic dish: pots would be carried in woven baskets up to the lunch destination and eaten there.
Whether cooked by my grandmother or by my father, this truly is in my top 5 family recipes, especially when served with rice, fresh avocados and a simple version of fresh tomato salsa. It’s perfect as a dinner dish and makes for delicious leftovers!
Careful, though: although I adore turmeric, this spice stains worse than anything else I’ve seen. Definitely wear an apron while cooking this, or at least avoid delicate or white clothing!
PS. If any of my family is reading this, this recipe was written according to Grand-mère: although we may all have our own version, this is the definitive one! 😉
4 Toulouse sausages (or thick pork sausages)
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 can chopped tomatoes or 3 fresh tomatoes, diced
Oil (olive or coconut)
1. Heat some oil in a large pan over medium heat. When hot, cook sausages in pan until browned. This will mainly give the sausages better texture and facilitate the next step.
2. Take the sausages off the heat and cut them into quarters or thirds, then set aside in a small bowl.
3. In the same pan as the sausages, brown onion, shallots and garlic. When browned, put half-cooked sausage pieces back in the pan and mix together.
4. Add a generous amount of turmeric to the pan, covering onions and meat, and stir well. Make sure to add the turmeric BEFORE you add the tomatoes.
5. Add 1/2 can of chopped tomatoes, or 3 fresh chopped tomatoes. If using fresh tomatoes, make sure they can give a lot of water.
6. Add about 150 to 200ml of water to the pan, not enough to cover the sausages but mainly to allow the sauce to thicken. Lower heat and let simmer until the water has evaporated and the sauce is no longer liquid.
7. To make the fresh tomato salsa, dice two tomatoes into small pieces. In a bowl, mix diced tomatoes, one tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper and possible a dash of lemon juice and set aside.
8. When the sauce has thickened, serve rougail with rice and fresh tomato “salsa”.