Now, I'm not usually a fan of sauces that come in jars, but as you're aware I haven't been too well recently and haven't been able to cook so much, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to try something new that may well fit with my lifestyle.
It certainly was pretty easy to make. I followed the instructions and fried the sausages (I used 6 rather than 8, as there were only 2 of us), even though I normally oven cook sausages (I prefer them that way - plus, it is easier than poking sausages round a frying pan!). I cooked them well in the frying pan before transferring them to a casserole dish because I am always paranoid about undercooking things like sausages.
I then chopped an onion and added it to the pan with the concentrate - I thought it smelt a little weird; not unpleasant, just a little strange. Probably because the sauce is concentrated, so it smells quite powerful.
I added the 200ml water and then poured the sauce and onions into the casserole with the sausages. It didn't look like very much considering it is meant to serve four people. It does say on the packet to add more water if you want more sauce, but I wanted to follow the instructions exactly for the purposes of this review - and as there were only 2 of us eating it, I didn't think I would need to add more.
It then went into the oven at 180C for an hour, as instructed. It didn't say whether to put a lid on or not, but I did because I didn't want what liquid was there to evaporate. When it came out it was very well cooked. This might have been my fault for cooking the sausages so well before putting them in the oven, but when the instructions say 'brown' the sausages, I never know how brown it means.
Anyway, this was the result served with some mashed potato:
It was quite nice. My fiancé thought that the flavour of the sauce overpowered the flavour of the sausages (which were Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Outdoor-reared Cumberland sausages - normally quite a nice flavour: very meaty) and I have to agree. The sauce is quite strongly flavoured. And, it's not a bad flavour - as I say it was nice, but nothing overly special. Also, 6 sausages and 200ml water in the sauce was about enough for 2. I know we are both a bit greedy, but I'd say you'd definitely need to dilute the sauce more for 4 people (and that probably would have made it taste less overpowering as well!).
I do think that if I'm going to go to the effort of frying sausages, chopping an onion and making mashed potato as an accompaniment, I might as well cook a sausage casserole from scratch. But that may well be because I enjoy home cooking and am confident enough in my cooking to do so; less confident people may be more inclined to go for the jar option.
For the record, here is my favourite sausage stew recipe from BBC Good Food: Italian Sausage, Puy lentil & rosemary stew.