The first time I had rougail saucisse was over 15 years ago as I was moving into my first flat near Paris. I fell in love with the dish straight away, with its rich tomato sauce that combined fragrant saffron and a nice kick from the chilli pepper.
The friend who cooked it for me served the sausage stew with a strong Saint Émilion red wine. I did not like red wine then and had never fully appreciated how wine could enhance the flavours of a dish. It was a revelation! These days, I could not imagine red meat or cheese without a glass of good Bordeaux wine.
Rougail is a traditional dish from Réunion and the recipe as I share it is the one I have been using for all these years. It might not be the exact same thing as what they serve in Saint-Denis, but it is my version of it and I absolutely love it.
Although Réunion is in the Indian Ocean, much closer to Mauritius and Madagascar than it is to Paris, it is an overseas department of France and it is part of the Eurozone.
The dish is gluten and wheat-free provided you use ‘free from’ sausages (we use debbie&andrew’s 97% Harrogate) and you can also use dairy-free spread (Pure for example) instead of butter.
To get perfect rice every time, just follow my simple instructions below. When I use the word ‘cup’ in the recipe, I mean any mug you have at home. Just stick to the ratio of two cups of water to one of rice.
I always double the recipe as the stew itself freezes really well. On a lazy night, all you have to do is defrost, reheat in the oven with red kidney beans and cook rice to go with it.
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 1 heaped tablespoon butter
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- ½ gram saffron
- 1 hot red chilli pepper seeds removed and finely chopped
- 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon mixed herbs
- 6 good-quality sausages
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup basmati rice 2 cups water
- 1 tin red kidney beans drained
- 4 tablespoons tomato concentrate
- 2 tomatoes diced
The rougail paste needs to be made the day before. Using a pestle and mortar, pound the onion, butter, garlic, saffron and chilli pepper for about 15 minutes. The mixture should be really fragrant and resemble a paste. Cover the mortar with cling film and refrigerate.
In a large pan, simmer the chopped tomatoes with the sugar, mixed herbs, salt and pepper for about an hour.
In the meantime, cook the sausages in boiling water for 10 minutes. Rinse the sausages, take their skin off and slice them (about 1 cm thick).
Pound the paste for another 10 minutes.
Add the sliced sausages and the paste to the tomato sauce. Stir and cover. Simmer until the rice is cooked.
In a pan, warm the kidney beans mixed with the tomato concentrate and diced tomatoes.
Place the rice and cold water in a pan, with a generous pinch of salt. Bring to boiling point on a high heat, then reduce the heat to minimum, cover the pan and leave it to cook, untouched, for twelve minutes. Once cooked, fluff the rice with a fork. It should be cooked to perfection.
Serve with a glass of Bordeaux red wine.
Recipe NotesYou can make it gluten and wheat-free by using ‘free from’ sausages. You can also replace the butter with dairy-free spread. The stew itself freezes really well. Just place in the fridge to defrost the night before, reheat in the oven with red kidney beans and cook rice to go with it.
Here is a visual summary: