Sausage and caramelised onion focaccia

Preparation time: 15 minutes + resting
Cooking time: 50 minutes

For the focaccia:
500g strong white bread flour
300ml water
1 tsp (7g sachet) easy bake yeast
1 tsp salt
Plenty of extra virgin olive oil
2 large sprigs of rosemary
Plenty of sea salt or kosher salt flakes
3 very good quality Lincolnshire sausages (or veggie sausages) of your choice – thinly sliced

For the caramelised onions:
1 large white onion – halved and thinly sliced
Olive oil
Seasoning and fresh rosemary

Featured in:
October 2017

I love it when you can see the seasons change. I spend many of my weekdays in the big city, surrounded by tall buildings with barely a tree in view but when I’m back at the cottage I’m in the middle of the countryside and my view is of the rolling Lincolnshire Wolds. You see the fields change from their patchwork blanket of greens and yellows in the spring and summer to an eiderdown of golds and then browns in the autumn. It makes you feel more alive and closer to the cycle of life and of course food. The wheat has been harvested and I believe a celebration of bread is in order. This sausage focaccia is perfect as a stand alone meal or to mop up those glorious soups so prevalent at this time of year.

You will need a 30cm x 20cm deep-walled baking tray.

Start with the onions. Heat the oil and a generous amount of butter in a pan, then turn down the heat to a low-medium. Add the onions, stir and let them gently caramelise for at least 30 minutes. Stir regularly so they don’t catch and season half way through with salt and pepper and some rosemary. You don’t want them completely golden, more a pale gold as they will go darker in the oven – set aside.

For the focaccia, place the flour, yeast and salt into a very large ceramic bowl and then pour over the water and bring it all together with a rubber spatula until you have a sticky dough ball, then tip out onto a well-floured surface and knead for at least 10 minutes or until the dough is soft and elastic.

Place the dough into a well oiled bowl, cover in clingfilm and set aside until doubled in size. This should take roughly an hour.

Take your baking tray and oil it well with an extra virgin olive oil.

Once your dough has doubled in size, take it from the bowl and place it in the oiled baking tray and roughly push it out to the edges. It won’t fully cooperate but play with it quite freely and it will stretch, then set aside for 30 min and during this time it will fill the tray and rise a little.

Oil your fingers and push regular indents into the dough, then spread the focaccia with the onions, then the slices of sausages.

Bake on 190C for 20 min or until it starts to turn golden, then remove from the oven and generously drizzle the top of the focaccia with more olive oil and sprinkle with salt… you can be as generous as you like here, I like it very salty.

Set aside to cool for a few moments before tearing apart!

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