Hey, come on - if it's available, I have to try it, right? Anyway, I was in the mood for another S&M Rodeo, but didn't fancy doing it from scratch (not that I've ever done the mash from scratch so far!), so this seemed like a good compromise.
The packaging bills it simply as "2 British pork sausages with onion gravy and mashed potato" - a nice, clear and unpretentious description. Cooking is a very simple process of just plonking it into the oven for 25 minutes (40 minutes from frozen), and then dumping it out onto a plate. While I'd prefer to be making stuff and trying new recipes, you just can't argue with this kind of simplicity.
While the description is quite meagre, the list of ingredients for the onion gravy alone makes very interesting reading (you can hear those cogs in my brain a-whirring already, can't you?) - onion, chicken and beef stocks, 'red onion chutney' (What? They used a ready-made chutney? I don't know if that's cheeky or inspired!), red wine and red wine vinegar, and of course cornflour, the one ingredient I forgot all about when I made an onion gravy from scratch. Curses!
Naturally, I'm going to compare it to my Sparky Onion Gravy, because I was quite proud of my own concoction, despite its flaws. In terms of flavour, this Sainsbury's Classic is much more strongly onion - quite a surprise, considering the melange of different stocks and the red wine, but I guess the use of a red onion chutney as a major component would have been a great help. Perhaps for my next attempt, I'll make a chutney, then incorporate it into a gravy...
But I digress...
I'm not trying to suggest that the gravy just tasted like onion - far from it. It's a rich, warm flavour that hints at a heavier, more extensive seasoning than the ingredients would suggest. Just the plain gravy would be nice enough, but the chopped onion adds to the texture, and the whole is very tasty complement for sausages which would otherwise be rather unremarkable (despite featuring their own seasoning - salt, white pepper, mace, ginger, nutmeg, parsley and sage), while the mash is a nice, smooth portion of creamy stodge to bind it all together.
As far as the portion size goes, I'm in two minds. At first glance, it appeared to have quite a miserly portion of mash, but it does go a long way. The sausages are nice and fat but, when I make my own sausages and mash, I'll cook at least three sausages, occasionally four if I'm really hungry. Corpulent though they are, the mere two supplied in this package just weren't enough, and the amount of gravy supplied could easily accommodate a third sausage.
Then again, I picked this up as part of an "Any 3 for £5" deal at my local Sainsbury's, and that's an excellent deal however you look at it.