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Mix the first six ingredients in a large lidded saucepan or flameproof casserole dish. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 hr until the cabbage is really tender (or put in a slow cooker and cook on High for 4 hrs).
Uncover the cabbage – if it looks watery, simmer, uncovered, for another 10 mins. Stir in the butter and season.
Cook the sausages following pack instructions, then reheat the cabbage and serve with the sausages and mash. If you’re making this ahead, cook the cabbage for half the time, then cool. Brown the sausages in a pan, then tuck among the cabbage and chill until needed, for up to 24 hrs. Cover the cabbage and sausages and simmer for 40 mins until both are cooked through and the cabbage is syrupy.