Wednesday 6 January 2010

Christmas Sausage-Fest

Sausage pulling

The journey towards becoming an accomplished sausage maker is strewn with challenges. For such a humble thing they take a lot of work, not unlike Danni Minogue’s face. But like Danni, the effort is definitely worth it.

After my first sausage post I got some fantastic suggestions for sausage fillings. Many thanks to all of you who chimed in. It was a real thrill to get such great feedback and suggestions. I particularly like the idea of fennel and chilli and another idea which suggested using chocolate.

The other comment that got me thinking was about the fat content. Our first round of sausages had been moist and juicy, but they could have held onto their fat better. Some of the girls out there probably think lean sausages is a good thing. But they’re wrong. Much of the flavour is held within the fat itself, so when it leaks out the sausages become bland and too meaty. The way to remedy this I discovered is to use a balanced combination of better breadcrumbs and using a higher ratio of pork belly to lean shoulder.

The other way to ensure you don’t waste the fat that leaks out is to surround the sausages with things like tomatoes and mushrooms which are brilliant at absorbing the “juices” and becoming incredible flavour bombs. Our breakfast sausages are a case in point.

Breakfast sausages

Having subsequently read a bit more about sausages in Country Life magazine, I’ve discovered that the best way to cook sausages is to gently fry them. Charles Campion suggests that this allows them to cook through evenly and helps them to retain their moisture. When you’ve gone to such effort making your sausages, you’ll feel very protective over how they are cooked.

Inspired by everyone’s suggestions I spent the festive period experimenting with a range of interesting flavour combinations which I will post over the next week or so. The highlights include:

Sichuan sausage ring

Sichuan pork with Chinese Five Spice, ginger, garlic, spring onions and chilli

Fennel chocolate and chilli

Fennel, chilli and chocolate sausages



Apple and bourbon

Apple and bourbon sausages

Mince pie and brandy butter

Mince pie and brandy butter sausages

They all worked out brilliantly, but I was especially pleased with the mince pie and brandy butter sausages which could have been a complete disaster. I will never tire of sausages, but I got the impression that another enforced week of experimental sausage consumption wouldn’t have gone down that well. I will post the recipes for each sausage type and the best things to eat them with over the next week or so...

But in the meantime, if you are keen on a “sausage fest” where we experiment with making different flavoured sausages and have any ideas of venues etc. leave a comment. It would be great to host a sausage party!


Hollow Legs said...

SOSSIDGE PARTY! I am bang up for that.

You are hanging around with the wrong kind of girls if they're whinging about the fat content. You need it for succulence and flavour.

I laughed out loud all the way through typing this...

Anonymous said...

Great sausage ideas!

One tip Hubs was given at the RC course he went on was to add a small amount of sugar to the sausages as this helps them to caramalise.

Gareth said...

Great post. Love the festive banger. Would def be up for a sausage party - can bring a basic mincer and sausage attachment if needed too.

jossnotjosh said...

Snorkers. God's own food. Brilliant. Count me in for sausage party.

Manne said...

Sounds like a marvellous idea!

Considering that sausage making is over 5,000 year old art dating back to the Sumerians if I recall correctly (glad to see you keep traditions alive in style Browners), why not the Egyptian section at British Museum?

Make it a dressup. You could go as Ra, I'd be Anubis.

ginandcrumpets said...

Your sausage tweets were torture to read in an office with just a dry sandwich for comfort. These all look so tasty and I am really looking forward to the mince pie sausage recipe.

Browners said...

@Lizzie - The more time I spend with sausages the more I love them. Let's dream up an awesome format for this SOSSIDGE PARTY...

@thebutcherthebaker - a touch of sugar is a cracking shout. Thanks. Good tip.

@Gareth - Good man. I'd love your help with organising the #sausagefest - especially from a wine point of view

@jossnotjosh - Thanks for the enthusiasm and looking forward to seeing you at our #sausagefest

@Manne - the idea of an Egyptian theme never even crossed my mind, but has put a big smile on my face!

Browners said...

@ginandcrumpets - sorry for the sausage torture! I'm looking forward to publishing the mince pie recipe. It's my proudest contribution to the world of gastronomy!

Manne said...

Glad I can make people smile in this abysmal weather. :)

Thought about what my favourite sausage in the world is, and it actually is Swedish: Isterband.

On Wikipedia

Nice phot on Flickr

Crumbles when cut, if done correctly, and has a slightly sour taste which goes oh so well with creamed potatoes, dill and pickled cucumber or beetroot.

Browners said...

@Manne - My word. That is an impressive sausage. Sounds delicious.

Manne said...

@Browners - It is indeed, strangely satisfying. I probably feel even more so as it reminds me of Sweden, dark, empty forests and cold winter nights while inside by the kitchen table.

Brought some over from Sweden three years ago which I think still are located in a freezer in a flatshare in Brixton... What a waste.

Browners said...

@Manne - what a shame. Keen to give it a try though. Freezers are a bit like black holes.

Kavey said...

I adore sossidges!

And yes yes yes a high fat content is a must for a good sossidge AND frying them slowly is the best way to cook them!

I bought a bargain basement cast iron meat mincer with sossidge attachment for husband for Christmas so hoping there is some sossidge-making in our near future!

Helen said...

Wondrous! Spendifurous!Marvellous! I was very excited to see your sausage adventures (!) I love how you carefully typed 'some' girls, as you knew there would be outrage from us lot otherwise. Also loving the tip from Campion about frying them. Now there's a man who looks like he knows a thing or two about sausages.

You know I am stupidly excited about the sausage party. I don't think I need to go on about that!

eatmynels said...

No finer sausage than the chorizo in my opinion....

Love to join in the fest!

why does one need to be sausage shaped? what about making different shaped ones. Magicians balloons spring to mind or typographical sausages??

Paunchos said...

@Kavey - Excellent. Looking forward to seeing you at the sausage-fest

@Helen - Campion does know a few things about the fine arts of frying. He's living profof theat you should never trust a thin food critic! Let's devise a mega plan for the sausage-fest. Should be awesome.

@eatmynels - I agree. Here's to creativity. We may need to get some extra large casings for you.

Dan said...

Browners - have just been catching up on my blog reading (yours crashes my work browser for some reason...and...err..I do most of my blog reading at work hahaha)

I've completely missed the sausage posts!! bloody hell, fantastic work...I am beyond impressed. Maybe I've missed this, but how are you making them? have you got one of the machines?
or a tame butcher?
enquiring minds dude....

Browners said...

@Dan - Sorry to hear that the Paunch crashes your computer. It must be some greater beings way of stopping you messing around at work!

In terms of sausage making, I am pretty much following my original plan:

And if you are interested in participating in Sausage Fest - keep your eyes peeled.

Cakelaw said...

I love all of your experimental sausage posts - they are fabulous and very creative.

Browners said...

@Cakelaw - Thanks! Let me know how you get on if you make any of them.


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