Wednesday, 6 January 2010
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.
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 pork with Chinese Five Spice, ginger, garlic, spring onions and chilli
Fennel, chilli and chocolate sausages
Apple and bourbon sausages
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!