Earlier in the year I had an inspirational meal at Chilli Cool. Having never had Sichuan food before, I was oblivious to the narcoleptic charms of Sichuan peppercorns which not only set your mouth on fire but numb it at the same time. I left feeling invigorated and keen to dabble with Sichuan pepper.
So I invented my own Sichuan sausage recipe. And would you believe it, the sausages are amazing. Here’s how you make them.
Mince a 60/40 mix of pork belly and pork shoulder. For 6 sausages throw in a handful of breadcrumbs. Then, in a pestle and mortar, grind 3 dessert spoons of Sichuan peppercorns to a fine dust. Add them to the pork. Then slice up a spring onion and add it to the party. Grate a whole thumb of ginger into the pork along with a a couple of cloves of minced garlic. Then sprinkle in a generous amount of chilli seeds and then as much Chinese 5 spice as you think seems right. Season with salt, or for added authenticity some MSG.
Mix the pork and spices together and then feed into sausage casings. Allow the sausage to rest for a few hours before cooking as this will allow the meat to settle and relax after the trauma of the sausage making process.
Amazingly a few wires got tangled up in the Brown kitchen and we landed up serving them with Brussels’ sprouts and carrots! The winter vegetables admirably stuck to their task. It prompted one of the funnier moments over Christmas when my Grandfather, who isn’t a fan of spice, said, “I don’t mind about the chilli because my mouth has gone numb”. There was something deeply surreal about the whole experience. And this odd situation allowed us to concentrate on the flavour of the sausages which whilst taking no prisoners, were a spectacular success.
My plan had been to take inspiration from "Dan Dan Noodles" (see photo above courtesy of scaredy_kat on Flickr via creative commons ) and cook them in a liquor of soy sauce, chillies and stock and then serve them with noodles and pak choi. They would also be great without their casings as meat balls in a Chinese broth. If you’ve got any suggestions about what to serve them with, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
We still love to go on trips around the UK, staying in BnBs or camping in search of a good meal or two - hence, Around Britain with a Paunch. Quite often the trips have been prompted by Diana Henry's Gastro Pub Cookbook. Here's where we've been to: