I thought I would take a break from my A-Z of ingredients and share with you a small project that I have started upon - Sausage making!
Sausages. Wherever you travel in the world, you will find the sausage in some form. Whether it’s the Andouille from France, the Bratwurst from Germany, Sai ua from Thailand or our loveable Walls best; sausages are extremely prominent in cuisine. They’ve undergone somewhat of a resurgence in the last 10 years or so within the UK. Growing up, I can remember sausages - and that was about it. Not pork and apple, sweet and sour or even sundried tomato flavour, just plain old pork sausages. Now, however, there are so many types of sausage available all the way through to pork and toffee apple sausage!
I’m a big fan of eating sausages. Not so much for breakfast (as many people do) but I do love to throw a few links on the BBQ! I wouldn’t put myself down as a fanatic but I would suggest that I am somewhat of a connoisseur. So when I found myself with a small amount of time on my hands, I decided that I would make my own. And then I hit upon the idea that I would smoke them as well, but that is going to have to wait a while – mainly because I cannot seem to get the dry weather to get my electric smoker out!
My first stop was to buy myself a meat grinder, a sausage maker and some sausage skins. Then I came to a realization - and I’ll be honest - I’ve got very little experience in the art of actual sausage making! I attempted it a couple of times, but to little success. In fact, there were a few times when I got the butchers to give me the meat, I added my flavor, then returned to the butcher to make the sausages for us.
So, with all the necessary equipment and a complete lack of knowledge, I headed into Brace of Butchers to garner some advice. They were extremely helpful and accommodating. Rob in particular gave me plenty of useful advice. Aiming for the simple pork sausage, I had found multiple recipes. Some involved pork belly and shoulder and back fat, while some had shoulder and back fat. Some even suggested just the belly. After much discussion, I settled on just shoulder meat with the fat that came with it (It also had the skin which made some cracking crackling).
Then we talked about rusk. Now, living in a house with a few gluten free diets, it’s a constant battle to find sausages without wheat or gluten. The good news was that Brace of Butchers keep a gluten-free rusk. Rusk is important to the sausage as it holds the fat and thus keeping it moist and often holding the flavour. Sometimes gluten free sausages are made without anything other than meat giving them a strange, sometimes crumbly texture.
I took my pork, my rusk and headed home with a head full of ideas. The first job was to mince up the pork meat. Then I hit another wall. There were 3 settings on the mincer. Which one should I use? After another search on Google, I settled for the largest setting. Apparently it keeps some structure to the meat. So I blitzed up 5kg of pork shoulder and suddenly discovered just how much sausage I would need to make. I split it up into 3 separate amounts and then hit the flavour trail!
I wanted to try a range of contrasting flavours and I also decided that I didn’t want to break the bank the first time I made them. So I went through the cupboard and discovered the following:
With a little more searching, on the window sill I discovered some fresh basil. My mind was made up.
- Black Olive and Basil
- Chorizo / Paprika
- Curry Spiced
And so this is where the fun began! And this will be continued next week as I felt this was a lot to put out in one go. Make sure to read the next installment and all the fun we had whilst tasting them