This is part 3 in my ‘Meat Reheat’ series where I take older posts and try to improve my efforts. In this case, it is not hard to do better than I did on my first sausage making fiasco.
I have been experimenting with slow cooking. There are many benefits. I get time on my own in the kitchen and if I’m in the kitchen, I am working, right? If things go wrong, I can always do something quick to fill a gap in the menu and bluff my way out of it. If I get it right, the food can taste delicious. Really delicious. The big bonus for us slow cookers has to be financial. Cheaper cuts of meat and things like sausages produce the very best slow cooking results. As the economic devastation continues here in Ireland, such slow cooking must be gathering a following…
Last weekend, I prepared Hand Made Pork Sausages with Mash and Onion Gravy. The flavours are fantastic and work really well together. The downside is that this simple dish of ‘Bangers & Mash’ takes an afternoon and an evening to prepare.
Small aside 1 and WARNING: The ‘Bangers’ name comes from when, back in the early 20th century, sausages were made with a lot of water content. This led to them occasionally exploding in the pan. The WARNING is that further down the post, the faint of heart may be offended. You have been warned.
The first thing is to get your sausage ingredients together. I took my butcher’s advice and used pork belly ends. These are cheap, have a nice bit of meat on them and just as importantly, lots of fat.
All that went into the sausages was meat, fat, breadcrumbs, white pepper, black pepper and salt. First I chopped the meat and fat into small pieces. This takes a lot of time and a very sharp knife.
I added this (about a kilo of meat and half of fat) to a mixer bowl with two handfuls of breadcrumbs, a teaspoon and a half of white pepper, a sore forearm of black pepper and a sore other forearm of salt.
This is mixed until blended.
This stage is the most important. I fry off small pieces and adjust the seasoning as appropriate. Involving the Wife at this stage can save a lot of recrimination and rancour later on.
Next, I fed the sausage skin onto the sausage extruder. (This time, I had got a Kenwood attachment that fitted the old Kenwood mixer).
Small aside 2 and WARNING: Not every post I do has the potential to bring out the worst in people. However, they often see things that aren’t there. Be warned, this one has that potential. But remember, anything you see that offends is your own fault. Not mine. Period.
When the skin is on, I tied a knot in it. Then I began to feed the sausage mixture through.
This is the high pressure part of things. There is no going back once the meat starts to flow.
The finished product. An excellent sausage in the Toulouse style.
When all the sausage was through, I did link them. The professionals do this as they go. But, they know what they are doing. Time to cook these babies. I use a very low heat and I start with a dry pan. The fat eases it’s way out of the sausages over the cooking time.
Flavours intensify and the outside of the sausages caramelise and crisp up. The pan needs to be on a very, very, low heat. The downside of this method is the Wife catches the aromas and comes into the kitchen expecting to be fed quickly.
Small aside 3: People obsess about the carcinogenic properties of the tasty burnt bits on the sausages. I heard an expert talk about it and the word is that you would need to eat a dustbin full of the stuff to endanger yourself in any way. So, cook those sausages the way I say!
While they are slow cooking, I get time to make excuses to the hungry Wife and to buy more time. Time that I use to take needless photos of the onions…..
Second to go on are the onions. A little olive oil in a warm pan. Again, a low heat is needed.
I reduced and caramelised these over a low heat for about 30 minutes or so, adding a half litre of beef stock and half a glass of red wine with about 20 minutes to go. I then thickened the mix with some cornflour diluted in a little water. Seasoned to taste, of course.
As ever, my ‘plated up’ shot is not my best. I cooked for the Wife and myself she was pressuring me to serve.
Her patience with slow food had run out, until the next time I serve this delicious dish. “Well worth the wait”, she says. Slow cooking gathers pace…