Meat reheat part 3 – Sausages and my slow food movement.

Toulouse SausageThis 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…

Sausage ingredients

Sausage ingredients – A lot simpler this time. I have learned my lesson.

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.

Pork meat and fat

Pork meat and fat. The fat encrusted knife is testament to the time spent doing this stage.

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.

Sausage mixture

Don’t let the picture fool you. The breadcrumbs are last in. There is not that much of it in this mix.

This is mixed until blended.

Sausage mixture

I love a good action shot in the cooking. This is it for this post.

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.

Sausages

Taste test time. Taste, adjust the seasoning and taste again. Vital for great sausages.

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.

Sausage skin

The sausage skin being fed onto the extruder. I did warn you.

When the skin is on, I tied a knot in it. Then I began to feed the sausage mixture through.

Sausage making

Don’t blame me, those are my hands. I used the timer on the camera and had no time to censor the shooting.

This is the high pressure part of things. There is no going back once the meat starts to flow.

Sausage making

The gratuitous sausage shot. I just had to put another one in there.

The finished product. An excellent sausage in the Toulouse style.

Toulouse Sausage

The finished product. Pretty impressive for a second attempt, if I say so myself.

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.

Sausages in the pan

The beginning of a very long moment of truth. I took about 35 minutes to slowly fry and caramelise these beauties.

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.

Sausages in the pan

At this stage, you should be getting pretty hungry. I was, as was the Wife.

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…..

These are the 4 onions that went into the pan.

Second to go on are the onions. A little olive oil in a warm pan. Again, a low heat is needed.

Onions sweating

At this stage, I was sweating as much as the onions. I had to get it right this time.

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.

I boiled some potatoes, added warm milk and butter. These were mashed until very smooth and creamy.Sausages, mash and onion gravy

As ever, my ‘plated up’ shot is not my best. I cooked for the Wife and myself she was pressuring me to serve.

Sausages, mash and onion gravy

A decent close up shot of the action. Right before I got stuck in. Mmmmm…

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…

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Latest comments
  • mmmm. they look great – I’m feeling extremely hungry now…

    • Thanks Mary, and thanks for stopping by.

  • Looks like real soul food 🙂 ! Actually have been present at sausage making on quite a few occasions, obviously without any imagination at all 😉 !

    • You are a virtuous person, obviously.

      • That means ‘boring’, methinks 😉 ! Hope not !!

  • We love making sausages! Yours look like the real thing.

    • Thanks Rosemary, I am looking forward to trying venison sausages, when the Hunter delivers again.

  • Great demonstration! GREAT photography!!!

  • Wow! That is some gorgeous looking food 🙂

    • Remarkably tasty despite the limited ingredients list. A lesson for me in that.

  • Very impressed that you make sausages from scratch. I’m a big fan of and you’ve turned out real beauties. Psst … Love the uncensored pictures 😉

    • Thanks Sanjiv. They really are not a lot of trouble (apart from the slicing and dicing) and are worth it.

  • Sausages are still on my bucket list yet…. yours look very professional 🙂

    • Thanks John,
      Give it a go. Good fun and tasty with it.
      Best,
      Conor

  • Very nicely done, Conor. Love the addition of the onion gravy. A very savory meal indeed. Someday, when I ever find time, I’m going to do a duck sausage. The piggy comes first, if I can ever get McReynolds farms to respond to my inquires!!!!

    • Thanks Richard, I hope they get their act together. Festive anticipation is rife!

      • Just got the confirmation. A 14.9 lb little suckling pig will find its way to my doorstep on December 20. 😀 Now, I’m really looking forward to Christmas dinner!

        • Get that camera out. We want evidence!

      • BTW-are you using pork casing or lamb/sheep casing?

        • Pork. They arrive from the butcher in a very heavy salt brine (more like wet salt).

          • OK. For some reason, pork casing is very hard to find in DFW. I can get fresh lamb casing all of the time. Only an old, well established German Sausage house, nowhere near home, has fresh pork casing. The stuff comes in a 75 lb box, called a hank. 4 oz will last me a very long time and makes roughly 40 lbs of sausage. The first time I got casing from them, they gave it to me and told me to come back when i was serious. They make 10,000 lb a week!

          • My 4lbs looks pretty pathetic. I do believe that I only get the casings as a real favour from John the butcher. Bless him.

  • Excellent looking sausages 🙂
    I’ve made them myself in the past, though i did find that by the time I got the flavour right I was full up!

    • That is a potential problem MD but, I got lucky on my blending.
      Best,
      Conor

  • WOW, making your own sausage at home, that’s impressive. What’s more impressive is the step-by-step demonstration. Thanks for sharing Conor! Gorgeous meal, by the way.
    -Anne

    • Thanks Anne, it was good fun and a far better result than my first attempt, thanks be to goodness.

  • Your sausages are picture perfect – not an easy thing to achieve! Mouth watering…

    • I suspect it is the big lumps of fat, not that people like to hear that. Strange, but they tasted very, very meaty. Not fatty at all.

  • Effing awesome!

  • What a great post. Funny, true (oh my goodness, sometimes slow food is just so … slow!), beautiful photos and the result looks oh so delicious. We haven’t made sausages in ages. Must remedy that.

    • Hi Michelle, they are well worth the trouble if you have a bit of time on your hands. I ended up with fat and bits of meat on mine!

  • Holy cow Conor! Or should I say, holy hog! These homemade sausages look amazing! I’m not offended in any way what-so-ever. In fact, my stomach is growling. And I’m quite jealous. Might need to get myself a sausage extruder.

    • Do it Tommy, it is one small thing off the list of “must dos”

  • These look very professional, Conor! I like the photo with the perfect spiral. I bet they were delicious. Time for me to be envious, as I don’t have a sausage attachment (nor a food processor for which one exists). Great idea to fry up some of the meat mixture to taste whether it’s seasoned right — should’ve thought of that when I was doing meatballs last week!

    • At least you can get a sausage machine (grinder and attachement for under €100. The trip over to sous vide will cost me an arm and a leg by comparison.

  • DAD!

    • Sorry daughter. I only took the pics. The rest happened by itself….

  • Looks lovely Conor! It seems that this time you did not over do the amount of meat…

    Love slow cooking. I did a 7 rib prime this last weekend. I had to cut it in half to fit it into the oven. Browned it first (almost did not fit the largest fry pan), set the temp for 200 degrees and shut the door for four hours. It came out perfect!

    • I look forward to the post (if there is one).

  • Those last two shots look delicious and mouthwatering, even to a veggie lover such as myself. I always get a little impatient with my photography at the end too – knowing the food is getting colder and colder by the minute! 🙂

    • Always a trade off and the more people one has dining, the more of a trade off.

  • These look really lovely. I’m also very impressed that you were able to buy yourself some time with your excuses to your wife….

    • I suspect she is on to me and my excuses but she has infinite patience with my playacting in the kitchen.

  • Slow food is great food. Yours looks absolutely delicious, as I’m sure it was. The wife needs to be a little more patient…perhaps you could send a little amuse buche from the kitchen to keep her happy. LOL>

  • I want could use some sausages right about now! Love the slow cooking, to those who are too impatient, they don’t know what they’re missing!

  • Truly a remarkable art and your pork sausages ‘Toulouse’ style are making me salivate! I’m a big believer of slow food for slower times and the joy I get from lifting the lid on a big pot of anything is…wonderful.

    I’ve never made my own sausages before but I’m inspired from your post to try my hand at it one day. Perhaps I might be wrangled to make a few kilos in my butchery classes next year but (I’m not sure) I could make anything as beautiful & tasty as these! Merry Christmas & happy cooking!

    • Alice, you are too kind. Do them and post them please.
      Best,
      Conor

  • Wowzers, you actually have a sausage filling thinga majigga! The rolled up ring of sausage looks like South African boerwors sausage, it looks amazing and what a simple recipe. Would a food processor help with the chopping up of meat and fat?

    • It would make life easier but I liked to get the pieces pretty chunky. It worked well so I won’t mess with a winning formula!

  • Great post – I forgot to mention the need to test seasoning by cooking the mix in my sausage-making post! Your sausages look really appealing cooked, especially with gentle caramelisation, pure comfort food. Thanks, Tracey

    • Thanks Tracey, My kids keep asking me to make them again. A lot of chopping for my arthritic hands (but worth it).
      Best,
      Conor

  • I must try these. I’m making some sausages next weekend (Romanian and Hungarian) and I think I will include some of these also.

    • Do give them a go Chef. They are very tasty.

  • Your photography skills are as impressive as your sausage making 🙂 We kill our own goats. Have you had/cooked with goat meat? The mince is outstanding and we consider making sausage but maybe it’s too lean?

    • I have eaten goat in Tanzania, if that doesn’t sound too self serving. My youngest brother, Peter, lives there with his family. Myself and my youngest went over for his wedding a good few years ago. A goat was delivered to the house as a wedding gift (traditional over there), while Peter was out. When he returned, he commented “Damn, now I’ll have to buy a barbecue.”

      I do think goat would be far too lean. Like it or not, one needs lots of fat in sausages.

      BTW, I can’t find goat meat anywhere in Dublin. I would love to cook a tagine.

      • That sounds like a great first experience eating goat. Nothing like a goat tenderloin on the grill so I’d say it was worth the purchase 😉 Maybe we will have to do mixed meats in our sausage then. If you ever plan a trip to Galway then perhaps we can get you some goat meat. I would love to see how you use it. We had much trial and error in the early days due to it being so lean.

        • I would love that. I hardly need an excuse to get over there.

          • Lovely. Give us a wee heads up and we will make a plan then.
            I am googling “tagine” on another tab page right now. It’s all new to me.
            Perhaps see you in the new year then. Night night.

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