Get the idea: The best sausage is a quality sausage
The word “sausage” comes from the Latin word for “salt” and denoted a salty meat stuffing inside an edible casing, traditionally an animal’s intestine. Sausages are an ancient food and they can take many forms.
Some are raw, others fermented, air-dried, smoked or cooked, and the degree to which the filling meat is minced can range from chunky and coarse to very fine (mincing the meat is a way of tenderising cheap cuts). The variety available today is staggering.
The best sausages are made from good cuts of meat with plenty of fat, which will cook quickly and be tender and juicy inside the usually narrow casing, which is why pure meat sausages with no additives are generally more expensive than cheaper varieties which are laced with preservative and other adulterants.
Like any food, if you want quality, you have to pay for it. There seems to be growing evidence that preservatives, such as the nitrates used in sausages, are carcinogenic. I avoid all meat processed this way. There is no reason to use these chemicals in sausages: all traditionally made sausages (and incidentally also bacon and ham) have no need of them.
When buying I look for additive-free sausages, (read the list of ingredients) and there are plenty to choose from, I pay a bit more for them and consequently eat fewer of them. I would rather eat less of a good food than a lot of poor quality food. The choice is also yours.
I like Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s comment in his book on meat “Cheap bacon and sausages may sometimes seem tempting and moreish, not because of any real qualities they possess but because of the combination of the comfort of familiarity and the deceptive, almost hallucinatory effect on the taste buds of artificial flavours and preservatives such as monosodium glutamate, dextrose and a whole raft of E-numbers.
As with bad Chinese food and cheese and onion crisps, there is a shallow, pharmaceutical gratification of the taste buds but little, if any, lasting pleasure or satisfaction. The moment you turn to comparable products of worthy provenance and true quality, you realise what a cheap trick (literally) it’s been.”
True of most foods I would think. Sausages remain a firm favourite in our house and the many contemporary artisan sausage makers deserve credit for making sausages worth taking seriously.
Cooking sausages requires patience. Prick the skin so they don’t burst and cook sausages slowly on low heat so that by the time they are cooked on the inside they are an appetising golden brown on the outside.
There is nothing better than, sliced raw pork sausages, onions, garlic, cored, seeded, sliced red and yellow capsicums, capers and black olives slow fried in extra virgin olive oil, maybe with a big pinch of chilli flakes, a can of chopped tomatoes added and the mixture simmered until thick. Serve this tossed through al dente spaghetti with lots of freshly grated parmesan.
Spread a pizza base or dough with some Mutti pizza sauce, slice plenty of raw spicy sausages and break up boiledagria potatoes and place all over the sauce. Sprinkle with sliced mozzarella and bake as usual until well done. Serve topped with basil leaves.
Fry thinly sliced onions with sliced bratwurst sausages until the onions are soft, add some drained sauerkraut, a splash of cream, chopped curly parsley, dijon mustard, then toss with al dente spatzle pasta and grated gruyere cheese.
Stuff warm soft bread rolls with fried French pure pork sausages, lots of hot steamed asparagus spears, wholegrain mustard, sliced tomatoes and mayonnaise. Serve with oven chips made from peeled agria potatoes tossed in a little extra virgin olive oil and baked at 200C on a baking paper-lined oven tray for 45 minutes or until golden and crisp.
Steam plenty of peeled agria potatoes until soft, drain well and break into bite-sized pieces. Slice plenty of chorizos and place the potatoes and chorizos, mixed up, in a shallow ovenproof dish. Pour over plenty of homemade tomato sauce and bake for 30 minutes at 200C until bubbling and browned. Serve with salad and crusty bread.
Fry some lamb sausages, slice and serve wrapped in warm flatbread with barbecued, garlicky portobello mushrooms, sliced red onion, tomatoes, baby cos leaves, minted yoghurt and spicy chutney.
Barbecue large pure pork sausages and serve them sliced on hot green lentils tossed with extra virgin olive oil, roasted halved baby beetroot, boiled green beans, coriander and parsley sprigs and a big drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
Line a tart tin with Paneton flaky puff pastry. Slice plenty of chicken sausages and scatter them on the pastry. Break some eggs on top and sprinkle with plenty of sliced button mushrooms and chopped parsley. Cover with pastry, brush with beaten egg and cook at 200C for 45 minutes or until well cooked. Serve in wedges with a crunchy salad.
Boil plenty of small new potatoes (halve the larger ones) with a few sprigs of mint until tender. Drain, place in a bowl and crush lightly with a fork. Add lots of fried sliced bratwurst, wild rocket leaves, chopped gherkin, caperberries, wholegrain mustard, diced grilled red capsicum and chopped parsley. Dress with extra virgin olive oil and white wine vinegar.
Pull the stuffing out of some pure pork sausages and place in a mixing bowl with breadcrumbs, chopped garlic, fennel seeds, fresh thyme leaves, lemon zest and chopped parsley. Add a dollop of plain, unsweetened yoghurt and some white wine. Mix well and stuff inside a 1 ½ kg organic chicken. Place the chicken breast side down in a roasting dish, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and more white wine, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast 45 minutes, at 200C, turn over and roast another 45 minutes.Serve with a gravy made with the pan juices, baked potatoes and a salad.
Make a real sausage and mash with onion gravy. Thinly slice a lot of onions (you’ll need about one kilogram for four people — they reduce as they cook) and slow fry them for at least 20 minutes in a little extra virgin olive oil until soft. Turn up the heat and brown them lightly as they finish. Remove onions from the pan. Add the sausages and fry as usual. Remove. Add the onions back to the pan and turn up the heat, add a splash of white wine, let it bubble and then add some beef jus. Boil until sticky and reduced, taste and add a little balsamic vinegar and chopped parsley. Serve the sausages with mashed agria potatoes that have been whipped with finely chopped garlic, butter and hot milk, with the gravy poured over everything.