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Five ways to celebrate the Humble Sausage

August 3, 2011

I was a bit gutted when I discovered I had missed ‘One Pig Weekend’; not because I would have been able to go to Jimmy’s Farm to join in all the fun, but because I would definitely have done my bit to raise awareness for those gorgeous little piggies.  It didn’t come across my Twitter radar until Sunday afternoon, and by that time I was engrossed in cooking spaghetti and meatballs, cottage pies for the freezer and a chard and cheese tart.  There was no room to squish in any little bangers!

Instead, I deferred the start of my ‘pig-cookery’ until the next day, when I dished up a simple supper of free-range (of course!) pork sausages with chips and a mustard cream.

1. So, that’s my first sausage recipe.  You can literally make the mustard cream (for two) by mixing two teaspoons of wholegrain mustard with three or four tablespoons of double cream.  Heat it in a small saucepan until it’s gently bubbling and then drizzle it generously over your cooked bangers.  I popped the remaining cream in a little bowl, as it’s great for dipping the chips in too!

2. I always have sausages in the freezer, as they make a fabulous emergency dinner.  It’s likely that if you dabble in a spot of vegetable growing, you’ll have a bit of Chard growing in your plot (because it’s the easiest vegetable IN THE WORLD to grow), so this sausage and chard pasta dish might be one you’ve got all the ingredients for without needing a trip to the shops.  It got the thumbs up in my household.  It is Pasta with sausage, pancetta and chard

3. I’m off to see an open-air Shakespeare production on Saturday and I’ve been roped in to doing the picnic spread. (Who am I kidding? – I jumped at the chance of doing it!)  One of my picnic and party staples has to be a good, honest sausage roll.  So, I buy a bit of ready-rolled puff pastry and cut it into two long lengths on a lightly floured surface (yes, I can be THAT lazy) and a good pack of free-range pork sausages.  I take all the sausages from their skins and add some finely chopped onions or leeks, that I’ve slowly cooked in salted butter, until lovely and soft, but not at all coloured.  Mix all together and then shape the sausagemeat back into lines of sausage along the centre of the pastry lengths.   Fold one side of the pastry over the sausagemeat and brush the top of it with a beaten egg.  Fold over the other side and seal.  Lay on lightly floured baking trays, seal side down, and cut into whatever size sausage rolls you want (I always create mammoth-sized ones, because we are, well, piglets!) Then use some scissors to ‘snip’ diagonal lines in the rolls.  Brush liberally with more egg and bake in a hot oven (about Gas 7) for around 20-25 minutes – or until they look golden brown and delicious.  As soon as they aren’t too hot to handle, transfer them to a cooling rack, so the bottoms stay crisp.  As they’d liked to point out frequently on The Great British Bake Off, nobody likes a soggy bottom!

4. A friend recently forgot to pick her courgettes and ended up with marrows instead.  When she asked what she should do with them, I suggested scooping out some of the centre and stuffing it with a sausage ragu.  Here’s the recipe:

25g Butter
A large Onion, finely chopped
1 Garlic clove, finely chopped
500g free-range pork Sausages, skinned, or Sausagemeat
2-4 tablespoons Tomato Puree
Half a teaspoon dried Oregano
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Basil

Melt the butter over a medium heat, adding the onions and garlic.  Saute, stirring for 5-7 minutes.  Add the sausagemeat, tomato puree, herbs and season generously.  Saute, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.  It can now be used to stuff the marrow (or other vegetables, such as peppers or potatoes) before being baked in the oven, or you can cook it longer on the hob and serve it with some cooked pasta.

5. Another favourite party/picnic snack of mine has to be the Scotch Egg, which seems to have made a major comeback (did it ever go away?) over the few last years, and lots of gastropubs have been serving it as a ‘bar snack’ or as a starter.

There are a couple of recipes that I would like to offer up as fabulous – a Duck Scotch Egg from Olive Magazine and a delicious Spiced Duck Scotch Egg with Tomato Chutney and Chilled Curry Sauce from the equally delicious Lee Behan of the Friday Food Club.  I ask Lee via Twitter (you can find him @FridayFoodClub) what he would recommend I served with quail scotch eggs for a dinner party starter and within minutes that was the recipe he sent me back.  I made it, I tasted it, I loved it! (I added some smoked crispy bacon ‘crumble’ and watercress too, as you can see from the photo below – it all went down rather well with the guests!)

So, that’s my five suggestions of what to do with the humble (but wonderful) sausage.  I hope it’s provided you with some inspiration for your next pig-cookery!


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