A Sausage Revolution

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The humble sausage. Invented around two thousand years ago, it is believed that the contents were a rather unappealing sounding roasted intestines stuffed into stomachs, lovely!

I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s, where the humble sausage was a kind of pale pink colour, and care had to be taken when chewing to pick out the bits of gristle, of which there seemed to be a fair bit I seem to recall. To get the best flavour I liked them almost burnt, they weren’t my favourite dinner I have to confess.

Fast forward several decades, where we live in an age of the artisan sausage, the low fat sausage – the two seem at odds with each other. A lot of artisan and very tasty sausages still seem to have a lot of fat, something to be avoided when you reach a certain age when you are more conscious of your blood pressure and cholesterol levels! My other half is type 2 diabetic so most sausages are out of bounds for him sadly. Low fat sausages often lack flavour – it’s the fat that makes things tasty isn’t it?

So we were very eager to try some sausages from I Love Sausage, in particular the Churchill, similar to the Cumberland sausage. I tried a fairly healthy recipe from Nigel Slater’s book The Christmas Chronicles, 100 Essential Recipes for Midwinter. I chose ‘Leeks, beans and Italian Sausage’ using The Churchill instead of Italian sausage. It was a revelation – the very desirable combination of healthy and tasty! I grilled mine and there was no fat left behind in the grill pan…

Here’s the recipe (Thank you Nigel Slater!)

Leeks, medium – 3

Butter – 30g

Water – 100ml

Olive oil – 2 tablespoons, or a little pork fat

Plump sausages – 4 (400g)

Vegetable stock – 250ml

Cannellini or haricot beans – 1 x 400g tin

Parsley, chopped – a handful

Cut the leeks into rounds about 1cm in length and wash them in plenty of cold water. Bring the butter and water to the boil in a wide pan with a lid, then add the leeks. Cover with a piece of greaseproof paper, or baking parchment, and a lid. The paper will encourage the leeks to steam rather than fry.

Warm the oil or a little pork fat in a frying pan and cook the sausages slowly, over a moderate heat. Let them brown nicely on all sides. [I grilled mine]

Leave the leeks to cook for eight or nine minutes, until they are tender enough to take the point of a skewer with a little pressure, Pour the vegetable stock into the pan and continue cooking for two minutes, then tip the leeks and their cooking liquor into a blender and process until almost smooth. (It is important not to fill the blender jug more than halfway. You may need to do this in more than one batch) [I omitted this stage for a more rustic dish] Return the leeks to the pan, drain and rinse the beans and fold into the leeks. Heat briefly, stir in the parsley, and serve with sausages.  

Jill Haine, January 2018.

Post guest writer Jill Haine

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