A Sausage Revolution
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.