The colder weather has been making me think of autumnal dishes to cook for the family, and it reminded me how much I love sausages!
This year I got to make my own sausages with my brother-in-law Mark and I have to say it was a lot of fun. The end product tasted delicious and I felt good about eating them because I knew exactly what had gone into them.
So here is a recipe for home-made sausages. You’ll need a meat grinder and a sausage stuffer attachment too. If you don’t have a stuffer attachment, you could just make meatballs.
Sausages are so versatile and can be used in pasta sauces, casseroles, tole-in-the-hole, or just plain grilled or fried with plenty of mashed potato… enjoy!
Makes about 20 sausages
- 2.25kg fatty cuts of pork/ beef 50/50 (lots of recipes say pork shoulder is good)
- 100g spice mix from Smoke and Spice – which contained salt, smoked garlic, shallots, coriander seed, mustard seeds, chilli flakes, soy sauce.
- 2 good handfuls of fresh herbs – sage and oregano
- salt and freshly-ground black pepper
- natural salted hog casings/ sausage skins (approx. 5.5 m)
This is the recipe that my brother-in-law and I followed… we kind of make it up as we went along, but we also had a great reference book called, Sausage Making, The Definitive Guide by Ryan Farr, which was excellent.
- Set up the meat grinder ready for use. If you have different settings you may want to do a coarse grind first, then a finer one later. It also depends of what kind of sausage you like. I prefer leaving it at the coarse stage myself.
- If using frozen casings, put them in warm water to defrost and to make them less salty. We also ran water through them (weird but fun!) to check they had no holes.
3. Chop all the meat into small chunks and put into the fridge until you need to use it. Cold ingredients are crucial.
4. Chop herbs and add with seasoning to the meat mixture. Put the mixture back into the fridge.
5. Working quickly, push the meat mixture through the coarse grind. Mix it thoroughly with your hands. Refrigerate the mixture whilst you get yourself ready to make sausages. You can fry up a little of the mixture in a frying pan at this stage to see how it tastes – you could always add a few more ingredients if you thought your sausage was a bit bland (extra ingredients could be: alcohol (wine or sherry), vinegar, bacon, garlic, rosemary, thyme, fennel seed, smoked paprika or harissa paste depending on which countries’ sausages you want to be inspired by). You also want the mixture to bind well and you may need to experiment with the amount of fat and liquid/ meat ratio. Ours were a bit crumbly but the flavour was so good we didn’t mind.
6. Add the sausage stuffer attachment to your machine. Take your warm casings and ease them onto the attachment, leaving a bit unfilled at the beginning. Then, you will need two people for the next part, one to push the mixture through and one to make sure the sausage skin gets well-filled with no air holes. Don’t be discouraged if the first ones don’t come out that well. Your technique will improve with practice!
7. Lastly you can either skewer a big round together and cook it whole, or you can twist them into individual sausages or links (harder than it looks, there is a real technique to this – YouTube videos are available if you want a go!).