Okay, I’ll try not to bombard you with pork and I’ll vainly attempt to avoid such dangerous phrases like ‘Laura held my sausage tenderly while I stuffed the meat into the hole’, but I’ve got to tell you about our first foray into homemade sausages.
For those of you that have been following this blog you’ll know that we took charge of a couple of piglets last spring, fed them, moved them about a bit, chased them about a few too many times, had problems getting rid of them then managed to get shot of them both in the same week. Oh, no, I haven’t blogged about the second pigs timely demise yet. Um, tomorrow, maybe. So I guess I am going to bombard you with pig stories, but you’ll enjoy it, I’m sure.
Anyways, squasages, and our first foray into. Because we’re porky virgins we sent our first pig off to a butcher to be cut, wrapped and returned to us. We asked for some of it to be minced, or hamburgered as they call it here, with 25-30% fat content. We received about 20lbs in minced form, which we froze along with the twenty-four 5lb roasts, four flitches of bacon, seven packets of pork chops, ten packets of fresh bacon (escalopes as we call them in the UK), four racks of ribs, three hocks, a head, a heart, a liver and a big bag of bones & back fat. 270lbs of pork, stuffed into our freezer and ourselves.
We took one bag of mince out the night before and let it thaw in the fridge so it was still ice cold but workable. To make this as easy as possible (and also because you can’t get these seasonings over here) we bought a load of seasonings from http://www.tongmaster.co.uk , who also supplied us with a few hundred feet of collagen skins. Next year we aim to grow our own herbs etc for it but as I said, this year we wanted to eliminate any variables. Out of a choice of Old English Gluten Free, Somerset Cider, Cumberland, Basil & Tomato and Welsh Leek we went for the latter, for sentamentality I guess.
We made breadcrumbs from some overproofed bread that was too ugly to sell. We basically let it dry out next to the woodstove, put it through the kitchenaid then spread it out on trays to let it totally dry out. I’m not sure why we needed to do this because once we had added the seasoning and the breadcrumbs to the pork we added chilled water to re-hydrate it. More research needed there but everyone seems to do it. In fact some people add crushed ice instead of water, which makes more sense to me and might be the way we go in the future.
Anyway, sausage meat ready and loaded in the hopper I threaded the skin onto the stuffer, oiled my hand, flicked the switch and proceeded to poke the meat into the grinding bowells of my kitchenaid. Note that I have carefully worded it to avoid one of the dreaded ‘fnar-fnar’ moments that so plagues the sausage making industry. I tried twisting it every 6-8 inches but as I later read the collagen skins are apt to unwind. Most people that use them actually tie a bit of twine between each link, but that sounds terribly time consuming. And in case you’re wondering the oil on your hand will help the sausage slide easier and give it a healthy glossy glow too.
When I got to the end I wasted a load of time trying to push the last bit of sausagemeat into the spinning wormgear of the stuffer before tying the end and holding my sausage aloft with pride. Gay pride by the looks of it, with a camp little teapot stance, but our dog didn’t seem to care, she only had eyes for the sausage.
The whole process was a lot easier and quicker than I had imagined and it wasn’t totally successful. I tried twisting the sausage into links after I had stuffed it, which is a no-no as it will tear the skin, which it did. I had also committed a host of other crimes which saw my sausages split open and spew their insides out. I had overstuffed them, not chilled them after overstuffing them, not let the water soak into the breadcrumbs long enough then cooked them in a skillet at far too high a temperature. But I had just made sausages and couldn’t wait to try them- they looked good before they went in the pan, and tasted good after they came out, whch is all that’s important really.
And here is the final proof.
One pound of mince made about 14 sausages, which not even we could contemplate eating in one night, so we did what we should have done and stuck the rest of them in the fridge for the water to hydrate, the meat to firm up and the spices to marinade everything before cooking them in Toad in the Hole this evening. And yes, they were much better, both in texture and flavour, and despite them still being overstuffed they didn’t burst, although this could be down to the batter reinforcement those fat little toadies were swimming in.
Wow, the end of the blog and I pretty much totally resisted plastering it with puns and euphemisms. What did we call them? Cocky-Leeky Slippy Slidey Double Ended Fun Sticks, of course.