Recipes from food stylist Nicolas Ghirlando: Fish fingers to Friday nights.

On the Case

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Tomorrow the children go back to school after six years off for Easter. I think we’re all looking forward to it. It has been good having them around, though, and we’ve had some fun in the kitchen. Notably making these sausages.

Normally, you’d put breadcrumbs in British-style sausages, that’s one of the reasons they’re not as dense as the meatier Italian ones, or, my favourite, merguez, which I shall be making soon. So to make these wheat-free, I used milled flax seed instead, which helped  bind the mixture as well as give a little extra texture.

They’re quick to make and you can buy the casings from your butcher or online. Making them yourself means there are no additives in them, and you can vary the spicing and herbs as you like, as well as the thickness and length. We got 18 large ones out of this, so quite a few went in the freezer.

You can ask your butcher to mince the meat for you if you don’t have a mincer at home, and you will need a sausage maker, you can also get these cheaply online. You can, however, skip the casings and roll them by hand into sausage shapes if you want. I’d highly recommend a machine though, not least for the opportunity to add a touch of ‘Carry-On’ to the kitchen. It’s not possible to put the casing on the nozzle without thinking about GCSE biology with Mr. Johnson.

Experiment with garlic, herb and red wine or mixed spices. Leek and apple perhaps, and paprika and onion. We’ll not be buying sausages any more.

Ingredients
800g pork mince or pork shoulder
800g pork belly
1tbsp ground ginger
1tbsp ground five-spice
1tbsp ground nutmeg
1tbsp dried oregano
1tbsp dried tarragon
1tbsp dried thyme
2tbsp flax seed
Pepper
Loads of salt
150ml cold water
2m hog casing sausage skin

Method
Mince the meat and mix in the rest of the ingredients.
Fry a little of the mixture to test the seasoning and adjust as needed.
Try not to snigger as you roll the casing on to the nozzle.
Turn the machine on and slowly feed the mixture through until it starts to fill the casing. Gradually let it fill until you reach the desired size then twist to seal and carry on. Twist the opposite way on the next one and repeat until finished.
You can cook them straight away, (I tend to grill them) but it’s better to let them dry a little, uncovered, in the fridge for a day.
Wrap well and freeze what you don’t need immediately.

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