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Friday, March 09, 2012 2:12 PM
Sausages seemed a simple topic to tackle– after all, sausages are one of the oldest and most popular foods, whether you call them bangers, snags or snarlers. Then I discovered that sausages are not limited to the old favourite beef or pork, but come in a wonderfully wide range of flavours, ingredients, shapes and sizes…to the point that we just couldn’t talk about them all! One well known sausage manufacturer has 36 varieties listed on its website, and it seems there are over 1000 varieties of “wurst” in Germany! See what I mean?
There is an almost bewildering selection of sausages available today in the local supermarket, which may be your easiest way to try out new variations on an old theme on your family. And, the humble banger in the last decade has gone from a ‘by-product’ status of the butchery process to gourmet essential in every the butchers hop.
What is more fun is to seek out sausages at your local butcher’s shop – many butchers make their own varieties of sausage – or specialist smallgoods retailers, who may make their own but also stock a range of other varieties.
Or get on the computer, as I did, and find makers like “Soggy Bottom Holdings” who sell their sausages, made from free ranging, slow growing (and therefore developing lots of flavour) rare breeds, like Belted Galloway cattle, ‘Iron Age’ European wild boar or Tamworth and Wessex Saddleback pigs.
The growth of the expat South African community has further expanded our choice of sausages – check out your specialist South African butcher’s range - and, of course, many varieties have been imported from Britain and Europe. Sausages come in an infinite variety of flavours – pork, beef, venison, lamb, chicken, , shapes and sizes, smoked, precooked (best for the BBQ), gluten and dairy product free, and vegetarian, with a range of spices, herbs and flavourings to make each distinctive.
They can be fried, grilled, baked, boiled or casseroled. They can be as simple as old-fashioned Bangers ‘n’ Mash or turned into gourmet dishes like the handmade apple-glazed pork and rosemary sausages, served on a creamy garlic and potato puree with a shallot jus, on the menu of Chameleon in Wellington. They can be eaten at breakfast, lunch, dinner, on a picnic, at a barbecue, or cold in lunch packs .
Sausages, particularly the cured European types can be sliced into soups, included in stews. Other cured varieties are great pre-dinner snacks or for making up cold meat platters.
Some, made of very lean meats, even have the Heart Foundation tick…and the recommendation is that they be cooked correctly and served with lots of vegetables to make them into a nutritious and healthy meal.
It’s a safe bet that somewhere in most homes there languishes a recipe for good old-fashioned sausage casserole, maybe curried or with pineapple or apples and onions.
Anyway, we love sausages, kids love sausages and they bring back, for most of us, memories of meals made in Mum’s kitchen a long time ago. Here are some for you to try.
• Spray the pan or the sausages lightly with oil, pan fry over a moderate heat ( no higher) , turning regularly, so that they brown evenly.
• Too high a heat and they will split.
• Do not prick, all the juices will run out and the sausage is more likely to split.
• Once browned and pretty much cooked, allow them to rest in a low oven, 120-150°C for 5 minutes. This ensures thick sausages are well cooked and tender to eat.
• Thin sausages need less cooking time but again, do not prick, or cook over a too high a heat.
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