Now that I am working part time, frugality and thriftiness are a necessity, whilst embracing the need to be careful I don't necessarily like "cheap" especially when it comes to sausages. Do you remember that several years ago there was a huge furore over one of the big supermarkets selling value sausages at 16p for 8? Yes really 2p each! The downside was the actual meat content was only 34%. That is a sausage composed largely of rusk and water - not for me - sorry!
Both me and the hubby love a great British banger!
At farmer's markets around the country artisan sausage makers ply their wares - delicious, juicy meaty bangers, just as they should be, but at a price!
|Homemade sausages for breakfast!|
I'm not entirely new to sausage making myself having bought a "Sausage King" sausage making kit way back in the early 1980's. The set consisted of a hand held sausage stuffer, some collagen skins, a couple of packets of flavouring mix and some rusk. Despite trying repeatedly to make passable sausages, I had limited success. The sausages were too dry (100% lean meat does not make a good sausage!) or poorly flavoured and the collagen skins seemed tough - that is they did when they didn't burst leaving an unholy mess in the pan! Needless to say the sausage stuffer was relegated to the back of a box and largely forgotten.
Recently my thoughts have returned to sausage making - I'm older and (questionably) wiser, so I felt in the mood to resurrect the sausage stuffer and try again. I bought some natural hog sausage skins from good old EBay - not a large quantity, but enough for a few experiments.
I began with a google search for recipes - mainly to get an idea for proportions of ingredients. My first revelation was that water needed to be added to the sausage mix to keep it moist. I hadn't added water to any of my experiments in the 80's. I wanted to use ready minced meat, and knew though that it needed a proportion of fat, so I made sure that I didn't choose the extra lean stuff.
I had a pack of organic saddleback pork from a local farm supplier which weighed 435g so armed with a calculator I deemed that I needed 87g of some sort of filler, 7g of herbs, 4g pepper, 2g salt and 87ml water.
I decided to use homemade wholemeal bread as a filler and I have copious amounts of sage growing in pots so I popped the bread and the sage together in the food processor and whizzed them into sage flecked breadcrumbs. The recipes I had found on t'interweb tended to specify white pepper, but I only had black pepper so that is what I used. Everything was thoroughly mixed together just using my hands. A little bit of the mixture was then fried off and tasted to check for seasoning - I deemed it perfect. It was slightly spicy from the quantity of black pepper so I named this batch "Spicy Pork Sausages". The mixture was stuffed into the soaked hog casings and twisted into links.
|Homemade Spicy Pork sausages.|
Flushed with my apparent success and having quite a bit of hog casings left over I wanted to try more. Not having any more fresh minced meat in the house however I raced off to the local butcher. At this point I was thinking - beef with Stilton and Moroccan lamb.
Unfortunately there was no lamb mince to be had so I satisfied myself with the purchase of 500g minced beef. Once back home I once again consulted the all wise google to see what the recommended proportion of Stilton cheese is in a sausage. The consensus seemed to be about 40g to 500g meat. Now my dear hubby loves Stilton sausages but his usual complaint is that there is insufficient Stilton in them. With this in mind I decided to up the quantity of Stilton to 60g. I also added a chopped onion fried sweated down in a little butter.
Once I'd fried a little taste I deemed there was still not enough Stilton so upped it by another 10g. After another taste, I upped it by 10g again so I used 80g of Stilton in total.
|Homemade Beef & Stilton sausages.|
Were they both a success? You bet they were. We both had two of each flavour for tea served on a mound of colcannon (mashed potato and cabbage) with onion gravy. Hubby did ask however, that I include a little more Stilton next time!
What about the costs?
Spicy Pork Sausage
435g Organic Pork Mince (£2.90)
87g Breadcrumbs (10p)
7g Sage (Homegrown so free)
5g Pepper & 2g Salt (Costed at 5p - though doubt it would be that much)
Hog casings (66p)
So £3.76, and the weight of the finished sausages was 600g so £6.26 per kg
Beef & Stilton Sausages
500g Beef (£3.85)
100g breadcrumbs (10p)
7g Sage (free)
1 Small Onion (10p)
5g Pepper & 1tsp Salt (5p)
80g Stilton (94p)
Hog casings (66p)
So £5.70, and the weight of the finished sausages was 800g so £7.12 per kg
Comparable sausages tend to be around about the £7.50 per kg mark - so whilst there is a saving in monetary terms it is not a massive saving. However, you do know exactly what has gone into the making of these sausages and that is as important to me as the price.