Ode to Sossidge
by Kavey Eats
Oh porky banger of goodness,
how I love thee so.
I love thy tightly stretched skin,
pulled taught around thy meaty filling.
I love to char thy surface, till thee art good and hot,
and thy fat oozes out into the pan.
And then to slice – that moment of resistance
as the knife pierces thy skin,
and eases through you.
A dollop of ketchup and oh porky banger,
how I love thee so.
I probably love sausages (aka sossidges) a little too much!!! By sausages, I’m talking here of the great British banger, traditionally made by filling animal intestines with a filling of minced meat, pork fat, seasonings and, these days a little rusk – a cereal-based filler that helps to bind the meat and fat.
During the second world war and the years of rationing afterwards, the ratio of rusk increased to make the meat go further, but these days good quality sausages usually contain 10% or less, and sometimes none at all.
UK regulations allow sausages to have far less real meat and far more connective tissue and rusk filler; to be sold as pork sausages they need only have 42% meat (of which almost half can be connective tissue) and if the vendor drops the word pork from the label, they can include far less meat again. Be aware that if the vendor replaces the word sausages with bangers, the contents are less regulated, and often have very little real meat at all, using mechanically recovered meat instead.
Suddenly the British banger, or at least the cheaper end, sounds far less appealing!
The best way to make sure you know exactly what’s in your sausages is to make them yourself, though this seems a little daunting for home cooks.
The class was run by the school’s in-house chef and tutor Andrew, and we loved his teaching style. Andrew is a bundle of energy, shooting handy tips at us throughout, and encouraging everyone to ask questions if anything is unclear or they want to know more. He teaches by explaining briefly and then getting the students to get stuck in themselves, which is by far the best way to get to grips with this kind of practical skill.
This means that within minutes of starting the class – as soon as hands were washed, introductions made, and Andrew had told us which three types of sausages we’d be making – everyone got their hands deep into mixing bowls of minced meat to create the sausage fillings. Andrew had already weighed all the meat and flavourings out so all we had to do is add these together and mix mix mix. We made two pork-based sausages – Toulouse and Spicy Italian – and beef Merguez sausages. Full recipes were provided after the class, and Andrew assured us that we could use similar ratios of meat to flavouring for any kind of fresh sausages we wanted to make.
Throughout the class, we worked in pairs, each pair making two kilos each of the three different sausages. A 2 kilo batch is a good size to make in a go, as it fits into a pork intestine casing – typically these are around 5 metres long. Of course, it’s not a problem to work in smaller batches, or bigger ones and pause to tie off one intestine and push a fresh one onto the filler tube so you can certainly scale the recipes up or down as you like.
The key phases of the lesson included mixing the stuffing, assembling the sausage stuffer (we used an upright manual model), packing in the meat, carefully loading the intestine casing onto the filler tube, evenly cranking the machine and easing the intestine along the growing sausage, and finally, twisting to divide each very very long sausage into individual ones. Last of all, Andrew demonstrated how to form the bangers into little bundles of three, which was particularly satisfying and not as complicated as we expected.
Before the class, I had wondered how we could possibly cover everything we needed to learn in such a short class. But although the two hours flew by we didn’t feel at all rushed and we each had plenty of practical experience working through the entire process end to end.
At the end, sausages were divided evenly between each pair, with each student taking home a whopping three kilos of freshly made sausages.
That haul of home made sausages certainly makes the £85 price tag of the course more reasonable, considering you’d pay around £25 to £30 for the same weight in good quality sausages from a supermarket, butchers’ shop or farmers market stall. I mentally divided the price into £60 for the lesson and £25 for the takeaway sausages. Most of the other courses are priced at £75 or £85, which seems a touch steep for such short classes, but the learning is no doubt similarly intensive and practical.
Next for us is to choose and buy a simple sausage stuffing machine so we can put our newly learned skills into practice, which we are really keen to do!
Sausage recipes you may enjoy:
- My Boston Baked Beans & British Bangers
- My Sausage Ragu Stuffed Courgettes (Zucchini)
- Claire’s Sausage, Feta & Tomato Filo Pie
- Diana’s Beer Braised Sausages with Potato Apple Salad
- Emily’s Sausage & Squash Macaroni Cheese
- Janice’s Cider, Apple & Sausage Casserole
- Kevin’s Sausage & Ale Cassoulet
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Artisan Sausage Making is a two hour class and costs £85 per person. Kavey Eats attended the class as guests of Jenius Social.