We make our sausages from a mixture of shoulder and belly pork, offcuts from the butchering process and, for some recipes, tongue, heart and kidneys. It’s best to par-freeze the pork as it’s both easier to handle and keeps the meat well chilled. (We also keep the heating off and the windows open, so it’s not a job for people who like their warmth.)
After cutting a one-inch wide strip from the shoulder, the next task is to remove the skin and some of the fat. We like sausages with 5-10 per cent fat, cooked slowly and with the fat spooned off from time to time, so I tend to leave a fair amount of fat at this point.
The boned shoulder from our Gloucester Old Spot cross. The two Tamworths had thicker fat than this but the pork from all three is delicious.
Little Cook at work. The boys love helping make sausages and take turns mincing, mixing and stuffing. They also work on the recipes with me.
Over to the Big Cook. We mince our sausages using a coarse mincing plate and I’m firmly of the opinion that hand mincing gives a better result than an electric mince. Yes, it is hard work and takes longer but it’s also much more satisfying.
Our sausages don’t just include prime cuts like the shoulder. Our straightforward sausage recipes also use shanks, bellies and offcuts from the butchering process, as I’m cutting here. Our more exotic recipes also include tongue, heart and kidneys – liver is too much of a delicacy to be included in our sausages.
Grinding spices for one of our sausage recipes. I prefer to use whole spices, which are then ground in the mortar, and fresh herbs in our sausages.
The really hands on part! The Big Lad mixes together a batch of Stonehead Breakfast Sausages.
And the Wee ‘Un tries his hand at mixing Garlic Sausages.
Stuffing five pounds of sausages by hand does take a while but we all join in and have a lot of fun. Just make sure to use a wooden spoon (or pusher with an electric mincer) when pushing the forcemeat in.
There we have them, 20 Stonehead Breakfast sasuages. Ideally, they’d be hung up in a chiller for 24 hours to dry out a little and for the flavours to develop before being frozen. But that’s not a luxury we have so they go straight in the freezer.
Having spent all day making sausages, what else could we have for dinner but some freshly made sausages? These are our Garlic Sausages, cooked over a medium-low heat for about 45 minutes.
A meal that comes entirely from our own efforts. Freshly made Garlic Sausages, cabbage and carrots picked half an hour before from the vegetable patch, and Cara potatoes from our storage bins. Delicious.
(And yes, there’s another draft post in the works with the recipes but as with this post work round the croft means a few delays to the blog!)