Mighty big bangers

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My husband N loves sausages almost more than life itself, and probably slightly more than me and our baby. If he’s not eating sausages, he’s thinking about when he can next eat them. He takes his sausage-worship to almost evangelical heights – not only does he have selected friends that he talks about sausages with in great detail (stop tittering at the back) but he’s now taken it upon himself to make his own bangers at home, using a meat grinder that his sister gave him for his birthday, that of course came with a special sausage attachment!

You have to be serious about sausages to want to make them, as it’s a loooong laborious process. For starters, you have to order hog casings from a specialist on the internet. (There are sites that actually sell these kinds of things!) The slippery looking casings are basically pig intestines stored in salt, which need soaking in water for 2 hours prior to sausage making. Then you have to peruse various sausage recipes and pick the type of bangers you want to make. Then it’s off to the butcher to buy a tonne of pork belly and pork shoulder meat, then you have to sort out your seasonings – for example, fresh herbs and spices and salt. After this, you come home and chop the meat into dice, before chilling it for two hours. Then you grind the meat into mince, prepare your seasonings, then mix everything together. Now you’re ready to push the hog casings onto the mincer’s sausage attachment, then squeeze the meat mixture into it (it’s hard not to think of condoms when you do this!) and then watch your sausages come out. It’s really fun to do, but quite a palaver – you totally need an entire day!

 

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We made pork sausages with fennel, lemon and garlic, and another batch of pork sausages with lemon thyme, sage, nutmeg and coriander. They were impressively chunky, didn’t shrink disappointingly in the oven and tasted absolutely delicious. N thought the texture might be better next time using proper sausage rusk instead of fresh breadcrumbs to bind everything together, but I cared not, I was too busy devouring them. Not sure how cost-effective making your own sausages actually is, but it’s satisfying to do. And makes one feel rather smug. This was our Sunday lunch:

 

For what are bangers without mash?

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If you want to make the sausages above, this is what you need:

Makes approx 10 big bangers

290g pork belly
630g pork shoulder
18g salt
110g fresh breadcrumbs or sausage rusk

– Flavouring for the fennel sausages:

Juice of 1 lemon, made up to 165ml with water
Zest of 3 lemons
10g crushed fennel seeds
6 cloves crushed garlic

– or, flavouring for the herby sausages:

165ml liquid – half water, half white wine
15 small fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
2 tbsps finely chopped lemon thyme
2 tsps ground coriander
1/4 nutmeg, grated
2 tsps ground white pepper

Pre-soak your sausage casings for 2 hours. Chop the meat into small chunks, then put in the freezer for 45 minutes, which makes mincing easier. Then feed it through the mincer. Mix in the liquid and flavourings by hand until you have a sausagemeat consistency. Then feed the mixture through your mincer and sausage stuffing attachment into your hog casings, making sure that once the mixture nearly reaches the end of the tube that you have tied a knot in the casing. Pinch the sausagemeat at each place where you want your sausages to begin and end, then twist four times to create the divisions. Voila, you have created sausages! Chill them in the fridge for 24 hours to develop the flavour and texture, before cooking in the oven at 180C for about 40 minutes, or until nicely browned.

We took inspiration from here and here.

The Dogfather

You might be amused to know that this same day revolved around sausages in its entirety – even before we’d gone to the butcher for the sausage ingredients, we lunched at a great street food stall in East Dulwich called ‘The Dogfather’ which served posh hotdogs, or ‘Haute Dogs’. I’d never eaten a gourmet hotdog before, and was seriously impressed by these bad boys – no nasty mechanically-recovered meat, but instead tasty kosher beef sausages that have a pleasing bouncy texture to them when you bite in:

The ‘Boss Hogg’: beef dog, chorizo, onions, red pepper sauce – mmm savoury goodness!

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‘The Mexican’ – beef dog, guacamole, cheese, hot sauce, beans, peppers, onions – arriba!

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Spot the dawg:

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I’ll be back soon to try the ‘Snoop Dog’, ya dig…

The Dogfather
North Cross Road Market
East Dulwich
SE22 9EV

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