November 18, 2009

Sausage Making – a retrospective

Back in early August I took myself off to a sausage making course held here in Brisbane. I know being back in August it isn't really a current cooking event, but it is a course that I really value and am VERY pleased I did. You see my original inspiration for wanting to do the course was watching the first season of MasterChef on Channel 10. At the time I thought learning to make sausages was left of centre enough to be interesting, so when I saw the course come up...I enrolled.

Sausage making equipment

I absolutely loved this course and had a ball. Instead of using sausage making machines attached to mincers we simply used plastic piping bags which made the doing the process at home much more achievable for me. I didn't like the idea of shelling out pretty big $$$ on a piece of equipment I may never use again.

My first sausage

The major thing that I took away from this course though was the startling realisation that we have no idea what the supermarkets put into their sausages. What cut of meat is it? What is the ratio of filler to meat?

And I found...

That when I ate the sausages I had produced, they seemed juicier and much more flavourful.

Absolutely wonderful.

Cooking

The other bit that I loved...can there be more you ask???...well yes, because I am still typing...is that there was an instructor who was a trained chef, and then another chef on hand to help you construct the ingredients to go into your sausage. For the first time in my life I used Star Anise in my cooking and ground it up in a mortar and pestle to construct my flavour profile. Sounds simple I know, but I was completely thrilled.

The final product

The key bits I remember are:
- use duck fat (amazing)
- use natural casings (yes they are intestines, but they are SO much better than the artificial casings)
- mince your own meat from a piece you bought at the butcher...or if you don't want to mince your own, buy a piece of meat and ask your butcher to mince it for you. That way you know what is in your mince.
- use the cheaper cuts of meat.
- turkey sausages are divine.
- par boil your sausages so that they don't split and fall apart when you fry
- this is a time consuming job...that is totally and completely worth it for the flavour and experience you will get...so long as you have an afternoon or more to kill for a couple of bangers.

Bring on the bangers and mash!!!

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