All you need to know for cooking sausages successfully. From casseroles and traybakes to fry-ups and sausage sandwiches, we've got lots of recipe inspiration.
Sausages are usually made from minced pork (sometimes other meats like lamb or beef are used). Salt is added for flavour and to help preserve the meat. They will often also contain a filling and binding ingredient called rusk which is like very fine, dry breadcrumbs and is used to help bind the ingredients together and stop the meat drying out by absorbing the fat as it cooks.
Seasonings, spices, and herbs are added to give the sausages extra flavour. Small pieces of cooked apple, caramelised onions or other ingredients that pair well with pork can also be added to create interesting varities.
Common varieties of sausage
• Cumberland – pork sausage made in a spiral with spices that can include white pepper, black pepper, sage, thyme, nutmeg, cayenne and mace.
• Toulouse – pork sausage originating in France made with red wine and garlic, and sometimes with additional ingredients like bacon and thyme.
• Merguez – North African-style sausage, also popular in France, made from lamb with spices such as cumin, garlic and harissa.
• Lincolnshire – pork sausage flavoured with sage.
The filling is contained in a thin edible casing, which is either made from animal intestine or is synthetic. Sometimes the sausages will be joined together at the casing (called links), which can be cut with scissors before cooking, making it easier to turn them.
Easy to cook and convenient to portion, sausages are a useful staple. They do need to be cooked properly though, and as they contain a relatively high fat content they can burn on the outside before the heat has penetrated all the way through, so it’s important to keep the heat to medium.
Fat in the sausages does provide heaps of flavour but if you’d prefer to reduce it, the best way to do this is to bake the sausages. Prick them first with a skewer so that more fat can drain out during cooking. Once baked they can be chopped and simmered in a sauce or stew which will put back a little of the moisture lost from baking. Chopping the sausages up and mixing them with other ingredients is also a great way to make them serve more people.
Sausages are a barbecue favourite too but as the heat on a barbecue can be tricky to judge, try boiling them first. That way you can maximise the barbecued flavour but still be sure they’re cooked through. Bring a large saucepan of water up to the simmer, pop in the sausages and cook for 8-10 mins. Drain and either barbecue straight away or spread them out on a tray to cool quickly and refrigerate until you’re ready to finish cooking them.
Fried sausages recipe
• 4 pork sausages
- Put a non-stick pan over a medium heat then add the sausages. A little of the fat from the sausages will start to come out as they warm up, turn the sausages in the hot fat to coat them.
- Keep cooking for 15-20 mins, moving them around in the pan and turning them over regularly so they all cook evenly.
- They’ll be ready when the outside of the sausages are a deep golden brown and the inside is pale but with no sign of pink or blood. Any meat juices running off should be clear.
Baked sausages recipe
- 1 tbsp oil (such as sunflower or vegetable oil)
- 6 pork sausages
- Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5.
- Pour the oil into a roasting tin and add the sausages.
- Turn them around in the oil to coat them then roast for 20-25 mins, turning 2 or 3 times during cooking, until they have picked up some golden colour on the outside (some sausages will brown more than others), the juices run clear and there is no sign of pink in the meat inside – cut one open if you’re not sure and return to the oven for another 5 mins before testing again.
These are great served with mashed potato, onion gravy and your favourite green vegetables.
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