There are so many varieties of sausage available in the shops, good ones, too, that you’re probably wondering why I’m making my own. Well, they’ve become a Great British Classic, and I like making classic dishes. They give me a great sense of achievement and taste really good too (see p. 119)!

If you do decide to make the sausages, speak to your butcher a day or two before and order the pigs’ cheeks and sausage skins. The cheeks are totally fat free and have great flavour; you need just the centre, meaty part. Also make sure the shoulder is boned and rindless. You can make life even easier, however, by replacing the shoulder, cheeks and back fat with trimmed pork belly. I like to serve the sausages with Split Pea Fritters (see opposite), arranging two sausages on top of each fritter. I also like to serve them with an Onion Gravy which you may well want to pass through a sieve for a smoother sauce.

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Ingredients

  • 900 g (2 lb) boned and rinded shoulder of pork
  • 4 pigs’ cheeks, trimmed
  • 225 g (8 oz) rinded pork back fat
  • 2 onions, very finely chopped
  • 25 g (1 oz) unsalted butter
  • ¼ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon chopped fresh sage
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • A pinch of ground mace
  • 2 slices white bread, crusts removed and crumbed
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • About 4 metres ( yards) sausage skins, soaked in cold water
  • 50 g (2 oz) lard

Method

Mince the shoulder, cheeks and back fat through a medium mincer. I like to keep the mix fairly coarse and only mince the meat once. If you prefer a smoother texture then mince once more.

Sweat the chopped onions in the butter with the herbs and garlic for 2–3 minutes until soft. If there is any excess liquid once the onions are cooked, turn up the heat and boil to reduce until dry. Leave to cool. When the onions are cold, mix them with the pork meat and season with salt, pepper and ground mace. Add the breadcrumbs and egg. A few drops of Worcestershire sauce will now finish the taste.

The skins will have been preserved in salt and will need to be well soaked and rinsed in cold water. Cut the skin into sixteen 25 cm (10 in) lengths and tie a knot in one end. Fill a piping bag with the sausage meat and pipe into the skin. Fill to the size of a standard pork sausage, then tie a knot in the other end. This will leave 5–8 cm (2–3 in) of spare sausage skin which will shrink during cooking. Repeat the process with the remaining sausage mix. Rest the sausages in the fridge for 30 minutes.

The sausages are now ready to cook. They must be treated carefully during cooking and not fried on a high heat. Melt the lard and cook the sausages over a medium heat for about 10 minutes until browned on all sides. The sausages are now ready to eat. They can be simply placed on top of the pea fritters and the onion sauce poured around, or even just eaten in a roll!

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