To my mind, one of the best things about making your own sausages is getting to choose exactly what goes into them, says Barry Stoffell. Here's his recipe for venison sausages, which he says is simple but can easily be personalised by adding whatever extra ingredients you fancy - like replacing the water with stock or red wine.
Venison sausages by Barry Stoffell.
Making sausages at home requires little specialist knowledge or equipment. As a minimum, you will need a way of mincing the ingredients and a means of getting the result into an edible tube.
Simple hand-cranked mincers — the sort that your grandmother had — can be bought cheaply and are a great place to start if you aren’t planning on mincing large volumes. Electric mincers capable of dealing with much greater quantities come with a correspondingly higher price tag.
Most modern food processors are capable of mincing your ingredients if you are unsure about splashing out on a mincer, though judicious use of the power button is required to avoid making the mixture too fine.
Ingredients (makes 14)
- 1kg of venison shoulder or flank, diced into 1in-thick cubes
- 300g pork belly or 200g fatty bacon, diced
- 100g fine breadcrumbs
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- A fistful of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 2 tsp fine salt
- 2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
- 100ml cold water
- 2m of hog casing, soaked for an hour in cold water and rinsed inside and out (see note below on casings)
- Mix all the meat and fat together in a large bowl then pass it through your mincer twice. If using a food processor, pulse until a regular consistency is reached without it becoming too fine.
- Tip the mixture on to a clean surface. Spread it out evenly and scatter the herbs, seasoning and breadcrumbs across it, then knead these in with your hands.
- Add the water slowly, continuing to knead until it is all absorbed and the mix has an even texture.
- Slide the soaked casing on to the filler nozzle, leaving a few inches hanging over the end to tie a knot in later.
- Put the mix inside the stuffer and crank the handle. You may need to moisten the casing with a little water so keep some handy. Continue filling till the mixture is used up.
- Faced with your giant proto-sausage, fold it into a tight “U” shape and pinch the casing at the halfway point. Twist one half a few times to make the first link and create two equal lengths.
- Repeat this process down each length, producing pairs of equal-sized sausages. Twist the pairs together to form a string and tie both open ends of the casing. The sausages will benefit from being refrigerated for a day or so to allow the flavours to develop.
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Though it is possible to buy synthetic skins or “casings” for sausages, natural ones are more popular, most commonly coming from the intestines of cows, sheep or pigs — this last being the casing used for the “classic” British banger. Casings can be bought online cheaply and will arrive packaged on spools and covered in salt. These are perfectly stable and can be stored in the fridge for several months.