Sunday, 26 February 2012

The Savoury Sausage

When I was growing up in rural Ontario, in late autumn, my parents would bring their hand cranked meat grinder up from the basement for sausage making.    It was part of their Hungarian tradition.  They used only fresh pork to make delicious hurka (rice and usually the meat from the pig’s head) combined with spices, sausages made with a lot of hot pepper seasoning, and kolbasa.  Mom loved blood sausage but thankfully she bought that type.  It was one of the few foods I couldn’t bring myself to eat although I have heard that it is delicious.

Sausages have a long history and are made and consumed world wide.  There are approximately two hundred different varieties available in Canada and most of them are of German origin like the frankfurter. Some other types include; kielbasa from Poland, potato sausage from Sweden, the Italian salamis and bologna, Spanish chorizos, and Chinese duck liver.  For the health conscious there are low fat turkey and chicken sausages, as well as vegan, vegetarian and gluten free.
 Sausage making involves four main steps: mincing or grinding the meat, adding spices and flavourings, stuffing the casings, and storing.  

Seasonings   include pepper, cumin, savoury, parsley, fennel, sage, cloves, mace and caraway.  I’ve also bought some sausage at Christmas where cranberries had been added to the grinder.  My neighbour loves lamb sausages that she buys from the Mennonites at the St. Jacob’s Market.  Their flavour is enhanced with rosemary.

My parents used organic casings.  Our meat was cured and smoked at the local butchers.  Then it was stored in either our refrigerator or freezer.  My maternal grandparents used to hang some of it up in their garage.  On a cold winter day there was nothing better than the smell of homemade sausages as they sizzled in a heavy cast iron frying pan.   

If you are so inclined you might want to try making your own sausage.  A lot of mixers have grinder attachments that make the job a lot easier than the hand cranked one my parents had.  There is a lot of info online.

When I lived and worked in the UK I ate more sausage than at any other time in my life.     From the common breakfast brand to the more gourmet versions made with beef and stilton and venison and red wine.

 I worked for the Racal Milgo Telecommunications Company then located in Reading.   I can truly say that working there was one of the best jobs I ever had.  I made several friends at the office.  One of the girls took the time to photocopy several traditional British recipes for me.  They were from her grannies original copy of ‘Radiation New World Cookery Book’ first published in 1927 as a companion for the ‘Regulo New World Gas Cooker’.  I still make some of those recipes today.   The following  was one of my kids’ favourites when they were small.  I think that they liked the name.


4 oz. plain flour
Pinch of salt
1-2 eggs
½ pint of milk and water mixed
½ lb. sausages or more
1 oz. oil or pan drippings

Make a batter with the flour, salt, eggs, milk and water combo.  Leave it in a cool place for 1 hour. Skin the sausages and shape them into small rolls on a floured board.  Put the oil or the drippings into a small baking pan that has been preheated.  Pour the batter into the pan and place the sausages in the batter so that they lie in one direction.  Bake it for 35 minutes at 375F.

“Laws are like sausages. It's better not to see how they are made.”
Otto Von Bismarck (1815-1898)

*Photograph courtesy of my son Dylan Troyer . Portuguese sausages from M & M Fruit & Grocery, Toronto. 

Stay tuned for my next blog about 'Bread'...


Anonymous said...

I thoroughly enjoyed the "sausage" story. Didn't know there was that much to sausages. Personally, I like a very mild saugsage but it was interesting to hear how many spices can be incorporated. Great blog!

Anonymous said...'ve reminded me how delicious sausages are...but still not tempted to try the 'blood sausage' either though....:)

Teri Flatley said...

Gloria, interesting story. My uncles used to make deer sausage after hunting season. I am not a big fan of sausage but you make it sound good!