Pork & Sage Sausages with Caramelised Onion, Red Currant & Red Wine Gravy

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What a shame the torrential rains, rivalling those that fall in the tropics, didn’t arrive a few days earlier, thus preventing the rampant forest fire that devastated bush and woodland within a couple of kilometres of our home. Today, the heavens have opened here in the Algarve, lashing rain cascades with momentous force from the roof, hitting the terrace with loud resonant slaps as the gutters spill over, Niagara like, and the roads transmute into fast flowing foaming rivers. The clouds have descended over the hills of Monchique, obliterating them from our view. The atmosphere is damp, grey and clammy with a growing chilliness in the air –  driving my apetite towards thoughts of comfort food. What better excuse! It’s time to dust off the sausage making machine (speak persuasively to my husband who assists me with this task) and soak the natural pig skins in preparation. We have invited four of our neighbours to join us for dinner, so we need to make these sausages worthy of taking centre stage on the table.

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A view from our house – a forest fire burning into the night! Not relevant to sausage making, but I thought you might like to see it!

Charcuterie has fallen into my husband’s ‘department’. The equipment we use is heavy and cumbersome and I find the process functions better with two of us. We make up five kilo batches of sausages at a time, because we have a loyal following of friends who are always pleased to receive a packet or two! Good English style sausages are not often readily available here in Portugal, so the novelty value is to our advantage. For most domestic use, I would recommend starting with two kilos of meat which would produce about thirty-five deliciously plump sausages. The making of these lovelies is not a five minute job and the clean up process is laborious. It is also very important that this is carried out meticulously as raw pork can be a dangerous medium. Therefore, it falls, most definitely,  into my husband’s department, unaided if I can get away with it!

Weschenfelder supply all our charcuterie goods. They are based in the United Kingdom and offer an excellent service, supplying equipment, sausage skins, curing salts among many other things. Visit their site at www.weschenfelder.co.uk

Here is the making of our sausages in photographs, followed by the recipe. Have a go yourself – it’s fun and you can create your own recipes! Coming up to Christmas, we will be making some Pork, Port and Cranberry Sausages – watch this spot!

I served these succulent sausages with buttery mash potatoes, carrots (boiled with a little sugar in the water to enhance their natural sweetness) and caramelised onion, red currant and red wine gravy. A heart warming treat for any rainy day!

For the gravy – simply slice an onion into strips and pan-fry in a little olive oil and butter mixed. Allow to caramelise. Add salt and pepper and a cup of red wine. Simmer for a couple of minutes and add a tablespoon of red currant jelly. Let the gravy reduce. I add a teaspoon of butter to thicken and give the juices a glaze. Taste at all times and adjust (salt and pepper) to suit your taste. Pour over generously.  Gravy heaven!!

 

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We buy a cut of pork (belly/rib)with sufficient fat content to give the sausages the correct consistency, removing the bones and the grizzle, alternatively you can buy ready minced pork, but ensure that it has not had soya or breadcrumb already added to bulk it out! Below mincing the meat and adding the ingredients: Per kilo – 15g salt, 2g white pepper, 2g black pepper, 2g dried sage, 100g breadcrumb, 100ml of water IMG_1421 IMG_1424

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Place the minced pork in the mixing bowl with the ingredients.

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Mix together.

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Feed the soaked skins onto the nozzle of the sausage maker. A fiddly job!

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Filling the skins evenly.

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Fill the cylinder of the sausage maker with the meat mixture and attach the nozzle with the skins.

 

Pork & Sage Sausages

Prep Time: 1 Hour 30 Mins Cooking Time: 30 Mins

Ingredients:

  • Per kilo of minced pork
  • 15g salt
  • 2g black pepper
  • 2g white pepper
  • 2g dried sage
  • 100g breadcrumbs
  • 100ml water

Directions:

  1. If you buy the pork pre minced, I would suggest a cut with sufficient fat to give the sausages moisture and a good texture. The meat surrounding the ribs is good, but unless you are a practised butcher, it is a fiddly and lengthy process to carefully remove the bone and any sinew or grizzle. If you buy ready minced pork, it is important to ensure that it has a good fat content and not contain soya or crumb. Buying ready mince certainly cuts down the time element!
  2. We use natural hog casings for the skins, but man-made ones are also available. Soak the skins for about 24 hours.
  3. Place the meat in a mixing bowl and add the ingredients. Combine together thoroughly.
  4. Load the meat mixture into the cylinder of your sausage maker.
  5. Thread the skins onto the nozzle. Weschenfelder sell skins that are pre-spooled and easier to use.
  6. By turning the handle slowly the meat flows evenly into the skins. Sometimes, it is easier to have one person turning the handle while the other uses both hands to guide the flow of the skin and ensure the meat fills evenly.
  7. Once you have a long ‘snake’ of skins evenly filled with meat, twist the first sausage a couple of times at about 12cm lengths. Tying them in the traditional butcher’s style, is a practised art and I suggest referring to the internet to fine tune this skill. We cheat! Just twist the sausages alternatively clock and anti-clockwise.
  8. It’s also better to leave the sausages in the fridge for a few hours before cooking, as it helps to dry the skins.
  9. I bake my sausages in the oven at 180 degrees centigrade or 350 degrees fahrenheit for 30 minutes, turning once. Prick the skins first.

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