This is the first post for my brand new blog. I’ve always been a man who likes good eating and recently, in a moment of drunken enthusiasm, I bought a mincer and some sausage casings and took the first steps down the road to porcine enlightenment.
I’ve been messing around with making sausages and have come up with some pretty good recipes. (I’ll cover jerk pork sausages in a future post!) so I thought it was about time to put fingers to keyboard and document some of them.
I wanted to have a go at making Toulouse sausages as they’ve always been a favourite of mine. However, it seems that my definition of Toulouse sausages is different to the rest of the world’s.
Toulouse sausages to me usually contain red wine, thyme, garlic, and bacon (something like this) but I couldn’t find a recipe for this ANYWHERE! I even asked here but it seems that the rest of the world understands Toulouse as garlic, nutmeg and sugar (something like this) which is great but not what I was looking for on this occasion.
In the end, I decided to work on instinct for these and so whilst they may not be strictly authentic they are what I think of as a ‘Toulouse’ sausage and, more importantly, they’re bloody good!
Jon’s ‘Toulouse’ Sausages. – 1st attempt
600g pork shoulder, chopped
100g pork back fat
100g smoked bacon (I used chopped back bacon as I couldn’t find any British lardons)
½ head garlic (about six cloves)
125ml red wine
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp thyme
2 tsps table salt
First things first. Get preparing your hog casings. I used about five feet for this lot which seemed about right. If you’re using casings packed in salt then soak them in water for a couple of hours.
Next get your pork shoulder and back fat and cut it into cubes small enough to fit through your mixer. It’ll mince more easily if its really cold so stick it in the freezer for a bit.
Whilst that’s chilling you can finely chop your garlic and bacon and measure out the rest of your ingredients. (grate nutmeg, grind pepper, de-stalk thyme etc – try and use fresh if you can. It’ll taste better!)
Set up your mincer and make sure its got a coarse grinding plate fitted (I used 8mm; I might try 10mm next time). Slowly feed your chilled meat and back fat through. If the meat is too warm it’ll be hard to mince and end up like paste.
Once you’ve minced your meat and fat combine it in a large mixing bowl with bacon, garlic and all the other dry ingredients and mix well, slowly adding the red wine.
You can do this with a food processor but for small batches I prefer the hands on approach. Getting your hands in allows you to really feel when the mixture is ready; after a few minutes mixing the fats should start to break down and really allow the meat to stick together – similar to kneading bread.
At this point you should probably fry a little bit of your mixture and check that it’s seasoned to your liking. You might want to add a bit more salt, thyme, or garlic etc. It’s worth noting that the flavours will develop when you let the finished sausages rest.
If there’s any wine left over you should probably pour yourself a glass. You’re on the home straight and you deserve it.
Return your meat mixture to the fridge and turn your attention to the hog casings. Drain them. By now they should be pretty free of salt but it’s sensible to flush them and make sure. Find one end and pour in some water; moving the casing will allow the water to flow right through easily.
Now thread your casings onto a medium sized stuffing tube. Feel free to make juvenile jokes when you’re doing it and suffice to say, it’s an action that a lot of people will be familiar with…
Fit your tube onto your mincer/stuffer and slowly start feeding your meat mixture through. When your mixture is at the end tie a knot in your casings and slowly start feeding your mixture into the casing. Doing it this way means that you don’t end up with loads of air in your casing. If you do get some air in there, don’t worry. Just prick the casing gently with a pin.
Keep slowly feeding the meat into the casing, ensuring that you have an even distribution of meat throughout the sausage. Keeping one hand on the casing will help with that. Previously I’ve been linking the casings into individual sausages as they’ve come out the stuffer but for this one I decided to make one long sausage and link them later hopefully making the sausages a more uniform size.
Keep feeding the sausages into a coil until you have fed all the meat through and a coil of sausage in front of you. You can run a bit of stale bread through the mincer to push the last of the pork out. Remove and tie off the other end of the casing, leaving you with one long Toulouse style sausage. You can either leave this as is or make it into links.
This was my first attempt at linking a long sausage but it seems the sensible way to do it as it allows you to make very evenly sized bangers. Grab the sausage and gently squeeze it where you want your first sausage to be, pushing the meat back into the sausages. Give the sausages four or five twists in one direction to make two links. Repeat along the sausage, alternating direction of your twists to make a string of sausages. Be careful not to burst the skins when you’re doing this. If you do (I did!) simply twist the link again and carry on past the split.
Once you’re done you should be left with a delicious pile of homemade quality ‘Toulouse’ style sausages. Leave them covered in the fridge for 24 hours to let the flavours relax and enjoy.
I certainly did!