Festive Chestnut, Sage and Leek Sausages.

So, the Christmas madness is over and I have returned to London content, well fed, and with some porky presents under my arm, including a copy of the Ginger Pig Meat Book, a piggy mug and a shiny new electric mincer.

Sage, Pork shoulder, chestnuts

Much as I love playing with pork, I was incredibly busy in December and ran out of time to make any pig products for the Christmas table. However, a few festive glasses of prosecco, combined with an unexpectedly early office closing time gave me the inspiration and time I needed to create a quick festive banger recipe. After a bit of thought and festive cheer, I came up with the following sausage: fit, in my opinion, to grace anyone’s Christmas dinner table.

Jon’s Christmas Sausages
800g pork shoulder
150g back fat
150g breadcrumbs
350g leeks
200g pre-cooked chestnuts (the ones that come vacuum packed)
18g salt
6g white pepper
2g mace
1/2g cloves
3g fresh sage ( about 3 sprigs)
125 ml water to bind
Butter, for frying.
Hog casings (about six feet)

Soak your casings in clean cold water and set aside.

Next, derind and cube the pork shoulder and back fat into mincer sized cubes before putting in the freezer for 20 minutes or so to chill.

Finely chop the leeks by hand or in a food processor. Melt a little bit of butter in a lidded frying pan, then add the leeks, cover and cook gently for 20 minutes or until they are completely soft. Don’t worry if the leeks caramelise slightly, this will help bring out their sweetness. When the leeks are completely softened, set aside and leave to cool.

Leeks cooking slowly in butter. Sweet and delicious.

If you’re making this recipe in an (ahem) ‘festive’ manner as I did, now might be a good time to pour yourself a drink. I found that Crouch Vale Brewers Gold really helped to get me into the Christmas spirit.

Chestnuts and sage in the food processor.

Finely chop the sage (again a food processor will make things quicker here) and then coarsely chop the whole prepared chestnuts. You can use fresh chestnuts if you like but i don’t really think its worth the hassle.

Set up your mincer with a coarse plate. Next, remove the meat and fat from the freezer and slowly grind it, alternating between cubes of lean meat and fat as far as possible to ensure that the meat is evenly mixed.

Minced pork. Manual mincer.

Transfer the meat to a chopping board or large mixing bowl and combine thoroughly with the leeks, breadcrumbs, chestnuts, and seasoning. Basically, everything except the hog casings. Mix thoroughly until it’s well combined. You can use some cold water here to help things bind.

Ingredients waiting to be combined.

Fry off a small piece of sausage meat and taste to check for seasoning. Adjust as neccessary until you have a sausage you can be proud of. Remember that the flavours will develop when you rest them so don’t worry if the seasoning aren’t too upfront at this stage.

At this stage you can take the meat and use it as stuffing either alongside or stuffed into the neck cavity of a roast turkey,chicken or other bird you fancy for for a feast dinner.

When you’re happy with the flavour of the sausagemeat, set aside to chill in the fridge then rinse your sausage casings inside and out to remove any excess salt.

Fit your mincer with a medium stuffing tube and thread on the casings. Remove the sausage meat from the fridge and stuff the sausage casings until you’ve used all of your meat and have a long and slightly imposing coil of sausage in front of you. Link off the sausages evenly and set aside, uncovered, on a rack in the frige for 24 hours to allow the flavours to develop and to allow any excess moisture to escape.

My batch were served as part of an an enormous Christmas dinner alongside a beautiful free range turkey from a family friend’s farm in Yorkshire as well as all the trimmings. The sausages were in good company as we also had some from the mighty Johnny Pustzai as well as pigs in blankets from Crossroads Farm. Thankfully, mine more than stood up to the other contenders with a rich, decadent savouriness and a great texture. One to make for a feast.

Mixed christmas sausages. Mine at the back, Crossroads farm in the middle, Johnny Pustzai's at the front.

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