Semi Cured Chorizo

Chorizo Ingredients

Proper chorizo is one of my very favourite things in life. Cured and served cold or hot and freshly cooked, its robust paprika flavour and heavenly brick red fat are truly one of the best things you can eat. In fact,  I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to have a go at making my own. I think part of the problem is that chorizo has become ubiquitous. You can get a decent Spanish cured chorizo in a lot of corner shops round my way, particularly at Borough Market or the Portuguese deli in Vauxhall

What are less easy to find are the semi-cured cooking chorizo that impart such a delicious flavour to soups, stews and rice dishes. True, you can get them at Brindisa but they’re very easy and great fun to make at home and are considerably cheaper than bought ones.

Making this recipe also gave me a good excuse for me to show off my shiny new electric mincer. After many months of hand cranking my meat (I try to avoid bad sausage puns but sometimes I just can’t help myself) I was very kindly bought a basic electric mincer as a Christmas gift. The mincer works very well, although I’m still finding my way around it and am yet to master the art of using it for sausage stuffing. On the whole though, the new machine is super quick at mincing and best of all, it’s whisper quiet.*. Great value for saving time and effort.

The recipe follows. It make a very fine sausage but its one that I will inevitably come back to and tweak, fiddle and play with in my quest for a perfect chorizo. I’ll post any updates I do as and when in this post.


Jon’s Semi-Cured Chorizo
800g pork shoulder
150g pork belly
75g breadcrumbs
22g salt
2g Prague powder #1
10g smoked paprika
10g sweet paprika
7g garlic powder
2g oregano
1g ground chipotle
50ml white wine
Hog casings, about 6 feet

First soak your casings in clean cold water for a couple of hours to remove the salt in which they’re packed.

Cube the pork shoulder and belly into chunks small enough to feed through your mincer. Place in the freezer to chill for 30 minutes or so. In the meantime, weigh out all of your spices and mix thoroughly. When you’re ready to mince your pork, assemble your mincer and fit it with a coarse mincing plate. Remove your meat from the freezer and slowly feed it through the mincer until you have a big pile of minced meat in front of you. Transfer it to a large mixing bowl.

Mincing meat with my shiny new mincer

Using your hands or a spoon, slowly fold in your spices and breadcrumbs, adding enough white wine to bind. Make sure everything is thoroughly combined.This is especially important when you’re using Prague powder as you don’t want to end up with all of your sodium nitrite in one place. There’s a lot of discussion on the internet about whether cured food is bad for you but suffice to say, a big build up of sodium nitrite in one go will do you no good at all.

Thoroughly mixed chorizo sausagemeat

At this stage, you can decide whether to stuff your chorizo into skins. Loose, the meat is great with scrambled eggs or thrown into a tomato sauce to give it a smoky depth of flavour. If you decide not to stuff the mixture pack it firmly into a tupperware box with a lid. Cover and refrigerate for about a week, draining off any liquid that leaks out every couple of days.

Otherwise, remove your casings from their soaking water and rinse thoroughly inside and out to remove any excess salt. Slide the skins over your stuffing tube and proceed to stuff your sausages in the usual way. I have to confess that I haven’t quite got the hang of my new elecric mincer/stuffer so my sausage filling wasn’t as even as I’d like. However, practice makes perfect and I daresay, I’ll have properly stuffed bangers before too long…

Wrestling with an unruly sausage stuffer

When you have fed all of your sausagemeat through your mincer, remove the unlinked sausage from your stuffing tube and tie off. Link your sausages in the usual way and place in a rack in the fridge to dry for 7-10 days. By this time the chorizos will have darkened, lost some of their weight and will feel firmer to the touch. They’ll still need cooking before you eat them. They are brilliant fried gently then cooked with rice and peppers or just in a crusty roll with some peppery salad and aioli.

Chorizo cooked with rice, leeks and peppers. Served with green beans and a tomato vinegar sauce.

Next time I make this, I’ll definitely up the chilli quota but then they’ll be a different sausages. These are pretty mild sausages compared to a lot of other chorizos but that does allow the flavour of the paprika and oregano (always use good quality oregano otherwise you won’t taste it at all) to shine through beautifully.

Finished Chorizo

*It seems the evil empire have blocked that video. For those that don’t know its a fine Simpsons infomercial for the Juice Loostener.


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.

Breakfast Chipolatas

Social media is a very good thing. The ability to communicate with people you’d never otherwise get to speak to through blogs, Twitter, Facebook etc. is great. It’s also great to be exposed to a wide variety of different of different opinions. Aoafoodie reminded me of this when he expressed his passionate dislike of chipolatas via Twitter. Much as I disagree, I’m very grateful as it gave me the impetus and the excuse to make some!

Ingredients for breakfast chipolatas

I’ve been wanting to try a recipe using sheep casings for a while now. These are the  thinner and more delicate brothers to regular hog casings and make a sausage that, when cooked, gives you a greater proportion of unctuous, gooey outer to meaty inner than regular bangers. Precisely the reason I love them.

I wanted to make a fairly unadorned sausage that wouldn’t be too challenging for breakfast time. Highly spiced sausages are great but they can be a bit much first thing in the morning. My breakfast chipolatas have a bit of sage and thyme for herbiness and a few good twists of black pepper for a gentle kick. The recipe is below.

Sage, Mace Pepper, Thyme, Salt,

Jon’s Breakfast Chipolatas
600g pork shoulder
120g belly pork
100g breadcrumbs
1 onion, grated or finely chopped.
12g salt
5g celery salt
7g black pepper
1.5g sage
1.5g thyme
1.5g mace
Water, to bind.
Sheep casings – about 12 feet.

First, soak your casings in exactly the same way as you would with hog casings. A couple of hours in clean fresh water will remove most of the salt.

Next, de-rind and chop the pork shoulder and belly into cubes large enough to fit through the mincer, and put them in the freezer for 20 minutes or so to chill. You don’t want it completely frozen but the firmer it is, the easier it will mince.

While this is chilling, weigh and combine the salt, pepper and spices and set aside. Remove your meat and fat from the freezer, and fit the mincer with a medium grinding plate. Slowly feed the chilled pork and fat through until it’s all thoroughly minced. You want a slightly finer mince than I would normally use for sausages as this will make it easier to stuff the delicate casings.

Transfer the mince to a clean surface or large mixing bowl and add your onion, breadcrumbs, and spice mix and mix by hand until combined thoroughly, adding water as necessary to form a smooth mixture. It’s important to blend the spices thoroughly because you don’t want to end up playing Russian roulette with a load of bland sausages and one really peppery one.

Breadcrumbs, Pork, Onion

Fry off a little bit of your mixture to taste for seasoning. Add more spices as necessary and set aside in the fridge or freezer to rest for 20 minutes or so.

Remove the sheep casings from their soaking water and rinse them thoroughly inside and out. Next take your smallest stuffing tube and grease it lightly before carefully sliding the casing on. Sheep casings are the avantis of the sausage skin world, so you need to treat them with care. Attach the stuffing tube to your mincer or stuffer and slowly feed the meat mixture through until it reaches the end of the tube. Take the skin and tie the end off, pricking with a sterile pin if necessary to let any excess air escape.

Slowly feed the meat mixer through the mincer until you have used all of your meat and have a long coil of sausage in front of you. It’s particularly important not to overfill the casings as you don’t want them to split. If you do tear them (I did) don’t worry, just set aside and keep going.

Wrestling with a long sausage...

Remove the leftover casings from the tube and very carefully twist into links of 6″ or so alternating between twisting clockwise and anticlockwise to ensure the sausages don’t become unravelled. Tie off the other end of your casings and your sausages are done. It makes sense to leave them for 24 hours to let the flavours develop if you can wait that long but if you have to eat them immediately, I understand.

Four fat sausages sizzling in a pan.

These chipolatas are another classic British style sausage that are great at breakfast time, in a sandwich or as a winter’s dinner served with buttered swede, kale. and onion gravy.

Black Pudding

Finished black pudding. Ready for frying.

It all started so well.

I was idly browsing the internet, looking for new ingredients to try out. How then did it end at 2am on a Wednesday morning standing covered in blood, in a kitchen that looked like something out of CSI?

I’ve always really liked black pudding. I can appreciate that it’s not to everyone’s taste but for me, the combination of blood, fat and cereals is a heavenly one. I’d never really thought about making my own though. Never that is, until a combination of finding dried blood for sale and a friend lending me the River Cottage Cook Book led me down a dangerous path.

One fateful Tuesday evening, I thought, “Oh I don’t have much on tonight. I’ll make some black pudding. How hard can it be…” Skip forward 6 hours to me standing in my kitchen, tired, grumpy and looking like an extra from an early Peter Jackson film. Should you wish to join me on this particular (mis)adventure with the pig, the recipe follows.


Jon’s British style Black Pudding
150g dried pigs blood
1 ltr water
25g salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
250g oatmeal soaked overnight
250g pearl barley, boiled until tender
500g pork back fat, derinded and cubed
500g onions, finely chopped
250 ml double cream
1g mace
1g ground coriander
1g cayenne pepper.
Hog casings – more than you think…. (maybe about 15 feet)

First soak your casings in the usual way.

Pork fat and onions. Cooking gently.

Next, take a handful of your back fat (perhaps 100g) and gently heat until it starts to render liquid. When a tablespoon or so of fat has run, add the onions and the rest of the back fat and cook over a low heat until the onions are soft and the fat has started to become translucent. You might want to cover the pan to encourage cooking.

In the meantime, slowly combine your dried pigs blood with the water to hydrate it.  You might need to beat it together for a while to ensure that you remove any lumps.

Keep stirring, adding your salt, pepper and spices until your blood mix is thoroughly combined.

Blood and spice. The kitchen is still clean at this point.

Take your soaked casings and cut into lengths depending on how long you want your puddings. I cut mine into pieces about 45 cm long which made roughly 30cm puddings. Tie your skins at one end, making sure the knot is secure. You don’t want them coming undone when you’re trying to fill them.

Take your oatmeal and cream and add it to the fat and onions before continuing to cook over a low heat for a minute or two.

Up until now it’s been a fairly clean task. This is where it starts to get messy…

Adding blood to the cream, fat, and oatmeal. Still fairly clean....

Take your pan off the heat and slowly pour in your seasoned blood, continuing to stir until it’s all combined. Add your oatmeal, stirring continuously to stop the fat and cereals sinking to the bottom. Put an apron on. You will spill some.

Set a large pan of water over a gentle heat and keep it at a gentle simmer.

Take your sausage casings and slide them over your medium sausage stuffing tube or a funnel. Now using a ladle, slowly start to fill your casings until you have a thick sausage. You will want something like a chopstick or skewer to push through any bits of fat or cereal that get stuck.

Poking fat through a funnel

Slide your skin off the funnel when you’re about 5-7cm off the open end of the skin and tie securely. This is quite tricky as your hands, your casings, and most of your kitchen are liable to be covered with blood at this stage. I can see why commercial producers use metal ties to seal them.

Filling puddings. Not having fun any more...

Repeat this until you have filled all your casings. The puddings will still be quite liquid at this stage. Lower the puddings into your pan of barely simmering water and cook for 20 minutes or so making sure the water doesn’t boil too fiercely. If your puddings swell up, prick them with a pin to ensure they don’t explode. No one wants to be showered with exploding pudding.

The horror. The horror.

After 20 minutes, remove your puddings from the simmering and drop them in a bowl of iced water for a couple of minutes. your puddings are now ready to eat or slice and fry.

Fried black pudding, rye bread, cornichons. Good times.

You can serve these as a quick supper with bread, salad, and fried apple slices or as part of a classic hangover cure fry up.  They are also good used to stuff a pork loin or mashed with potatoes as an accompaniment to sausages.

Next time I do them, (if the girlfriend will allow me back in the kitchen!) I think I will add more oatmeal to make them firmer. I’ll also try using larger artificial casings to make wider, more traditional puddings.

Only make as many as you will eat in a few days or slice and freeze them. The smell of gone off black pudding is the smell of undiluted evil as I discovered to my cost on my return from a weekend away.

Carnival Time: Jerk Pork Bangers

Scotch Bonnet, Coriander, Pork

Sitting here on a cold and bleak November day there is nothing I would like more than to be back at Notting Hill Carnival, dancing to soca, drinking warm Red Stripe, and eating jerk chicken from a polystyrene tray. While I can’t control the weather, I can turn the heating up, put on a bootleg CD from the market, pour some rum and make some jerk pork bangers.

This is a recipe I’ve been meaning to write up for a really long time as it’s one of the first I made since starting this blog. Its really simple, really tasty, and looks really impressive. You can make your own jerk seasoning if you want, but I think the premixed ones you can buy are really good.

This recipe doesn’t use much salt as jerk seasoning tends to have plenty of salt in it already. If you want to make your own, you might want to put another spoonful of salt in. The recipe follows.


Jon’s Jerk Pork Bangers
600g Pork shoulder
120g Back fat
100g Breadcrumbs
20g Jerk seasoning powder (I used Rajah. Tropical Sun is also good)
12g Salt
6g Garlic powder
1/2 Scotch bonnet chilli (deseeded). More if you’re feeling adventurous.
1 Bunch fresh coriander (75-100g)
Water to bind, about 100ml
Hog casings – about 6 feet.

First, set aside your hog casings in clean cold water to soak for a couple of hours to remove excess salt. Next de-rind and cube your pork and back fat and place in the freezer to chill right down. This helps it go through the mincer more easily and means you don’t end up with meat paste all over the shop.

Take your coriander and chilli and finely chop. You can do this by hand but a blender or food processor makes the job a lot faster.

Coriander and Chilli, Blitzed

Next measure out your spices. This recipe doesn’t call for a lot of extra salt as there is already plenty contained in the jerk seasoning. If you don’t happen to have scales for weighing spices then a rough estimate for this recipe is  2 1/2 tbsp jerk powder, and 1 1/2 tsp of both salt and garlic powder.

By the time you’ve prepared your seasonings, your pork should be thoroughly chilled and ready for mincing. Fit your mincer with a coarse plate (number 8 ) and slowly feed your pork shoulder and back fat through until it’s all thoroughly minced.

Herbs, Spices, Meat

Next take your herbs, spices, breadcrumbs and pork mince and combine together in a large bowl, mixing thoroughly until all of the flavours are blended. You may want to add some water to help things stick. I chose to wear gloves for this bit. No one likes scotch bonnet in the eye…or worse….

Mixing by hand.

When your sausagemeat is thoroughly combined, fry a small piece and check for seasoning. You may want to add a touch more jerk seasoning. Remember that the chilli heat will get stronger when you leave the sausages to rest. You can also serve them with jerk sauce if you want more heat.

Fit your medium stuffing tube to your mincer and slowly stuff the mixture into your soaked hog casings until you’ve fed all of the mixture through. Twist the sausages into links and leave to rest in the fridge for 24 hours to let the flavours combine before cooking or freezing.

Finished sausages, resting on a rack.

These sausages have a really lovely heat to them, which combined wih the freshness of the coriander and the depth of flavour of the jerk spices makes a sausage that is perfect for bringing carnival vibes to the bleak midwinter. Serve it with rice and peas and jerk sauce for authenticity or just stuff it in a roll with some ketchup for a breakfast pick me up.

Jerk Pork Banger, Potato Wedges, Pomegranate and sweetcorn salsa.

Sausage Rolls

Linconshire Sausage Roll. Ketchup optional.

I really enjoy writing about meat, and I think that people enjoy reading it, but I have to come clean on something. It’s not just me! Behind the camera, and on proofreading duty for every previous blog post has been my partner Liz. As well as being a great editor, she’s also a very fine baker and pastry chef and it was lovely to collaborate on a recipe (and good for me to take some photos – you don’t want to look at my hairy face week in, week out!) Given that the last post I wrote was about Lincolnshire sausages, and I made double quantities of sausage meat, wrapping the excess meat in pastry and baking it seemed like a very sensible idea.

Below follows our sausage roll recipe. I think Lincolnshire is the king of fillings, especially when partnered with some home smoked cheese but you could make this with any type of sausage filling. If you do, leave a comment and let me know what styles you come up with.

Jon and Liz’s Lincolnshire sausage roll
250g/1 pack unsalted butter.
400g flour
A good pinch of salt
Chilled water.
Beaten egg for glazing

One portion sausagemeat. I used Lincolnshire from the recipe below. I suppose you could buy it if you’re feeling lazy

Smoked Cheese – Grated

Firstly, freeze your stick of butter for an hour or two until it’s rock solid.

Sieving flour

Shake it through a nylon mesh sifter.

When you are ready to make your pastry, sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl, and grate the frozen butter into your flour, being sure to keep everything (including yourself) as chilled as possible. When all the butter is grated, take a palette knife and use it to combine the ingredients. Add cold water a tablespoon at a time and keep mixing until everything is well combined and you have a smooth pastry that doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl. It’s important to keep this cool. You want to keep the flakes of butter as cold as possible to ensure that the pastry flakes nicely when cooked. You can use your hands to finish combining the ingredients if you need to.
Set aside your pastry to chill whilst you get on with preparing the filling.

Take your sausagemeat and form it into long sausages. You can do this with your hands, using the cling film method as per white pudding, or by feeding it through the sausage stuffer using the widest tube.

When you have prepared all of your sausages, take your pastry out of the fridge and roll it out on a lightly floured surface. You want to roll the pastry into a rectangle the same length as your filling and wide enough to fold over comfortably.

Smoothing out the pastry ready for filling.

At this stage we brushed the pastry with a little Dijon mustard down one edge but this is optional.

Lay the filling down one edge of the pastry, leaving about a centimetre between the edge of the pastry and the meat.

Take your pastry and fold it snugly over the filling and press down. Trim off any excess pastry and crimp the edge with the back of a fork.

Crimping a massive sausage roll

Brush the pastry with a little beaten egg and divide into individual sausage rolls of about three to four inches. You can now either bake them for 20 minutes at 190°C or freeze them and bake from frozen whenever you fancy one – about 30 mins should do it.

Freezing the finished sausages individually.

As a variation, we put a sprinkling of home smoked cheddar down one side of half the sausages before crimping them along the top. These were really tasty and definitely recommended as a variation. You could also try some pickle or stuffing in there. Experiment until you find a version you love.

Sausage Rolls. Fresh from the oven.

Lincolnshire Sausages

Pork Shoulder, Belly Pork, Salt, Herbs

Raw ingredients for Lincolnshire Sausages. Meat in front, spices behind.

Ok, back to sausages.

Recently my partner in music Sam Atki2 came up to London for the weekend, lured by the promise of making some tunes. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your point of view) most of our weekend was spent in the production of bangers of a different kind. Under the influence of Batemans finest, Sam and I worked out a recipe for a coarse Lincolnshire style sausage using pork belly rather than the more usual back fat and lots of white pepper to give it a little kick. You can see some of the photos over on the adventures with the pig facebook page.

I’ve since gone back and tweaked the recipe and I’m pleased to report that it tastes amazing. Meaty, peppery, and like an authentic Lincolnshire sausage.

The recipe is below.

Lincolnshire sausages
600g pork shoulder
100g pork belly
150g breadcrumbs
16g salt
6g white pepper
2g ground coriander
1 1/2g sage
1 1/2g nutmeg
1g cornflour
water to bind. About 125 ml

Hog casings about 5/6 feet.

Firstly set your casings aside to soak for a couple of hours to remove excess salt.

Pork Shoulder, ham knife, Skinning

Using a jamon knife to skin pork shoulder

While these are soaking, skin your pork belly and shoulder and cut into pieces small enough to fit through the mincer.I find using a Spanish ham knife best to skin the meat, as I can run it under the skin very close to the rind whilst leaving the precious, lubricating fat in place. If you don’t have one, a filleting knife or similar thin-bladed, flexible knife would work well too.

Set aside your cubed meat and place in the freezer. Partly freezing the meat makes it much easier to feed through the mincer. Whilst the meat is chilling, weigh and combine all the other ingredients apart from the breadcrumbs.

Coarse minced pork

Next set up your mixer, fitting it with a coarse plate. You want the meat to remain fairly chunky to give the sausages some bite. Remove the meat from the freezer and feed through the mincer until you have a pile of coarse minced belly and shoulder in front of you. Transfer to a large mixing bowl or clean surface and combine with your breadcrumbs and seasonings. Mix well, adding water to help bind the ingredients together.

Combining the filling

You might want to fry a little bit of the sausage meat to check your seasoning at this point.

Fit your medium stuffing tube to your mincer (unless you have a dedicated stuffer in which case use that) and slowly stuff the mixture into your soaked hog casings until you’ve filled all of them. Twist the sausages into links and leave to rest for 24 hours before cooking or freezing. I left mine on a rack in the fridge to let any excess moisture drain off.

Finished sausages left to rest on a rack.

Grilled or fried and served with mash and a blob of mustard these sausages are some of my very favourites.

If you really can’t be bothered to make them then the Lincolnshire sausages produced by the Boston Sausage folk are also pretty damn fine.

I made double quantities of this recipe. The other half of the sausage meat will be making a star appearance in the next blog post.