You may or may not be aware…..
but this is National Sausage Week. Now this fine food is all-too-oft dismissed as ‘humble’; but I prefer to use the word ‘versatile’. In terms of your standard porky product, it’s a highly efficient use of all those parts of the pig that might otherwise be discarded; & is suitable for many delicious dishes, from party food (sausage rolls, cocktail sausages etc); to hotpots, casseroles & cassoulets in winter; barbeques in summer; & of course on the festive table in terms of both the meat being mingled with herbs, spices & breadcrumbs & moulded into stuffing, & plump little ‘pigs in blankets’ – tasty, tiny sausages wrapped in sweet-cured, smoky bacon & often stuffed with dates or apricots for added lip-smacking luxury.
And look at the infinite variety….other than the standard ‘banger’ (which itself can be flavoured with many things, in many ways) there’s bratwurst; black pudding; chorizo; haggis; salami; made of any meat you can imagine – pork or beef; lamb or mutton or goat; chicken, turkey or ostrich; venison or boar; & of course the wonderful Glamorgan Sausage – vegetarian perfection on a plate, made with Caerphilly cheese, chopped spring onions, herbs & breadcrumbs….meltingly delicious.
And to accompany any of the above delights, there’s good old Bubble & Squeak (patties of fried potato & veg, the ultimate ‘leftovers’ meal); braised red cabbage swirled with warm apple sauce; spicy Italian lentils; zesty apple & tomato chutney; the oozing, unctuous darkness of a rich onion gravy; or the crispy bite of golden rösti potatoes.
We still have a few hallowed packs of the sausages from our own Saddleback pigs, stashed away for the coldest & wettest days when only the ultimate comfort food will do. Packed purely with dark & flavoursome meat, some of these tasty treats are seasoned with herbs & peppered with leeks; & this evening will be the centrepiece for a hearty feast, accompanied by a creamy Colcannon (a wonderful, traditional Irish dish of mashed potato made with leeks, cabbage, butter & black pepper), sweet little steamed peas & a homemade red onion relish – simply delicious.
And to round off such a tasty treat…..? Well, what could be better after tucking into a hearty meal, than tucking up with a good book – replacing every word in the text which begins with ‘s’, with the word ‘sausage’; a technique I oft used when revising something interminably boring at exam time. Believe me, it spices up the most boring tome – much the way as a tasty little ‘s’ word, spices up the dullest of dishes.
So raise your glasses to the deliciously versatile sausage, in all its’ infinite variety…..& please, don’t think of it as “humble” any more – it’s anything but.