Posted on December 20, 2016
The great British banger often plays an integral part of traditional fayre, whether they are wrapped in bacon and served with the roast, skinned and mixed into sage and onion stuffing, or enjoyed as part of a lazy breakfast fry-up.
While there are dozens of regional varieties of sausage in this country alone, all of which try to stake a claim as the best, there are a few international sausages which are essential eating for any serious foodie. Here’s our pick of the best...
Chorizo is a spicy sausage enjoyed across Spain, Portugal and Latin America which has undergone a boom in popularity in the UK in recent years. Made from coarsely chopped pork and pork fat and seasoned with pimentón (smoked paprika ) and salt, it is generally classed as either picante (spicy) or dulce (sweet), depending upon the type of pimentón used. Perfect on its own as a tapas dish, a liberal addition of chopped chorizo can also add a whole new dimension to pasta sauce or casseroles.
Blood sausage is a traditional medieval Scandinavian dish, similar to our own black pudding, which is generally made from pig's blood, milk, rye or barley flour, diced lard, treacle, onion, herbs and spices, which are poured into traditional sausage skins and then cooked in a waterbath. It is usually sliced and fried before serving and pairs ideally with seafood, particularly prawns or scallops, smoked bacon and fruity chutney or jam.
Saucisse de Toulouse is a traditional French sausage named after its town of origin. It is made simply from pork (75% lean, 15% belly), pepper and lots of salt. Usually sold in a coil, rather than as individual links, it is the main ingredient of most Cassoulet recipes. Despite originating from Tolouse, it does not have a protected status, so variations on the original recipe can be sold under the same name.
Bockwurst is a German sausage which was first mentioned in 1827, in Bavaria, although an alternative account claims that it was actually invented in 1889 by a restaurateur from Berlin. It is one of the most popular varieties of German sausage and can often be found in the UK. The sausage is traditionally made from ground veal and pork , seasoned with salt, white pepper and paprika, before being smoked and served – hence its name – with Bock beer, a dark, malty, ale first brewed in the 14th century by German brewers.
White Pudding is a popular Irish dish which is similar to black pudding, but does not contain any blood. Instead, it comprises pork meat and fat, suet, bread and oatmeal, formed into a large sausage. Hog's pudding, made in Somerset, Cornwall and Devon, is a regional variation, although much spicier as it contains black pepper, cumin, basil and garlic. White pudding may be cooked whole or cut into slices and fried or grilled. It is an important feature of the traditional Irish breakfast, which is similar to our own morning fry-up.
Kabanos is a long, thin, dry, smoky Polish pork sausage. Typically, they measure up to 60cm in length, and are folded in two, which gives them a characteristic appearance. There are two main types of kabanos – the softer variety, which are smoked for just taste, and the harder variety, which are smoked for much longer to give them an extended shelf-life.
Cumberland sausage is one of the UK’s most famous types of sausage, which was granted Protected Geographical Indication status in 2011. They are traditionally made long and sold rolled in a flat coil. They are made from pork and a mix of seasonings, but the predominant flavour is pepper. Traditionally, they contain no colourings or preservatives and their distinctive feature is that the meat is chopped, not minced, giving the sausage a chunky, meaty texture.
As our master butcher, Chris Moorby, shows in the video below, it’s easy to make your own delicious handmade sausages with just a few simple ingredients: