Thursday, 6 September 2007

The Grim Sausage

WARNING: This post contains words unsuitable for vegetarians. (And most meat eaters.)

On the whole, our French food experiences have been, as they say around here, “super”. Whether we’re trying out a three-courses-for-12-euros menu in a Bergerac Brasserie. Or a dodgy sounding salad in our local favourite restaurant (Gizzards? What the hell are gizzards? Apart from seriously tasty.) Or eating at home, using ingredients from the two weekly markets, butchers or Petit Casinos.

Until last night.

Our nearest butcher – a very nice man – has been excellent. Being a charcuterie, he has an impressive selection of cooked dishes, and all the classic cuts. Including sausages.

We tried the Toulouse the other week, which were delicious. And yesterday, Clare came back with two long, slim chipolatas for the kids, and a couple of real monsters for us.

The chipolatas I did on a griddle on the hob. But the big buggers, I decided, needed the grill in the oven. It’s electric. I’m not a fan. But needs must.

Cooking was long and slow, using the Gary Rhodes non-piercing method picked up from a TV ad years ago, and helped along with an organic wine box from the Thursday market. And I wasn’t particularly surprised when the skin on one of the sausages split. I watched what looked like chunks of apple ooze onto the tray underneath. Or was it garlic? Clare didn’t know what was in them, either.

But it was bound to be good.

After half an hour, and because everything else was ready, I judged the sausages probably cooked and served up. We sat on our camping chairs in an empty lounge (belongings remain in Brighton till the end of the month). Clare sliced into hers, which wasn’t easy, thanks to an unexpected mattress-like quality. She opened it to reveal nothing but the potato-like slices you get in a Cornish Pasty. Pork fat. All of it. Not a gram of meat in the biggest sausage I’ve ever seen on a plate.

It was disgusting. Grim. Chokingly unpleasant. Enough to make you want to reach for a fresh salad.

The meal wasn’t a complete disaster, however. We still had an excellent salami from the Sunday market in the fridge.

Our heaviest dictionary tells us that the sausage, called an Andouille, is “made of chitterlings” and should be “eaten cold”. I think this definition should also add, “or not at all”.


Alphamum said...

I am singing "ner ner nee ner ner" as only a self righteous vegetarian can . . . . .

Simon Hilton said...

Food safety caution
Care must be taken when preparing chitterlings, due to the possibility of disease being spread when they have not been cleaned or cooked properly. These diseases/bacteria include Escherichia coli and Yersinia enterocolitica, as well as Salmonella. Chitterlings must be soaked and rinsed thoroughly in several different cycles of cool water, and repeatedly picked clean by hand, removing extra fat and specks of fecal matter. The chitterlings are then boiled and simmered until tender.
Woo hooo haa haaaaaaaa

Dave said...

well your dictionary is obviously better than the one I had on me when we first encountered "Andouilletes" in a restaurant: it said simply "small andouilles". Being a cautious sort I gave it a miss...