Monday, 17 November 2008

The sausage factory

If you’ve been counting the moons, you’ll know that our three formerly little pigs will soon be big enough to be become a selection of hams, roasting joints, salami, chorizo, bacon and anything else that takes our fancy.

Of course, we’ll be doing as much as we can ourselves, with only Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s “The River Cottage Cookbook” and “The River Cottage Family Cookbook”, and John Seymour’s “The New Complete Book of Self Sufficiency” for company.

Unless you count a bottomless glass of wine.

Or two.

(More if necessary.)

It’s a bit intimidating. Three pigs is a lot of meat. It’s got to last us as much of next year as possible without spoiling. And before the Wednesday before Hallowe’en, neither me nor Her Outdoors had ever even made so much as a sausage.

If you want to repeat our experience (and I wouldn’t recommend it, as you'll see in a moment), this is what you do:

Buy a hand-cranked sausage-making machine from your nearest sausage-making machine retailer (passing on the motorised one which, at 200 euros, is four times more expensive and many more times likely to break).

Spend a long time washing what looks like engine grease off it, fix it to some wood and clamp it to a large farmhouse table (or similar) in your kitchen (or equivalent), thusly:

Mince 1kg (2.2lb) of boned shoulder and the same of pork belly freshly bought from your favourite butcher (who even sells you the sausage skins and laughs reassuringly when you tell him what you’re doing for the first time), using the attachment with the big holes:

Then mince again with the smaller-holed attachment.

Mix with breadcrumbs and herbs, à la recette (recipe):

Fry a quick pattie to taste (and find it’s bluddie delicious):

Put it back through the mincer, with the sausage attachment on now and the sausage skin carefully shimmied on (feeling a bit tired now – beginning to wonder if the one with the motor may have been a better idea) to create One Willy Wonka of a Stonker.

Spend a few minutes twisting The Enormous Sausage this way and that...

until your plate runneth over:

Relish the delight, awe and advanced orders heaped upon you by guests at your Halloe’en party.

Then meet an English butcher. During your conversation, realise that you can mix your diced pork with your breadcrumbs, herbs etc, BEFORE YOU PUT IT THROUGH THE MINCER THE FIRST TIME. Which means you can attach the sausage teat right at the start and do it All In One Go.

Seems obvious. But so does using a Gripple.


dND said...

The sausages look really good - well done on your first attempt and hats off to you doing it by hand; I bought an electric mincer but just for mincing meat and not with sausage making in mind.

How are you getting your pigs slaughtered and butchered? I'm pondering fattening some lambs next year and was wondering how easy it is to get them killed and prepared.

One tip if you try HFW's dry cure bacon, err on the low side of days, I cured for 9 days and it was really salty. That said it lasts for ages in the fridge. I haven't got a meat safe so didn't fancy leaving it out the back but I guess it would have lasted well out of the fridge too.

devolutionary said...

We've settled on having the pigs slaughtered at the local abattoir, then halved. We'll then hang them in a shed for a few days and borrow the English butcher to help us out.

Thanks for the tip on the dry cure. We will be trying it - and loving the idea that the meat lasts for so long. We're hoping two fridge-freezers will do all three pigs...

Lambs is brave. You must have great fencing. Next year, we're moving into pintade and possibly... a cow.

dND said...

Sounds like you're doing what HFW's Bristol smallholders (latest TV series) have done. I'll have to look into where the local abattoir is here here.

Um, I thought sheep would be easier to fence than pigs :-D I really should come up and visit you if you are open to visitors that is. Would you mind? It's just nice to see how others are doing things and hear other points of view.


Jo said...

You mean these three little pigs?


Jo said...

Oh = that lovely picture of your three little pigs foraging in their woodland home didn't work . . . . sorry!

devolutionary said...


It did work. Those are exactly the pigs I'm talking about...

More on them shortly.

Jo said...

Please don't post a picture of Three Pigs once they have faced their fate and are on your plate. . . .