Monday, January 25, 2010

Beer Bangers

If you're like me, then you now have M.I.A.'s Bamboo Banga stuck in your head. Maybe someday I'll make a Bamboo Shoot Banger just for kicks, but today's sausage is all about beer. British Beer in a British Sausage.

Bangers have a bad rap, mostly because in the U.K. they're often made with scary, scary ingredients. But it's a beloved, historical sausage, with roots in the World Wars and meat rationing. Stale bread added bulk to otherwise skimpy sausages. People grew to like it, now most British sausages have "rusk" (flaky bread crumbs) in them.

So this one began with a recipe from Len Poli's excellent site. Substitutions were made and the recipe was as follows:
  • 4 3/4 lbs pork shoulder
  • the last couple ounces of leftover smoked pork fat
  • 1 1/2 Cups British Beer
  • 1 Cup panko breadcrumbs, toasted
  • 5 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp mace (I was fresh out of mace, so I subbed 1/2 tsp nutmeg + 1/2 tsp allspice)
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 10+ feet of hog middle casings
Diced up the shoulder, then froze to partially frozen. Ran through the 3/8" plate on the grinder, then ran through the 3/16" plate. Mixed all the dry ingredients and added to the meat, mixed in the kitchenaid a minute or two, then added the beer.

I used Wells Bombardier, because it's a tasty and sweet British Bitter. Also I'd never tried it before and needed an excuse to drink the other half of the bottle... It is quite good. But any malty, fruity British beer would probably work.

Mix everything for another couple minutes till it's all come together. Then store the mix overnight in the fridge. Why? Beats me, Len says to do it so I did. I think it has to do with the breadcrumbs gaining volume as they soak in moisture. Who knows.

The next day, stuffed them into my natural hog casings. Again, I bought these during a sausage emergency and have no idea how big they are. My guess is they are closer to 28-30mm casings, not the 35mm the recipe calls for. So it goes. Hung them up to dry for a few hours, then half went into the freezer. All told there were 28 links and two large remaining loaves because I underestimated the casing I'd need, due to their diminutive size. Which was fine, this makes excellent breakfast sausage patties!

Which I ate for a week.

For dinner I paired the bangers with a traditional accompaniment: mash. Only instead of straight up mashed potatoes, I went for a slightly more, and yet possibly less, healthy Winter Champ.

Chop and boil two pounds of mashing potatoes in salted water, give em about 12-15 minutes. In another pan sweat a chopped leek in a stick of butter (see I told you) until slightly browned. Trim the stalks out of a bunch of kale and thinly slice the leaves. Add them to the pan and saute until wilted. Drain the potatoes and add to the pot. Add a half cup of milk, mash away. Finish with salt and pepper to taste.

For the bangers: put in a pan on the stove. Set heat to medium. Add a good quarter to half glass of beer (I used my English Brown). Cover, simmer five minutes or so. Take the lid off and continue cooking the sausages until they are 150-160 inside and the beer becomes a syrupy sauce.

It's really, really hard to get a good picture of sausages. But they're still very, very tasty. Only change is next time I'll drop the white pepper to 1 Tablespoon.


Trish said...

Mmmmmm looks good bro!

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