Monday, 20 August 2012

Sausages - getting enough meat for your money?

Sausages.. welll what can I say about sausages. My parents would tell you that from a very young age I was a difficult little beggar for eating sausages, some of them didnt taste meaty enough or they were too squishy, I also don't think being shown about getting food poisioning from a sausage on a barbecue in Primary School didn't help the campaign either.

I eventually found types I liked, some were "syn-free" from a local butcher, deliciously meaty and low in fat (even though I was only 10 and probably didnt give one about the fat content!) and Richmond sausages.

Now about a month ago there was a programme with the lovely Jimm Doherty(whom I think I may have a slight crush on) called "Jimmy and the Giant Supermarket". Jimmy was taking on Tesco's own brand cheap products and trying to keep the costs the same without skimping on quality. Fine, I say, good on him, I say, until he starts talking about what is inside a sausage. He picks up my beloved Richmond sausages and goes on to say that there is only 42% pork in the packet, 10% is water and fat and the rest is rusk (wheat), flavourings and preservatives.

Okay I could have looked at the back of the packet, but why should I? I trusted those sausages. 42%? In a world where even a bloody McDonalds burger boasts 100% beef we can only manage 42% pork in a packet of sausages? Further reasearch took me to an article by Felicity Lawrence who explains that “The food standards agency has proposed new rules to require clearer labelling of meat content, so that added fat, offal, gristle and rind would have to be separately identified and shoppers could tell more easily what they are getting. The move has been welcomed by consumer groups but they are also worried. The proposals will lower the legal minimum meat content, so that pork sausages would only have to contain 42% meat as newly defined.”

So myself and Louis have decided, no more bargain bangers and we would check percentages and sourcing of the meat we eat or off to the butchers we go! (we already do this with chicken, eggs, beef, but sausages were just never thought of!)

Anyway I have found some absolute gems of the sausage world - Debbie & Andrew's sausages. Click here for a link to their website. My favourite are the 97% Harrogate sausages they have a splash of balsamic vinegar in them, they are so tasty and delicious. Anyway all this talk of sausages is a gear up for my latest recipe. My Sausage and Butter Bean Casserole, it's a bit more of an elegant take on the typical sausage casserole as you will hopefully see.

Half a glass of white wine
pinch of chilli flakes or half a fresh chilli
chicken stock made to 200ml
2 garlic cloves
1 large leek, sliced
1 tsp of thyme
1 tbsp of parsley
1 tin of drained butterbeans
6 good quality sausages (it's nice to have a flavoured sausage sweet chilli are delicious but this time I tried pork and apple)


1. Heat the oven to 200c
2. Brown your sausages in a little oil (grill if you are watching the calories) once browned take out and leave to cool slightly.
3. In the same frying pan add the leeks and the garlic and add back the sliced sausages once the leeks are starting to soften.

4. Tip the sausage and leek mix into a casserole dish and add the wine, stock, chilli, butter beans and thyme.

5. Cook for 20-30 mintues so that the butter beans are soft and the sausages are cooked through.
6. Stir in the chopped parsley and serve with either bread or like I did adding some herbs to left over mash from the day before. YUM!
N.B If you are watching your weight quorn sausages are delcious in this stew with one regular sausage for flavour- we gotta keep those tastebuds alive eh?

Whats bangers do you think are the best? Let me know.

Sorry for the long post!

No Drama xx

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