THE WORLD’S OLDEST FINGER-FOOD IS NOW ENJOYING A NEW LEASE OF LIFE AS A GOURMET PRODUCT. WHAT’S IN IT? WE FIND OUT.
The Sausage Man Never Sleeps
Apricot, cream cheese, chopped hazelnut – or perhaps apple and sage? That might read like the first few lines of a vegetarian’s shopping list, but these are the names of meaty sausages created by Simon Ellery from New Zealand. For years now, the founder of a company called "The Sausage Man Never Sleeps" has been combining a diverse selection of ingredients with top-quality, free-range pork to make his very successful bangers, which are available at his stand in Berlin’s Markthalle Neun covered market.
A hotspot for food trends
“Back in New Zealand, I trained as a butcher. In Germany I rediscovered the profession. That was just the right move: the country is known for its excellent sausages and Berlin is a hotspot for food trends,” recounts Simon.
I can only agree. I’ve tried Simon’s recipes, and the way the apricot sausage is juicy, savoury, yet sweet and fruity is proof of it; nuts add a slightly crunchy texture. I absolutely love this sausage, despite the fact that I’ve spent years dodging bangers. I’m not the only one tired of mass-market fare, though, and butchers like Simon Ellery who use good meat to make handcrafted sausages are springing up across Europe to win us back.
From Hessia to New York
“Sustainability is a big issue nowadays. Our customers want to know where their Sunday roast came from, how the animal lived and what is in our products. Many people are prepared to pay more for good quality, too,” explains Dirk Ludwig from the Hessian town of Schlüchtern. And this expert should know; after all, he was commissioned to develop the world’s most exclusive sausage recipe. His creation – involving Kobe beef – is part of a luxury (and, obviously, rather pricey) menu for guests at a restaurant in London and New York.
GOOD HAND-MADE SAUSAGES BRING BACK MEMORIES.
With a few years’ delay, the trends tend to trickle to ambitious hobby cooks; as such, there is now a boom in courses in which butchers pass tips and tricks in sausage-making. Dirk Ludwig, for example, has extended his butcher’s shop with Die Steakschaft (“The Steakery”), a space where meat fans can not only buy their favourite cuts, but also experience them in a range of workshops.
There are regular courses in making, grilling and enjoying sausages. “Once you know how to actually make a sausage,” says Ludwig, “then you can try out all sorts of shapes, sizes and flavours.” That means using more than just pork sausage meat: beef, poultry, game or lamb are all options. And why stop at different meats? Fennel, cinnamon and lemon-grass are perfectly viable ingredients, and with all the potential herb-and-spice combinations out there, the only way is to start experimenting and see what works.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN
To make sausages, you will need:
1. A mincer or food processor with grinder
2. A standard sausage funnel
3. Wet, salted natural casing
4. Ingredients according to recipe.
During the sausage-making process, none of the ingredients should get any warmer than 14°C, so put all of the implements into the freezer for an hour before you start work. Put the casing into cold water to wash off the salt (2 m of casing is enough for 20 sausages).
Dice 500g meat and put it into the freezer for 30 minutes; then put this meat through the mincer with 7g of salt and seasoning; the perforated disc in the mincer determines how chunky the sausage meat will be. Pull the washed casing over the nozzle of the funnel and then fill it evenly, without packing it. Lay the long sausage out on your worktop and, after determining how long the sausages will be, twist the corresponding length 3-4 times in one direction; twist the next sausage in the other direction.