Homemade sausages

2 June 2010
One of the great benefits of eating food you have cooked from scratch is that you know what you are eating.  The ideal is that you buy all the raw ingredients, then you add what you want to add.  But what happens when you buy things like sausages?  They're raw, but what's in them?  Who would know.  In Australia, sausage, by law, must contain 50 percent meat - but that meat may come from any part of the animal.  And what about the other 50 percent, what's that?  Well, you could ask your butcher and be guided by what he says, but you could also make your own sausages at home.  It's simple.

Homemade sausages are a great way to play that trick that mums all over the world play with their younger children - hide the vegetable.  If you finely grate carrot, pumpkin, celery, onion or cabbage, often it goes unseen into little bellies.

When you make sausages you need to use meat that has a small amount of fat on it.  The fat helps with the flavour and to bind the meat together.  When you cook the sausages, a lot of this fat melts and drains away so you're not actually eating it.  Making sausages is a great idea if you buy your meat in bulk, or hunt, because you can use all those pieces that might go into a casserole or you have no other use for.  I don't use casings for my sausages - often sausages are encased in intestines - and if you want to use them, you can buy them from your butcher and fill them.  I find they're just as easy to cook with no casing of you mix them well and them put them in the fridge to firm before cooking.

Regarding the mincing/griding of the meat. One of the meats will have to be very finely minced/ground so that it binds the sausage together.  I like to have little pieces of pork in the sausages so I don't mince the pork as finely as the beef.

These amounts are approximate as it's not essential to be exact.  The meat below made 8 fat sausages but could make 10 - 12 long thin ones.
½ kg/1 lb beef with some fat - very finely minced/ground
½ kg/1 lb pork with some fat - not so finely minced/ground
½ cup dry breadcrumbs - I used crumbs from the shop but you could just as easily use stale bread that you dry out in the oven, then pulverise in a blender.
a couple of leaves of sage - or any other herb you like
salt and pepper to taste

You could add any spice, garlic or finely grated vegetable that you like - I just used the ingredients listed above.

Combine all the ingredients and work it well using clean hands.  Working the meat around in your hands to thoroughly combine the ingredients, helps the proteins stick together, and will keep the sausage together as it's cooking.  Form sausage shapes and place them in the fridge until you cook them.  I'm not careful about shaping, I'm sure you'd do a better job than I did.

If you're cooking for children, you might like to dip the sausages in plain/all purpose flour, then beaten egg and finally breadcrumbs. That way you'll get a golden crumbed sausage in which you could hide many nutritious vegetables.

Cook the sausages in a little olive oil on all sides,until they're brown, then lower the heat and allow them to cook for about 15 minutes more.  I served ours with some gravy, herbed mashed potato and green beans from the garden.  Delicious! and no MSG, unknown meat bits, colourings, preservatives or intestines.