Let us start by defining what makes a sausage a sausage?
First criteria is that sausages are always made with either chopped or ground meat or, when vegetarian, with nuts, soy or other proteins. Second, a sausage should have plenty of flavour, which is achieved by adding spices and seasonings. Then third, sausages should be stuffed either in natural or in manufactured casings.
Sausage making evolved, using mostly parts of the animal which aren’t considered prime cuts, as an effort to preserve meat that could not be consumed fresh at slaughter. As soon as mankind learned the effectiveness of salt as a preserver the origins of meat processing had begun. Hence, in the old days, sausages were either dried and cured with salt or were smoked and cured with salt.
These days, we also like to make sausages using fresh meat which is flavoured not only with salt but also with spice mixes, herbs, fruit, wine, you name it. People that make sausages are as discerning about what goes into a sausage as, lets say, winemakers are about their grapes and terroir.
Early sausage makers found that a wide range of raw ingredients could be used. The primary ingredients of sausage were the parts of the animal carcasses that could not be used in other ways. The common and humble sausage that we all know and love is most often made using the rougher cuts, organ meats and yes, even blood. Simply add your choice of spices and seasonings, stuff the mince into a casing and presto, a sausage is born.
These days sausage making is experiencing something of a renaissance and has become a highly respected culinary art, so much so that its popularity with the general public has brought fame and fortune to many sausage makers and to various cities from where sausages take their name (think of the Frankfurter, for instance). Today, many 1000’s of varieties are sold in all corners of the world and many people, like myself, have taken to making sausages at home.
The reason we all love sausages so much is because they can either be a tasty, easy and quick snack or be the star of a comforting meal.
Sausages are an excellent source of high quality protein, containing all the essential amino acids in appropriate amounts necessary for growth, maintenance and repair of body tissue. Sausages also provide significant amounts of vitamins and minerals.
So, with this in mind I will soon be posting my own favourite recipes for sausages that are easy to make, for which the ingredients are easy to source and will satisfy both meat lovers as well as vegetarians.