Monday, August 04, 2008

Banger to rights

My latest New Statesman column (the headline above is the NS's) concerns sausages, commenting on ideas in this entry and in this one. To summarise: I still believe that the best way to cook sausages is in a heavy frying pan over a low heat, allowing 30 minutes or more. Even in these conditions, some sausages might split. I do not think that pricking them -- a heretical action, in the view of some aficionados -- will make much difference to the consistency of the meat when fully cooked.

Here in France, most butchers sell merguez sausages -- red, spicy ones, made usually with lamb but sometimes with a mixture of lamb and beef. I fry them in the same way, unless there are enough to make it worthwhile to set up the barbecue. Like chorizos, though to a lesser extent, they release spicy oil, which one must not waste. I poured it over crushed new potatoes.


Anonymous said...

When we had our house in Normandy, I regularly used to make a sausage casserole using merguez, soaked butter beans bought dried from the market with some waxy potatoes and dry cider. The spicy oil makes it. Give it a go!

emma said...

My blogging skills are not great! Anonymous was me, Emma!

pablopatito said...

Off topic, but have you ever experiemented with a pressure cooker? The current rise in meat and gas prices have made me buy one as I eat more beans now. Some people claim meat tastes better cooked in a pressure cooker than slowly in an oven.

Cookery writers never seem to mention them, so I'd be interested in your views (if any).

Nicholas Clee said...

Emma, That sounds very good. We had a bean casserole yesterday: soaked beans cooked with pork rind, onion and garlic cloves; browned belly pork pieces, softened shallots and garlic, smoked lardons; bean liquid topped up with chicken stock; baked gently, uncovered, for three hours. It becomes rich and unctuous. I'd love to do a spicy version. My general experience of sausage casseroles is that the sausages become rather flabby -- but that may not be true of merguez.

Pablo, Someone asked me about stock and pressure cookers the other day (in the comment section of the entry on stock). I was sceptical; but I have to admit that I've tried it only once. The idea of cooking meat under pressure seems wrong, because all the books tell you that stewing cuts need slow cooking. Perhaps I should not have a closed mind on the subject. Vegetables must be difficult to get right in a pressure cooker, because your timing needs to be so accurate.

I have never thought: "I wish I could cook this dish at pressure cooker speed". That is why I have rarely used one. I may be missing out on other benefits.