As we have grown our export business I have travelled far and wide. I have always tried to travel off the beaten track and quite often by myself, as a result it has been easier to make friends and to learn how their lives differ from ours.
Those who know me well will know that I can become slightly obsessed about sausages.
On a trip to see retailers in Northern Spain, AHDB rented the Guggenheim in Bilbao – an amazing event. I might blog about the pig I brought back on the plane. However, I drifted off to a bar and got talking to the owner who in addition to being a passionate supporter of Athletic Bilbao was also a sausage maker. Long story short we ended up making sausages together.
He was of German descent, but minced and mixed the pork (no bowl chopper), and then filled the sausages straight from the filler into a ham boiler. The strings of sausages gently poached in a brine he had made up. When cooked to a core of 72 degrees for 3 minutes. The strings were hung in a chiller to dry and cool before vac packing for sale.
On another occasion I was lunching in France, there was a steaming lidded stock pot on the bar, with an amazing smell. Inside were Diots – a traditional sausage from Savoie. The pot had red wine, garlic and onions simmering, with the Diots draped over some vine twigs. The Diots were being poached gently over many hours. They were then served with fresh bread as a snack, or with polenta, lentils, or boiled potatoes as a hearty meal.
I was in the Mandarin Hotel in Hong Kong selling our sausages, and asked to see the kitchens. In doing so I also visited the staff kitchen, in here one chef was working in a tiny kitchen of no more than 4m by 3m yet serving some 500 staff with a huge variety of meals. I asked him how he cooked his sausages.
“It is my first job when I start at 2am, I poach the sausages for the day in the Bratt Pan, cool them and then pan fry to brown and serve as needed”.
They looked and tasted fantastic; it was the only way he could produce safely cooked food quickly. I was super impressed.
Here is a tip to cook and serve sausages quick and easily, yet cook them to perfection. If you are uncertain of the servings needed, this suggestion helps cut waste and expense.
We have used our Lincolnshire style sausages, which are fast becoming a favourite amongst our team at Westaways.