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Let’s celebrate the great British banger! #britishsausageweek

It being Bonfire Night this week, we’ve had the opportunity to marvel at bangers of the firework variety. Now it’s time to enjoy another type of banger as it’s also British Sausage Week.

BSW-2013-logo-150Now in its 15th year, British Sausage Week is an annual celebration of the taste, quality and diversity of the traditional pork sausage. As part of the festivities there’s a national competition to find Britain’s best sausage, with regional heats up and down the country. The judges will have difficult task as the entries will vary from the traditional pork sausage to more exotic variations with ingredients such as chilli and chocolate.

Few can resist a plate of sizzling sausages and fluffy mash – it’s one of the nation’s favourite dishes – and over the years the humble sausage’s status has been elevated. It regularly appears on the menu at gourmet restaurants and has undergone something of a revolution in the supermarkets too. Several brands of top quality speciality sausages now line the shelves, many bearing the Red Tractor logo. This means that the pork produced to make the sausages is British and has been produced ethically, hygienically and safely with every aspect of the pork production process being fully traceable.

Fascinating facts about sausages

The sausage might be evolving all the time, but it’s certainly not a new phenomenon. For instance did you know that:

  • Pork sausages have been mass produced in Britain since the 19th Century and that the Sumerians first made sausages 5000 years ago?
  • In the past year we Brits have bought and consumed 188,270 tonnes of sausages at home?
  • There are several jokes about sausages, but jokes about German sausage are the wurst (sorry!)
  • The British Sausage Appreciation Society has over 5000 members
  • There are more than 470 recipes and flavours for sausages in Britain. According to the Love Pork website if you take into consideration the different variations from butchers across the country you could eat a different sausage very day for 10 years.
  • Sausages are called ‘bangers’ because of a shortage of meat in sausages during World War One. To compensate, sausage producers packed the casings with cereal, scraps and water. This made them hiss and pop when cooked over a fire – hence the name ‘banger.’
  • The world’s longest sausage was 35.5 miles long. It was made during British Sausage Week in 2000.

Sausage recipes to make you salivate

Here’s a tasty twist on traditional bangers and mash. This recipe is from www.lovepork.co.uk, where you will find lots of other creative recipes using sausages.

Pork sausage with sage and cider gravy, served with leek and black pudding mash

8 chunky pork premium sausages

15ml oil

2 large sprigs fresh sage, roughly torn

1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced

1 clove garlic, crushed

125ml sweet cider or apple juice

100g black pudding cut into cubes

900g potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes

2 leeks, sliced

Splash milk

Knob of butter

To make the mash:

Place potatoes in a pan, cover with water and boil for about 15 minutes until soft. During the last 8-10 minutes add the leeks. Meanwhile in a small frying pan cook the black pudding until crisp.

Drain the potatoes and leeks, and mash with a splash of milk and a knob of butter. Stir through the black pudding.

To cook the sausages:

Heat oil in a pan and gently cook the sausages with sage, onion rings and garlic, turning frequently to avoid sausages catching until well golden.

Add a slosh of cider and allow to boil and reduce slightly to create a thin tasty gravy – sweeten to taste with sugar and thicken if you wish.

And for the vegetarians here’s a quick and easy sausage recipe:

Vegetarian sausages

75g sliced white bread

25g butter

1 medium onion, finely chopped

175g courgette, grated

150g Cheddar cheese, grated

1 egg, separated

Salt and pepper

Vegetable oil for frying

Make the breadcrumbs by tearing the bread into pieces and blitzing in a food processor. Squeeze the excess liquid out of the courgette.

Heat the butter in a frying pan and fry the onion until soft. Add the grated courgette and cook for 3 minutes until softened.

Mix with the grated cheese, half the breadcrumbs, the egg yolk and seasoning. Shape into 8 sausages around 10cm long. Using floured hands dip into lightly beaten egg white and then roll in the remaining breadcrumbs.

Heat some oil in a wok or frying pan and shallow fry the sausages until lightly golden.