The ten best sausages
Tuesday 12 October 2004
Tesco Finest pork and stilton
Tesco Finest pork and stilton
£1.99 for 400g
Pork and cheese might sound like an iffy combination, but these award-winning, smooth sausages from Tesco are surprisingly seductive. They also boast a perfectly respectable 75 per cent meat content, which is good for the price. I wouldn't swamp them with gravy, which will mask their delicate flavour. They'd be good with bubble and squeak.
Tesco branches ( www.tesco.com)
The Essex Pig Company's Cambridge sausage
£4.95 for 450g
This peerless British sausage is made on the farm of Jamie Oliver's mate Jimmy Doherty, which, I suppose, makes it a celebrity sausage. Containing 93 per cent meat and seasoned with white pepper, nutmeg and ginger, it's a great advertisement for simplicity (the recipe dates from 1917). I've also tried the Essex Pork and the Ipswich Blue, which are terrific, too.
From the farm shop or by mail order (01473 601770; www.essexpigcompany.com)
Denhay cured smoked pork
£10.35 for two 460g packs
A recent discovery from one of my favourite small producers, the Dorset-based Denhay Farms, this appealingly smoky 100 per cent meat (so gluten-free) sausage is made from pork and their award-winning dry cured bacon. It's a slightly Germanic-style sausage that would be great with braised cabbage or sauerkraut - and a nice cold German lager. There's also an unsmoked version.
Stockists: 01308 458963; www.denhay.co.uk
Richard Woodall's Waberthwaite Cumberland
£2.85 for 500g
A splendidly meaty banger that vies with the Cambridge sausage as my favourite. It comes in the distinctive coil that is characteristic of the Cumberland, as is its high meat content (95 per cent). The recipe has been used for decades by the Woodall family, the seventh and eighth generations of which still run the business out of the village post-office at Waberthwaite in Cumbria.
Stockists: 01229 717237; mail order: www.richardwoodall.co.uk
Duchy Selections old-fashioned pork with herbs
£2.69 for 400g
If you like a smooth, herby sausage, this is an excellent example, without that intrusive dried-herb flavour in cheaper sausages. Do him credit: Prince Charles does care about animal welfare and insists that the pigs going into his bangers are free range and naturally reared. The sausages are 85 per cent pork, and contain no flavour enhancers or GM ingredients.
Sainsbury's, Tesco, Waitrose and some independent stores
Marks & Spencer Aberdeen Angus, caramelised onion and red wine
£2.39 for 400g
Imagine onion gravy in rather than with a sausage, and it'll give you an idea of what this satisfyingly savoury beef sausage tastes like. It would be good served Italian-style with a tomato sauce, or with swede and carrot mash and lashings of onion gravy.
M&S branches ( www.marksandspencer.com)
Waitrose organic pork chipolatas
£2.99 for 340g
Chipolatas are the ideal breakfast sausage because they cook so quickly. These excellent, coarse-textured chipolatas are plain and sweet-tasting. Ideal for the children's supper, too - they're 86 per cent meat without any nasty chemical additives or colourings.
Waitrose branches (01344 424680; www.waitrose.com)
Crombies peppered pork and lemon
£6.40 for 1kg
A distinctive, fresh-tasting, smooth, lemony sausage from the award-winning Scottish butcher's, Crombies of Edinburgh. It almost tastes more like a chicken sausage than a pork one, and would be excellent, as they suggest, with garlic mash and buttered spinach.
Crombies, 97-101 Broughton Street, Edinburgh
I Camisa garlic and fennel
£6.80 for 1kg
These small, plump, spicy sausages are the ones I buy most often, not least for the pleasure of visiting this old-fashioned London deli. They're made to the recipe used by the original Signor Camisa more than 100 years ago, and are tied with string in the traditional Italian way. They are satisfyingly coarse and meaty, but the real draw is the fennel flavouring.
I Camisa, 61 Old Compton Street, London W1 (020-7437 7610)
The Ginger Pig Toulouse
£9 for 1kg
It's hard to single out one sausage from The Ginger Pig's outstanding range, which is based on its own Gloucester Old Spot, Berkshire and Tamworth pigs. But the Toulouse is typical of its approach; working to an authentic recipe and using only the best raw ingredients. It's a whopper - coarsely ground, intensely meaty, just begging to be buried in a cassoulet. And you can have it with or without garlic.
The Ginger Pig, Moxon Street, London W1 (020-7935 7788) or from its stall in Borough Market, London SE1
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