Grand Northern Sausages

By Jo Cooksey

Last week was British Sausage Week, an excuse to celebrate snorkers of all shapes and sizes, should any such excuse be needed. Who doesn’t love a plump, juicy sausage sat in a butty, browned to perfection, butter dripping down your chin, smothered in the sauce of your choice. Or sat atop a mountain of heavenly, creamy mash, surrounded by peas and smothered in rich onion gravy. Gosh, I’ve just made my own mouth water.

The lovely team at Grandad’s Sausages made our day when they sent Matthew, one of the owners, out to the office with a goody bag of their finest bangers. We were very excited to see that we had Lincolnshire sausages, Fiery Chilli sausages and something I haven’t used since I made sausage rolls in my O Level cookery class, a packet of the Olde English sausage meat.

Bury based Grandad’s Sausages has been in operation for over fifty years and today is still run by the same family. Their artisan pork sausages come in a range of mouth-watering flavours but they still use their Grandad’s secret ingredients. Traditional flavours include Traditional, Olde English, Lincolnshire, Cumberland and Pork and Leek. They have won awards for their Pork and Bury Black Pudding. A more global approach to sausage making sees them offering Moroccan, Italian, Fiery Chilli and Pork and Garlic. They also work with clients to develop bespoke sausages in varying weights and lengths and even produce gluten free options too.

The pork they use is English bred and reared to Freedom Foods Assurance and Red Tractor Assurance schemes. They use the English Large White breed, also known as the ‘Yorkshire Pig’ because they are hardy, with very little body fat.

Grandad’s Sausages make thousands of ‘snorkers’ every week, supplying large catering companies, small independents and pub/restaurant groups such as the Victorian Chop House Group, who own, Albert’s, Sam’s and Tom’s Chophouses in Manchester city centre. Grandad’s Sausages are nostalgic, proper British sausages, made in the north using quality ingredients, by an independent Manchester based business that cares. We even hear that they may be appearing on the Manchester Christmas Markets, though details are still to be confirmed. Watch this space.

Back to the recipe. What did I make my Olde English Sausage meat? I decided to do something a little different and develop a Moroccan style dish from a mix of several recipes. I used the Olde English sausage meat but you can use any sausages and just take the meat out of the skins. I would recommend using a sausage that isn’t highly herbed or spiced, as you will be adding in the Moroccan style flavours. Regarding the breadcrumbs, I tend to batch match these and then freeze them, so I can weigh out as and when I need them. I served this dish with roasted pumpkin but you can serve it with cous cous or anything else you fancy.

Moroccan Style Meatballs with Baked Eggs – Serves 2
For the meatballs
- Glug of olive oil
- 1 x small onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 250gsm Olde English sausage meat
- 50gsm freshly made breadcrumbs
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tsp of cinnamon
- 1 tsp of cumin
- Good pinch of white pepper
- 1 medium egg, lightly beaten

For the sauce
-1 x 450gsm tin of tomatoes
- 1 tsp of Ras El Hanout
- 1 tsp of turmeric
- Good shake of Worcestershire Sauce
- 2 tsp of pomegranate molasses

Finally 2 eggs

1. Finely chop the onion and garlic; I tend to use a food processor. Transfer to a frying pan that has a glug of olive oil warming on a low heat and cook gently for 8-10 minutes. Don’t allow to brown. If you are making these meatballs to freeze, allow the onions and garlic to go cold before proceeding to the next step.
2. In a mixing bowl place the onions and garlic, sausage meat, the breadcrumbs, the salt and pepper, the cinnamon, the cumin and the lightly beaten egg. Roll your sleeves up and get your hands in the bowl and squidge until all the ingredients are combined. Wash your hands but then wet them and make small bite sized meatballs. The water will stop the mixture sticking to your hands. I got 20 meatballs out of this amount of meat.
3. Put the meatballs on to a plate and place in the freezer for 10 minutes to chill. This will help hold them together whilst you cook them.
4. Warm another small glug of olive oil to the frying pan and colour the meatballs gently on all sides. Set aside whilst the sauce is made.
5. To the same pan add a tin of tomatoes, the Ras el Hanout, the turmeric and the Worcestershire Sauce. Bring to a gently simmer and cook until the sauce has reduced by a third.
6. Once reduced add the meatballs back to the pan and move them around gently to coat. Simmer gently for 4 minutes.
7. Make two holes in the sauce and crack in you eggs and leave them to bake to your liking. Try and keep the yolks runny.
8. Once the eggs are done, carefully remove them from the pan using a spatula and transfer to a warm plate, then spoon the meatballs over your chosen accompaniment, leaving most of the sauce in the pan.
9. Add 2 teaspoons of pomegranate molasses to the sauce and mix in, then spoon over the top of the meatballs. Finally gently top the dish with the eggs. Enjoy!

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