Traditional Irish Stuffed Sausages Recipe
Bored with plain old sausages? Then try them stuffed and wrapped in bacon instead - they're so filling and so good!
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I used to hate sausages, not because of the taste, well, actually in a way it was, my Mother made sausages, she fried them in lard, she fried them fast, and when you cut them open they were raw in the middle, there was no option, eat them or starve, my Father also cooked sausages, if he was doing them they ended up black on the outside and raw inside - but at least there was a choice.
I'm still very funny about sausages, I like them slow cooked, I like them casseroled, sometimes I still insist I don't like them and 'they're too meaty' is another complaint my husband has to put up (poor man) but a real favourite has to be Irish Stuffed Sausages. My Grandfather, Robert Hawthorne, came from Belfast, Northern Ireland, he was a wonderful man and I miss him dreadfully, I can still feel the touch of his hand on my shoulder when I sat on the floor by his armchair, even in my twenties this was where I loved to be. My name is Irish and although I don't make many Irish dishes when I do get round to doing so it always reminds me of him and that's a really lovely thing - ah Granddad - just for you!
½ small Loaf of Bread
2 tablespoons of Olive Oil
2 tablespoons of Butter
2-3 tablespoons of Dried Sage (according to taste)
1 teaspoon of Dried Parsley
1½ medium-sized Organic White Onions, grated or finely minced
2-3 Free Range Pork Sausages per person
2-3 Free Range Rashers of Bacon per person
Chilli or Flavoured Oil (optional) (*see note below)
Eileen's Tip: If you're going to make the breadcrumbs and the onion in the same food processor make the breadcrumbs first and then you won't have to clean it before making the minced onion as they're both going to end up in the same pan when cooking.
Basically what we're making to start with is good old fashioned Sage & Onion Stuffing, not sure if this is a British thing but we use it to stuff chickens and turkeys at Christmas, sometimes it has pork sausage meat mixed in with it and is baked in either individual balls or in dishes. I love stuffing and for me it has to be homemade although you could use Paxo stuffing which is very popular in Britain.
As I said this goes really well with sausage meat so it is just meant to be with these lovely fat juicy pork sausages. The type of sausage I have used here is Hampshire outdoor reared pork (91% pork) and they already have a seasoning of onion and sage in them so they are perfect for this dish.
I make this dish with varying types of bread, it just depends what's in the house or lurking in the freezer, basic white bread is great but if you wish to switch it up a little I have also used a chilli bread which gives it all a bit of a kick. *If like me you have a Chilli fiend in the house then you can always drizzle some Chilli Oil or your own blend of flavoured oil into the stuffing going in that person's sausages to give it an individual twist just for them, well cooking is an act of love.
- Pull the bread out of the crust of the loaf and put in the food processor, blitz until you have breadcrumbs and transfer to a bowl.
- Peel and cut the onion into rough chunks and add to the food processor and blitz till it's finely minced. You may need to use a spatula and scrape down the outside of the food processor a couple of times just to make sure it all gets finely minced. Note: Don't put your head over the open bowl as it will sting - a lot - you know I did that don't you?
- In a medium hot non-stick frying pan heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a knob of butter (about 1½ tablespoons).
- Add the minced onion and gently fry till translucent and soft.
- Add the breadcrumbs, 2-3 tablespoon of dried sage and 1 teaspoon of dried parsley and continue cooking until everything is a pale golden colour, this is going in the oven afterwards so you don't want it getting too brown or it will burn.
We're not trying to brown this mixture, we're just cooking it so that it the onions are soft (soft onions good, crunchy onions bad) and that it all melts together and soaks up the butter and oil.
While this is cooling slightly pre-heat your oven to 180ºC / 375ºF / Gas Mark 5.
Now are you ready for this?
We are going to make sausage canoes! ..... I know I'm mad as a box of frogs (I bet you don't say that in America either), but to me that is what these look like and describes them perfectly.
I thoroughly recommend that you use a pair of really good kitchen scissors for this, I've tried using a sharp knife and it's definitely easier using the scissors.
- Cut each sausage lengthways leaving about a half an inch uncut at each end.
- Using either a spoon or your fingers push the sausage meat aside so that you have a pocket to put your stuffing into.
Here's some I prepared earlier!
- Cover your baking tray in foil and lightly grease.
- Using a spoon fill the 'sausage canoes' with your stuffing.
- Wrap each filled canoe with a rasher of bacon, try to make sure that both ends of the rasher are underneath the canoe so that it doesn't unwrap and holds the stuffing in snugly.
- Place on your baking tray and pop in the oven for 30 minutes.
I serve this family favourite with, yep you guessed it potatoes, baked potatoes normally and baked beans. Nothing fancy just good home, belly filling food.
If you have any of the stuffing or bacon left over, snip the bacon into small pieces, mix with the stuffing and place in a dish to cook alongside your stuffed sausages. Another lovely alternative is to place mushrooms in a dish cap side down and sprinkle the remaining stuffing over the top and adding a drizzle of oil before popping them in the oven.