Citizens, the World Cup finals are rapidly approaching and the amazing French team are looking forward to a game where they dominate the Croatians! I’ve just yesterday posted a Croatian recipe to honor the equally stunning Croat team – now let me do the same for the French!
In the past, I have only posted a few sausage recipes here on TFD as so many of them require specialized techniques and equipment – but not these from the ancient city of Toulouse in the south of France!
Typically, a sausage is formed in a casing traditionally made from intestine, but sometimes from synthetic materials. Sausages that are sold raw are cooked in many ways, including pan-frying, broiling and barbecuing. Some sausages are cooked during processing and the casing may then be removed.
Sausage making is a traditional food preservation technique. Sausages may be preserved by curing, drying (often in association with fermentation or culturing, which can contribute to preservation), smoking, or freezing. Some cured or smoked sausages can be stored without refrigeration. Most fresh sausages must be refrigerated or frozen until they are cooked.
Sausages come in a huge range of national and regional varieties, which differ by their flavouring or spicing ingredients (garlic, peppers, wine, etc.), the meat(s) used in them and their manner of preparation.
The word “sausage” was first used in English in the mid-15th century, spelled “sawsyge”. This word came “…from Old North French saussiche (Modern French saucisse)”. The French word “saussiche” came “…from Vulgar Latin *salsica “sausage,” from salsicus “seasoned with salt,” from Latin salsus [meaning] “salted”.
Sausage making is an outcome of efficient butchery. Traditionally, sausage makers would salt various tissues and organs such as scraps, organ meats, blood, and fat to help preserve them. They would then stuff them into tubular casings made from the cleaned intestines of the animal, producing the characteristic cylindrical shape. Hence, sausages, puddings, and salami are among the oldest of prepared foods, whether cooked and eaten immediately or dried to varying degrees.
An Akkadian cuneiform tablet records a dish of intestine casings filled with some sort of forcemeat.
The Chinese sausage làcháng, which consists of goat and lamb meat, was first mentioned in 589 BC.
The Greek poet Homer mentioned a kind of blood sausage in the Odyssey, Epicharmus wrote a comedy titled The Sausage, and Aristophanes’ play The Knights is about a sausage vendor who is elected leader. Evidence suggests that sausages were already popular both among the ancient Greeks and Romans, and most likely with the various tribes occupying the larger part of Europe.
The most famous sausage in ancient Italy was from Lucania (modern Basilicata) and was called lucanica, a name which lives on in a variety of modern sausages in the Mediterranean. During the reign of the Roman emperor Nero, sausages were associated with the Lupercalia festival. Early in the 10th century during the Byzantine Empire, Leo VI the Wise outlawed the production of blood sausages following cases of food poisoning.
Traditionally, sausage casings were made of the cleaned intestines, or stomachs in the case of haggis and other traditional puddings. Today, however, natural casings are often replaced by collagen, cellulose, or even plastic casings, especially in the case of industrially manufactured sausages.
A sausage consists of meat cut into pieces or ground, mixed with other ingredients, and filled into a casing. Ingredients may include a cheap starch filler such as breadcrumbs, seasoning and flavourings such as spices, and sometimes others such as apple and leek.
The meat may be from any animal, but is often pork, beef, or veal. The lean meat-to-fat ratio depends upon the style and producer. The meat content as labelled may exceed 100%; which happens when the weight of meat exceeds the total weight of the sausage after it has been made, sometimes including a drying process which reduces water content.
Toulouse sausages date back at least 250 years and are a primary ingredient in the most famous dish of Toulouse – cassoulet! At some point, this recipe will appear on TFD, but until then – these delicious sausages are amongst the easiest to make by a neophyte as there is no fermentation, smoking or other advanced techniques.
My version adheres very closely to the classic recipe, but I do add some red wine of the region, some garlic (which many Toulouse sausage recipes have in them) and some Epices Rabelais, a unique and secret spice mix from France that gives my version a unique savor. I have gratefully cribbed sausage stuffing instructions from cliffordawright.com. The recipe does call for a few unusual ingredients (only unusual if you’ve never made your own sausage!) such as potassium nitrate, dextrose, Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and Cochineal.
This last ingredient is particularly unique – Cochineal is a totally natural red dye made from – wait for it – a beetle! Don’t be grossed out, Starbucks uses it in several of their drinks and it’s a lot better than the chemical horror of artificial dyes!. Leave it out if you’re suitably horrified, but you’re missing out.
Citizens, grab yourself a sausage maker and stuffer and give these a try! Be advised this recipe makes A LOT of sausages – just freeze them and/or give them to your closest friends!
In the meantime, I wish both France and Croatia bon chance! 😀
Battle on – The Generalissimo
The Hirshon French Toulouse Sausage – Saucisse de Toulouse