PUBLISHED: 11:05 19 October 2010 | UPDATED: 18:00 20 February 2013
November is the time to head down to your local butchers and celebrate the good old sausage. It's British Sausage Week and HEART of ENGLAND fine foods (HEFF) is launching its annual West Midlands Tastiest Sausage and Schools Best Banger competition
November is the time to head down to your local butchers and celebrate the good old sausage. Its British Sausage Week and HEART of ENGLAND fine foods (HEFF) is launching its annual West Midlands Tastiest Sausage and Schools Best Banger competition
British Sausage Week is organised by the British Sausage Appreciation Society and runs from Monday November 1 to Sunday 7. Bonfire Night also falls within this week making it the perfect time to enjoy proper bangers.
There are a number of exceptional butchers in Shropshire producing high quality breakfast and speciality sausages as well as fantastic cuts of meat and other products.
Now in its tenth year, the West Midlands Tastiest Sausage competition brings together some of the finest butchers from across the area to battle it out for the titles of tastiest breakfast sausage and tastiest speciality sausage. The call for entries begins at the start of British Sausage Week with sizzle off taste test competitions due to take place in January. The winning sausages from each sizzle off will go head to head at the Grand Final in the Mailbox, Birmingham, at the end of January where the sausages will be scrutinised by a panel before the winner is announced.
The two categories at the Shropshire sizzle off were both won by Wenlock Edge Farm with its Proper Sausage and pork, bacon and leek sausage.
The Schools Best Banger competition is also being launched to encourage school children to think about local ingredients in food.To enter they have to come up with a recipe for a sausage using some local ingredients, give it a name and then draw a poster to promote their new sausage. The top six as voted by a panel of judges will get their sausage made by a local butcher which will then be taste-tested at the grand final after the West Midlands Tastiest Sausage competition.
Shannon OGrady of Brockton Primary School, Much Wenlock, was a finalist at this years event after impressing judges with her recipe for The Shropshire Sausage which included pork, herbs, cheese, egg and breadcrumbs.
And if all that wasnt enough, theres also a competition for the West Midlands Tastiest Juice with a cox variety category and a breakfast juice category. Ludlow Vineyard and Distillery, Shropshire, won with its cox variety.
The British Sausage Appreciation Society has more than 5,000 members in the UK so show your appreciation of the Great British banger and visit your local butcher and enjoy proper sausages during British Sausage Week.
If you would like to enter any of the competitions mentioned above call HEART of ENGLAND fine foods on 01743 452818 or visit www.heff.co.uk
RECIPE of the month
Sausages with Champ Mash and Caramelised Red Onion Gravy
By HEFF Development Chef Ed Warren
1. Grill your local sausages and set aside while you prepare the champ mash and red onion gravy.
Ingredients for the champ mash
8 medium sized floury potatoes, such as Maris Piper or King Edwards
6 large spring onions finely sliced
300ml full fat milk
Salt and pepper to taste
2. Peel and quarter the potatoes. Put them in a large pan of cold, salted water and bring to the boil with a lid to partly cover. Simmer for 20-25 minutes until the potatoes are just cooked
3. Drain the water from them, cover the pan and let it sit in a warm place for about three minutes, this will allow the potatoes to become soft and completely cooked
4. Wash and finely chop the spring onions. In a small saucepan put the milk and a good amount of butter (about 75g) bring to the boil
5. Put the chopped spring onions into the boiling milk, and then remove from the heat and leave to infuse for about one minute
6. Mash the potatoes well and stir in the milk and onions until everything is smooth
Check for seasoning and keep warm till you're ready to serve
Ingredients for the red onion gravy
3 red onions sliced
Butter and rapeseed oil for frying
2 tablespoons of flour
Make up 300ml hot chicken stock
A good glug of red wine
7. Finely slice the shallots. Now add a knob of butter and a little rapeseed oil to a frying pan and fry over medium heat. Cook until they are caramelised and an even brown, about 20 minutes. Don't rush as its essential to give the gravy both its deep brown colour, and sweet flavour
8. When you are satisfied with the colour, sprinkle over two tablespoons of flour and stir round to absorb cooking fat and juices.
Add a good glug of red wine and mix well together while the alcohol evaporates and reduces
9. Now add about 250ml of the stock. Don't add it all at once; you can always add more later if you think your sauce is too thick. Stir well, and simmer the gravy for 10-15 minutes
10. Place the sausages in the gravy and let them simmer for five minutes to let them warm and add flavour, then serve on a nice mound of champ mash topped with three of the sausages and pour the red onion gravy over
FOUR OF THE BEST
Shropshire sausage makers
These butchers scored highly at the 2010 sizzle off
Wenlock Edge Farm, Longville
Shepleys Family Butchers, Market Drayton
Maynards Farm Bacon, Weston-under-Redcastle
Moor Farm Shop, Baschurch
PRODUCER of the month
Bonbonniere produces wonderful fresh, handmade chocolates perfect for Christmas. Bonbonniere is owned and run by Melanie Fallon who has recently expanded and moved the business to a production unit at Shropshire Food Enterprise Centre in Shrewsbury which is managed by HEART of ENGLAND fine foods. The chocolates are all handmade using the finest ingredients with flavours including cardamom, ginger, very vanilla, luxury champagne, aromatic orange and hazelnut surprise. Bonbonniere won the Confectionery category at the 2009 HEFF Diamond Awards for its cardamom chocolate. Melanies chocolates are also organic and are certified by the Soil Association. As well as these special chocolates making lovely Christmas gifts, they are also available as wedding favours.
To order call Melanie on 07962 815508. www.bonbonniere.co.uk