James Martin visits our supplier, Finnebrogue Artisan, for the lowdown on what makes our sausages that extra bit special.
British Sausage Week - We’re celebrating the mighty sausage this month, from 31 October to 6 November.
There are so many ways to love sausages... wrapped in buttery pastry or on the end of a cocktail stick at a party. The sausage is the embodiment of comfort, evoking childhood memories of family barbecues or campfires in the forest, a football match or Sunday breakfast.
The British adore their bangers so to celebrate the humble sausage, James Martin – a huge fan of the versatile family favourite – headed to Downpatrick, a leafy town in Northern Ireland, to catch up with one of our sausage suppliers, Finnebrogue Artisan. James understands that good welfare and breeding is the key to super-tasty pork sausages, so we tasked him with the mission of finding out what really sets Asda’s Extra Special sausages apart.
A visit to our Northern Ireland supplier
‘There’s a certain art to making the perfect sausage,’ explains Sarah Savage, Finnebrogue’s product development manager for Asda. ‘We only use prime fresh cuts of pork shoulder and belly with just the right amount of fat to ensure they stay juicy no matter how you cook them.’
Finnebrogue supplies meat to high-end restaurants such as Heston Blumenthal’s world-renowned Fat Duck and has been producing Asda’s Extra Special sausages since 2014. ‘We use British pork, sourced from local farms, which is Red Tractor approved – meaning it guarantees safe, quality food that meets animal welfare standards,’ explains Sarah.
‘We understand that customers want to trust where their meat comes from and feel confident about what’s in it. Some sausage producers use trim cuts and bulk out the product with rusk and other fillers, but we take pride in the fact ours are made of good-quality whole cuts of meat and expertly sourced ingredients. The pork going into the sausages is always fresh and the whole range is gluten free.’
From the trusty chipolata to the hearty Cumberland, Finnebrogue ventures to new sausage territory with inspiring flavours such as our Extra Special Three Chilli Pork Sausages, with chipotle, jalapeños and Habanero chillies.
In fact, there’s nothing Sarah and her team won’t do to research the perfect sausage. ‘We’ve travelled the world looking for inspiration for different flavours,’ she says. ‘We visit different restaurants, we devour cookbooks and, most importantly, ask you, our customers, if there’s something you want in the range.’
Does Sarah have a preference? ‘I’m from Ireland, so I love frying the Extra Special Armagh Bramley Apple Pork Sausages with champ – spring onion mashed potato,’ she says. ‘But sausages are really versatile – you can do so many things with them.’ And what about James' tip for cooking sausages? ‘A good sausage can’t be rushed - start high to caramelise, then go low and slow to cook through.’
Give it a whirl
Try this filling sausage cassoulet recipe that's perfect for autumn evenings
Sarah’s tips on using sausages to spice up your favourite recipes
Squeeze the sausage meat out of the casings of Extra Special Italian Inspired Pork Sausages, and use to make mini meatballs. Put onto a Margherita pizza and bake according to the pack instructions until nicely caramelised and the meatballs are cooked through. Top with fresh basil to serve. Lovely!
Cut cooked Extra Special Leek & Black Pepper Pork Sausages down the middle and place on chunky bread with grated cheese on top. Toast under the grill and voilà – Welsh Sausage ‘bit!
Pop Extra Special Cumberland Pork Sausages in a casserole dish with wedges of red onion, red peppers, baby new potatoes, rapeseed oil and a bouquet garni [mixed herb bundle]. Roast for 30 minutes, adding half a cup of white wine towards the end.
Check out our super selection of sausages on the Asda website. With more than 15 different flavours in the range, there's something for everyone...