Vegetarian sausage update…

This is how my sausages look – well, one of them, anyway, for testing purposes.

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There’s not as much oil as there seems to be – it’s a small sausage in a small pan. Despite what Tefal fondly believe, fried food does need oil, about 5mm in this case, otherwise sausages won’t brown evenly, but just in stripes where they touch the hot pan. Don’t forget that, unlike meat sausages, which will yield uo some of their 20% or so of fat, these are low fat, and won’t.

Not truly veggie, as I used artificial sausage casings (skins). These are made from collagen and, to put them into perspective, a mere 7g of casing made 1.5kg of sausages, 0.466% of the total – they are micro-thin – I can live with that.

As you can see, they fry up nicely, and the ends are appropriately crisp, just like a “proper” sausage, and they hold together well when cut into – should have photographed that as well – never mind.

I minced the beans on the coarsest possible setting, to try to keep a proportion of them as whole as possible, which worked reasonably well, so that the texture is much more interesting than if it had just been a paste of beans and rice. In retrospect, minced sweetcorn would have added texture too, but as I can’t stand the stuff it didn’t even occur to me – it’s a thought for those who like it, though.

The flavour is good too – beany, naturally enough, and herby, with a touch of tomato. Seasoning is pretty much spot on too.

So, overall, I think I’ve achieved my aim of making a veggie sausage that’s actually a pleasure to eat, nicely-textured and well-flavoured – both major shortcomings of commercial versions. Which poses a question – if I can do it, why can’t they?

OK, I wasn’t starting entirely from scratch, as it’s a modified version of a beanburger recipe I devised in the eighties (and with the stuff that inevitably got trapped in the filling machine, I made a couple of burgers (the machine retains about 250g of sausage filling, whether it be meat of veggie. I could have made extra sausages manually, but burgers were easier.

Can they be improved? No, not really. They can be changed by using different flavourings, but I think the mix of beans, breadcrumbs, from my own bread, and Camargue red rice is pretty much spot on. If I changed that at all, it’d be to add a little grated hard cheese (the bean and cheese combo is pretty good). Newby veggies can give them a meatier taste by mixing in some very thick Bisto gravy. Their Best range is entirely veggie-friendly (some are vegan**) , and I’d go with the Caramelised Red Onion version, which is what I intend to serve with mine.

**Not the Caramelised Red Onion, as that has lactic acid, but the rest seem OK – check here. Use the arrows alongside the pics to scroll through and view the ingredients. Many other Bisto product are veggie, maybe vegan, too.

Wrong! The Best Caramelised Red Onion is veggie, as is the Roasted Winter Vegetable flavour – the others have dried meat extract in them. But it’s weird – I read the ingredients list for every one of them, several times, and failed to see the dried meat extract. Anyway, I’ve just gone over the website again, and the Bisto Granules, apart from the Turkey Flavour, are veggie and quite possibly vegan too, as far as I can see.

Other than that, I’m very happy with what I’ve made.