This is the final, revised, version of the recipe.
It’s been my ambition, for a long time, to make a veggie sausage that is actually worth eating. As regular readers will know, I was a veggie for the better part of 20 years, lapsing gradually over a period between the turn of the century and 2005 (though my diet remained veggie to a substantial degree, and still does), and commercially-produced veggie sausages were then, and still are, dog food. I’m damn sure I can do better.
What follows, then, is a revised version, because I can now buy genuine veggie-friendly casings, of a blog post I published on October 23, 2011,. It’s based on a very successful beanburger recipe that I made for many years and, indeed, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t treat it as such if you wish – I’ll probably make a few burgers too.
Amazon is the source of the new casings, though I have chased them down online, to ensure that they are exactly what Amazon claim – made from plant-based, GMO-free, material. And they are. Not cheap, but if they catch on the price might come down.***
1 can of each of the following, drained and rinsed:-
Chick peas, Cannellini beans, Red kidney beans, Haricot beans (total yield, drained, is a little under 1kg). I use Napolina brand as the quality is excellent (Sainsbury’s and Tesco’s o-b beans, while much cheaper, tend to be a tad crunchy – not what I want in a bean).
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
100g Breadcrumbs, from my own bread (which, this week, is organic wholemeal and a white flour produced from Swedish spring wheat)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 free-range/organic eggs
3 oz Camargue red rice, cooked in water flavoured with
1 Kallo organic vegetable stock cube
When cooked and drained, but still hot and moist, taste to check the seasoning, and stir through
¾ teaspoon Schwartz fine black pepper
1 scant teaspoon Fine sea salt (don’t forget, this is to season the beans as well)
Then, following the instructions below add these three items to the liquid from the rice, and then reduce:-
1 teaspoon Marigold Vegetable Bouillon powder
1 tablespoon tomato purée
1 tablespoon HP Fruity sauce
Dried basil is nothing like fresh, by the way, and I use it to impart a generic herbiness. However, I’ve obtained some from a new source which is alleged to retain much of its flavour and, in use, so it proved. It also keeps very well, tightly capped, in a glass jar in a dark cupboard. If you use supermarket-sourced basil, use your judgement – I’ve not used it for a while, and it might have improved.*****
Spoons are, of course, measuring spoons, as cutlery spoons can be pretty random.
Originally I used a hand mincer. To retain some texture I used a very coarse plate with 10mm holes which chopped the beans coarsely, while leaving some whole or almost whole. Now, I’d probably use my food processor, processing the beans coarsely
Put the beans in a suitably sized pan, cover with water, bring to the boil, remove from heat and set aside for a few minutes – you just want them to heat through. Drain the beans well, then tip onto a clean tray to dry off for 10 minutes. While still warm, tip into a bowl, stir though the herbs, seasoning and olive oil, cover with clingfilm and leave until next day (refrigerate once cold).
While the beans are warming, or afterwards, it doesn’t matter which, cook the rice, in enough water to cover by an inch, along with the Kallo cube. Add more boiling water if necessary.
When the rice is cooked, tip into a sieve over another pan, and allow to drain thoroughly. Then set aside. Return the rice water to the pan, and reduce until you have just about half an inch depth, dissolve the Kallo cube, sauce, and tomato purée. Return the rice, and add the crumbs, mixing well with the rice until all the liquid is absorbed. Set aside for 10 minutes to allow the absorption to be completed, then add to the beans and mix well.
Cover and return to the fridge until thoroughly cold – as with making normal sausages, there is scope for food poisoning, so keep everything scrupulously clean and cold from here on in, and wear disposable vinyl gloves.
Once chilled (or the next day if you wish), remove from the fridge, beat the eggs and stir them in, and mince on the coarsest plate or pulse-process as described above if a food processor is what you have. If neither, tip onto a chopping board in small batches, and chop with a very sharp knife. With the glutinous liquid from the rice, and the eggs, it should be sticky enough not to scatter all over the floor.
Put back in the bowl, return to the fridge, covered, and re-chill.
Now then, this is where I part company with many of you, as I have a sausage-stuffing machine. The filling goes in the cylindrical hopper, it which there’s a piston driven by the crank. The casings are slipped over the appropriately-sized tube, the crank is turned and the filling pushed into the casings.
For my first batch I went with beef collagen casings. A mere 7g of casings gave me almost 1.5kg of sausages, which probably makes them a lot more veggie than most chocolate (if you knew the animal and insect contaminants permitted in chocolate, you’d never touch the stuff). However, as I said earlier, I have now sourced genuinely veggie sausage casings, which are plant-based and GMO-free, and I have a batch on order, which is why I’m rewriting this recipe to bring it up to date, correct a mass of typos (my inability to type accurately kicked in at least a year earlier than I’d thought, confirming that I’ve been sicker for longer than I actually remember).
So, while I press on with the machine, you can hand-form them, maybe rolling them in buckwheat flour to make them easier to handle or, and this would be my choice, using a burger press, make burgers – they’ll yield a more uniform result. Amazon or Lakeland sell more or less identical burger presses, based on the original Bel design but not nearly as good (I foolishly gave my Bel press away!).
Once finished – sausages or burgers, put on a tray that will fit your freezer, ensuring they’re not touching each other and with a layer of clingfilm between layers, and bag when solid. No more than 2 layers for sausages, or those on the bottom may get squashed. For burgers it doesn’t matter.
And here we have the finished product. Not elegant – I’m having a seriously bad day – but before freezing they’ll be smoothed and straightened. And yes, I know I’m crap at linking but, guess what? I don’t care! It affects the taste not one iota, and that’s what matters.
The filling machine inevitably retains some of the mix, In this case there was enough to make 2 4oz-ish burgers. Really got to find a way to make sausages with this – maybe run it through my mincer, fitted with a sausage nozzle.
And this is the finished product, in the pan.
Sausages, to ensure they heat/cook through, and brown evenly, need a reasonable depth of oil, especially veggie sausages as, unlike their piggy relatives, they don’t release fat as they’re cooked. The oil can be filtered (using coffee filter papers and a funnel), and re-used, either for more sausages or for sweating off the veg in a casserole or soup, as it’ll have lots of flavour.