Pork Scratchings

Pork Scratchings: The Ultimate Pub Snack

Enjoy with a beer or two, or even with a glass of Pimms & Lemonade…

Pork Scratchings

I first discovered the delight of pork scratchings in pubs in the Midlands (in fact, I think it was in my friend Gaynor’s parents’ pub in the summer of 1991) and, at the time, I struggled to find them anywhere else and even in the Midlands, only a few butchers and pubs sold them.  Since then, I’ve noticed more and more factory-produced brands of pork scratchings appear on supermarket shelves, and while those are ok, nothing tastes like the pork scratchings you can buy from your local butcher (I’ve had some in recent years from various butchers at Doncaster Market and they were lovely).

To me, one of the best parts of eating roast pork is a perfectly crackled skin, but there never seems to be enough of it!  And what about those times when you just fancy a few pork scratchings to nibble on with a drink, rather than a roast dinner? Morrisons sell cheap packs of pork skin you can use for crackling or pork scratchings.  Also, your local butcher is likely to let you have a load of pork skin if you ask while you’re buying other meat.

In my case, I was buying a load of pork belly and pork shoulder to make Sardinian Sausages and Lincolnshire Sausages.  The butcher kindly took off all the skin (far better than you could ever do at home, as I wanted most of the fat left on the meat for the sausages!), so I asked him to put the skin in a bag for me as I’d use it to make scratchings.

Here’s how I made the pork scratchings:

Cut the pieces of pork skin (rind) into rough pieces approx 2cm x 2cm in size.  Pat them dry with a clean tea towel.

Heat some sunflower oil in a pan (make sure you use a pan with lots of spare space above the oil as it will get quite ‘active’ when you put the skins in!) on a high heat.  You’ll know it’s hot enough if it starts boiling and spitting quite violently when you place a piece of pork skin into it.

Put a few pieces of pork skin in (about 6-7 per batch, maximum, depending on the size of your pan), one after the other, being very careful to stand back and keep your face away as the oil will spit furiously! Make sure the pieces of pork skin have plenty of room.  They have a tendency to want to stick together, so once the spitting has calmed down a little, move them around with a long-handled slotted metal spoon (always making sure you don’t get splashed!).

Once they have curled up a bit and gone golden brown (after about 2-4 minutes), remove them with the slotted spoon and place them on a plate or tray covered in ample kitchen paper to absorb the oil.

Repeat the process with the remainder of the pieces of pork skin until they’re all fried, then leave to cool and drain for a few minutes.

Now re-immerse the already fried pieces of skin into the hot oil (they won’t spit quite as much this time so you can put a few more in at once) and fry for a further 2-3 minutes until they look crispier and a little darker.

Remove with the long-handled metal slotted spoon and place to drain on fresh kitchen paper.  While still hot and oily, sprinkle liberally with fine sea salt (or seasalt flakes if you prefer) and as the pieces start cooling, roll them around in the salt that’s landed on the tissue so they each have a good amount of salt.

Leave to cool completely, then serve as crispy snacks.

Pork scratchings are delicious washed down with a cold beer! 😉

Gloriously Simple, Gloriously Good!

Lincolnshire Sausages | Lincolnshire Sausage Recipe

Lincolnshire sausages are a firm Sunday breakfast favourite in our house!

Naturally, therefore, after the Sardinian Sausages, our next foray into sausage-making had to be Lincolnshire Sausages…

After a bit of playing around to get the quantities right on the herbs and seasoning, hubby and I are delighted that we’ve cracked it and made bangers to be proud of! 🙂

Lincolnshire Sausages

The quantities indicated here will make approximately 25-30 sausages, depending on how long & thick you make yours.  Ours were very chunky indeed! You can use collagen casings but we’ve opted for natural ones.  The large ones you use for making Lincolnshire Sausages are quite easy to use even if you buy them as hank, as we did on this occasion, but in future we will buy them spooled as they should be even easier to handle.  I found a site that sells them HERE.  A huge ‘thank you’, on this occasion though, to Ben Marshall Butchers at Doncaster Market, for supplying us with the casings and for the outstanding quality of the meat they sold us 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1.7kg pork (mixture of shoulder & belly) – ask your butcher to remove the rind, leaving as much fat as possible on and then cut into chunks you can put through your mincer/grinder
  • 360g breadcrumbs (use fresh soft bread – not with hard crusts – and put through a food processor to make crumbs)
  • 3tsp fine sea salt
  • 1.5tsp freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1tsp ground coriander
  • 16 large fresh sage leaves (either finely-chop by hand or, ideally, put through the grinder/mincer with the meat)
  • 2tsp freshly-grated nutmeg (use a very fine grater)
  • 2tsp cornflour
  • 400ml cold water
  • Natural Hog Casings (casings for thick sausages)

Lincolnshire Sausage Recipe

Method:

Add the salt, pepper, coriander, sage leaves and nutmeg to the meat and mix together (you can leave to marinate/infuse for a couple of hours if you like).

Put through a meat grinder/mincer on a wide/chunky setting.

Make the breadcrumbs in a food processor, then add to the meat, herb & seasoning mixture and add the water and cornflour.  Mix well by hand to ensure the flavours and all ingredients are evenly spread.  The breadcrumbs and meat will absorb the water and you’ll end up with a pasty/sticky mixture.

Thread the natural casings over your sausage maker nozzle and feed the mixture through.  Do this slowly and let the sausages get as thick as you’d like them to.  Work on a long continuous length for each 10-12 sausages, twisting to separate each time you’ve reached the desired length for one sausage.

You can then either refrigerate/freeze them linked as they are, or separate by cutting through at the twisting points with scissors and freezing them individually.

These Lincolnshire sausages are very cost-effective (ours worked out at about £0.50 per sausage to make) and you know exactly what’s in them!  Food doesn’t get much better 🙂

Update 9th November 2015

Emma Simkiss and her husband chose this recipe to use for Emma’s first video on her brand new YouTube channel…it’s a fab video! Take a look:

Gloriously Simple, Gloriously Good! 

Sardinian Sausage | Salsiccia Fresca | S’Artizzu

Sardinian Sausage

Also known as “Salsiccia Fresca” or S’Artizzu (its sardinian name)

Sardinian Sausage Cooked | Salsiccia Fresca | S'Artizzu

These Sardinian delights are one of the many things I relish tucking into whenever we visit family in Sardinia.  As they’re impossible to get over here, I almost get withdrawal symptoms, so I decided to take the plunge and make some myself.

I looked for recipes online and, as they’re such an artisanal product, it was difficult to find an actual recipe, but at least it gave me the basic idea of what ingredients I needed to include.  I’ve then played with the quantities until I (and hubby) was satisfied that the flavour was as close as we could get it to the ones we have eaten in Sardinia.

The unique flavour of these sausages comes from aniseed (though fennel seeds are used interchangeably, depending on who is making the sausages).  I found it quite tricky to find aniseed (which surprised me!), so I made these with fennel seeds.

In Sardinia, you would buy S’Artizzu (sardinian sausage) in huge rings to cook over a barbecue, then chop it up once cooked into smaller pieces to to serve on a big platter for everyone to help themselves.  The quantities indicated below would make approximately 2 such giant rings, or 12-16 smaller individual portion rings (depending on the size of the rings).sardinian sausage ring

Hubby and I used natural sausage casings we bought from a lovely butcher at Doncaster market, though it was really hard work to thread these onto the nozzle on the sausage-making kit on our mixer.  Next time, we’ll try using natural casings bought on a spool.  I’ve found a site that sells them HERE.

Ingredients

  • Sausage Casings: Natural Sheep (thin, for chippolata sausages)
  • 1.7kg fatty pork meat (we used a mixture of pork belly and pork shoulder)
  • 3tsp fennel seeds (or aniseed if you can find it), crushed with a pestle & mortar
  • 2tsp fine sea salt
  • a good dash of freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 cloves of garlic (very finely chopped or put them through the mincer with the meat)
  • a good dash of dry white whine (approx. 80ml)

Sardinian Sausage Cooked | Salsiccia Fresca | S'Artizzu

Method

Ask your butcher to take the rind off the pork but leave as much of the fat on as possible, then chop the meat into chunks you can feed through your mincer (grinder).

Mix the meat chunks, fennel seeds, salt, pepper and peeled garlic cloves in a big bowl (you can leave these to marinate/infuse the flavours for a couple of hours if you like)

Put the seasoned meat & garlic cloves through your mincer on the biggest/chunkiest setting (Italian sausages tend to have a coarser texture than many British ones)

Add the wine to the minced meat mixture and mix well by hand (don’t over-work the mixture, but make sure the flavours are evenly spread and the wine has been absorbed into the mixture)

Now the fun begins!! Feed the mixture into your sausage-maker loaded with a long length of thin natural casing and gently fill the casing.  Ideally, you want to make one long continuous length you can roll into a big ring (about the size of a dinner plate).

Before cooking, put 2 wooden/bamboo kebab sticks through the ring to form a cross, so that the ring will hold its shape on the barbecue.  Or, you can make smaller rings like we did, or even thin straight chippolatas (which, due to the casings breaking on us a LOT when we made these, we also ended up doing).  Grill, pan-fry, griddle or barbecue your sausages.  Freeze those you don’t need to use straight away.

Enjoy!!!

Gloriously Good (and aside from the stuffing of the casings…Gloriously Simple!) 😉