In many English pubs there is often a dish of Cumberland Sausage and mash. Cumberland is a region of the North West of England that includes the English Lake District and runs all the way north to the Scotish border.
When the days are short and the skies have a constant dreary gloom, there is nothing better than this comfort food dish. Following a walk in the hills you enter the traditional pub where there is a well stoked fire crackling in the corner and the scent of burning wood is combined with the familiar scent of old ale spilt over the centuries is now seasoned into the wooden and flagstone floors. Order a pint of real ale and then sit, rest and order a Cumberland Sausage with mash and onion gravy and you will settle into a zone of comfort and warmth. Once your dish arrives…culinary satisfaction.
The Cumberland Sausage is not made or sold in links, but is coiled up. Unlike other traditional English sausages, the Cumberland is the only 100% meat sausage (although the fact is that about 2% is herbs and seasoning but the point is that it contains no rusk or cereal like other English sausages).
Last year the butchers of Cumbria (which includes the Lake District of Beatrix Potter fame) managed to achieve geographical protected status under European commission rules. This Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status was granted to butchers to use the name “Traditional Cumberland sausage” and so display the PGI mark. The sausage must be produced, processed and prepared in Cumbria and have a meat content of at least 80%. It must include seasoning and be sold in a coil. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cumbria-12777166
As a retired member of The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment (Cumberlands local Regiment), and having lived in the region, I thought I would reproduce this classic sausage here in the United States.
As with many regional meat products each butcher and farmer will have their own recipe and the Cumberland Sausage is the same.
This is my version:
1500g pork shoulder (known as pork butt in the States my understanding is that as this cut comes from the shoulder, the butt designation was due to salting and storage in a butt or barrel rather than a reference to the pigs bottom!) Anyway, onwards with the ingredients.
¼ tsp dried sage
¼ tsp dried rosemary
¼ tsp dried thyme
pinch of cayenne pepper
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
½ tsp of white pepper
2 tsp Kosher, Malvern or Himalayan salt
I like to use pork shoulder as it contains a good ratio of meat to fat.
Cube and weigh the pork butt ensuring that you remove any tough sinew.
Place the meat in a bowl and add the herbs and salt.
Grate the nutmeg then let the mix sit in the fridge for 30 minutes. You also need to place your grinding equipment in the fridge at this time.
Then grind the meat and mix well.
Fill the sausage skins.
Coil the sausage and store in the fridge for at least 24 hours before cooking.
When it comes time to cook the sausage, it can be cooked on the stove in a pan over a medium to low flame or in a 350f oven for 20-30 minutes until cooked through.
Serve it with silky mash, some greens and a sweet onion gravy.