Glamorgan Sausage with an Italian twist.
If you are Welsh speaking you will know them as Selsig Morgannwg if not then they are known as Glamorgan sausage. Commonly they are known as poor man’s sausage because of the lack of any meat and they also use up any stale bread that you may have. If you don’t know them then you are missing a treat. Glamorgan sausage are a traditional Welsh dish made from breadcrumbs, leeks and cheese. Traditionally the cheese used was Glamorgan cheese, a cheese make from the milk of Glamorgan Cows. Sadly there are few Glamorgan cows remaining today making it very hard, if not impossible to find. So the tendency is to use Caerphilly cheese which has a very similar texture and taste.
Popular opinion suggests that Glamorgan sausage originates from the second world war but in fact they go back much further in history than that. George Henry Barrow was an nineteenth century author and travel writer. In his travel book ‘Wild Wales’ which was published in 1862 he enthuses about his stay in a inn at Brynaman, on the side of Black Mountain in the Brecon Beacons. This is what he had to say “I put on my things, which were still not half dry, and went down into the little parlour, where I found an excellent fire awaiting me, and a table spread for breakfast. The breakfast was delicious, consisting of excellent tea, buttered toast, and Glamorgan sausages, which I really think are not a whit inferior to those of Epping.”
Epping Sausages where similar to Glamorgan in that they where encased in breadcrumbs rather that a normal sausage casing. The difference was they were made of pork with herbs and spices. They were considered a delicacy in Barrows time so for him to compare Glamorgan sausage to them was a compliment indeed.
Glamorgan sausage are fried up and then can be served either with a cooked breakfast or as a main meal with ‘stwnch’ and gravy. Stwnch is made by mashing boiled potatoes with boiled Swede or peas. Glamorgan sausage having no meat content in them make a very good vegetarian alternative to other sausage. Traditionally vegetarianism was not the purpose of the lack of meat, this was down to cost more than anything else and are eaten by many of the meat loving people of Wales.
Although I do love Glamorgan sausage I decided one day I was going to give them a twist. Henllan is a village in the Teifi Valley, South Wales. Apart from it’s tourist railway, Henllan is famous for the Italian WW2 Prisoner of war camp situated on the outskirts of the village. Italian prisoners of war were housed here until Italy surrendered and became part of the allied forces in 1943. The prisoners were then allowed to travel back to Italy. Of course a few Italian soldiers did marry our local girls and settle in the area. This is what gave me the idea of taking a Welsh classic like Glamorgan sausage and giving it an Italian influence. I have not replaced the leeks or the Caerphilly cheese. I have kept the Glamorgan sausage as it is but with a few additions. I like Henllan sausage with mash potato and onion gravy but you can serve them any way you like in the same way as their more illustrious forbearer from Glamorgan.
- -- Sausage --
- 1 tsp Olive oil
- 50g leeks, finely sliced (about ½ large leek)
- 1 clove garlic (crushed)
- 30g Sundried Tomatoes (chopped)
- 70g fresh breadcrumbs,
- 1 ½ tsp Basil
- 2 egg yolks, (keep the whites)
- 1 tbsp Tomato Puree
- 117g caerphillly cheese (or Lancashire or cheddar)
- 1 ½ tbsp milk
- -- Coating--
- 70g Breadcrumbs
- 1 tsp Thyme
- 1 tbsp Grated Parmesan
- 2 egg whites
- 50g flour
- Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and sweat the leeks over a medium heat until well softened. Add the garlic and continue to cook for about 2 minutes. Season well with salt, pepper.
- Mix 70 g breadcrumbs with the herbs, and beat the egg yolks and tomato puree together. Crumble the cheese into the breadcrumb mixture and stir in the leeks and garlic followed by the sun dried tomatoes and tomato egg yolk. Season, mix well and add the milk.
- Shape into six sausages (damp hands will make this easier) and chill for half an hour.
- Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark four. Meanwhile, whisk the egg whites until frothy. Mix the herbs and Parmesan together, Put the egg whites, flour and breadcrumb mix on separate plates, and roll each sausage in the flour, then whites, then breadcrumb mix to coat.
- Spray a frying pan with olive oil and when hot, add the sausages and cook until just golden on each side. Transfer to a baking sheet and cook for about 20 minutes in the oven, until richly golden. Serve immediately.