Glamorgan sausages are a simple, easy Welsh specialty. These vegetarian sausages were born out of poverty — a way to make readily available ingredients stand in for more expensive meat. Amazingly, I have had non-vegetarians try this, and they swear I have given them meat sausages! They are filling and rich, and incredibly forgiving. You can add or subtract ingredients as available. Though the base of breadcrumbs, eggs, cheese and onions should stay, if you have some lovely sautéed mushrooms, or a few shreds of ruby red sun dried tomato, or some deep green sautéed spinach or kale — by all means add!
I try and use leeks (for their Welsh-ness, and for their soft nuttiness when braised in butter) instead of an onion, but if I don’t find any leeks in the shops, an onion – red, white, yellow, or even spring – will do. I use cheddar here, but if you want, substitute it with Caerphilly or another kind of melting cheese. Parmesan gives it a sharp richness, feta makes a thicker smoother mouth feel. Try changing the breadcrumbs – from white to sourdough to nutty brown, and see how the taste (and texture) changes. White bread adds lightness, while brown makes these sausages much more dense and thick.
These sausages are amazingly flexible as they can take on the identity of many different ethnic cooking — feta and olives or spinach with the basic recipe makes them Greek; sun dried tomatoes and parmesan delivers a sunny taste of Italy; sesame seeds and oil, a teaspoon of miso paste, some soy and seaweed elevate these to an Asian favorite.
I serve these almost exclusively for dinner, but they would be fantastic as a Sunday brunch, with fried or scrambled eggs, mushrooms, and some home-made baked beans. A Sunday fry-up beyond compare!
These are the version of Glamorgan sausages that I make all the time. I add portobello mushrooms for a meaty texture and taste. They don’t really stand out, but the sausages taste better for them. I make the base ahead of time, a day or so, and store it in my very hardworking fridge! This enables the flavors to meld. I also make my own breadcrumbs – ridiculously easy, and store them in the freezer, or an airtight container.
I know it seems like a lot of work, but if you do things in stages, and a few things ahead of time, its a simple matter of assembling all the ingredients and frying the sausages up. I cannot tell you how delicious these are – the cheese melts through the sausages, making them stick to the pan and burn a little. Oh the joys of burnt cheese! And their hearty, meaty texture is a filling and fulfilling meal.
This recipe feeds about 12 people +/- so feel free to halve it if you are not dealing with hoards. It doubles well too! Makes approximately 48 sausages.
- 2 cups leeks, white tips only, quartered, sliced, and washed in salted water
- 2 cups portobello mushrooms, peeled, and roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon or so of aged syrupy balsamic vinegar, if you have it – if not, you could use a glugg of wine
- Approximately 1/2 cup heavy cream
Prepare the leeks and mushrooms. Wash the leeks well in salted water, and let them stand for a minute while you peel the mushrooms and chop the mushrooms. I always chop and stem the mushrooms. My sister once had a terrible reaction to a mushroom dish because they weren’t cleaned well enough – I would rather go through the process of peeling off the top layer then not cleaning them well enough. Good mushrooms always come with dirt!
Over a medium heat, in a medium to large saucepan, melt the butter and olive oil together. Once hot, add the leeks all at once. If you’ve washed them and left them standing, they will still have water clinging to them. This is good! The leeks will almost braise in the pan, the water mixing with the butter and oil. Cook until the leeks are glossy and shining. Add the mushrooms, and continue to cook, mixing well, until the mushrooms let go of their liquid. Add the garlic and stir well.
You don’t want everything to cook down to a mush as you will be cooking again when you fry the sausages, so this is a very quick process.
Once everything is combined well, add salt and pepper, and a bit of balsamic vinegar if you have it. The balsamic will deepen the taste of both the leeks and the mushrooms without insisting that you acknowledge it – very loving and supportive. Its addition gives the other flavors an added dimension.
Combine everything well, and add a couple big glugs of heavy cream (or if you don’t have any, add milk). Incorporate well, and let it bubble and thicken for a minute or so, melding the juices of the leeks and mushrooms with the cream., and then take off the heat. If you are making the sausages the next day, let cool, and then store in the fridge, covered.
By the by, this makes a phenomenal base for a leek and mushroom soup or pie. If you are making soup, blitz in blender with milk and/or vegetable stock, and reheat, adding herbs to taste. If you are making a pie, use bigger cuts of both the leeks and mushrooms. Yummy either way!
- 2 loaves of bread – at least 2 days old. I usually use a mix of brown and white. I used a Swiss egg bread and a German brown sourdough for this recipe, but you can use whatever you want!
- 2 croissants (for richness – very optional!)
Tear the bread in to large pieces, and toast, for about ten minutes, in a low (100 C) oven. You want it to be crisp, not colored or burnt. This deepens the flavor of the bread, and makes sure its very dry. Dry bread sucks up the flavors of the leeks, cheese and mushrooms really well. Allow the bread to cool once it has been toasted.
Pulse in food processor until bread has become breadcrumbs. Store in an airtight container, or the freezer until needed.
This makes much more than you will need, but breadcrumbs are a wonderful resource to have. You can use them for a stuffing, for a cake in lieu of flour if you don’t have any, to thicken sauces, as a coating when frying. The possibilities are endless.
Also, obviously, you can make this with storebought breadcrumbs – I have used a mix of breadcrumbs and panko and its been superb!
- 6 – 7 eggs, beaten
- Base of leeks & mushrooms
- 6 – 8 cups of breadcrumbs
- 2 cups of grated cheddar
- 1 cup of grated parmesan
- ½ cup washed chopped Italian parsley
In a large bowl, whip the eggs together. Add all the leek & mushroom base, and beat together well. Take off all your rings! Add 6 cups of breadcrumbs and mix well with your hands. Taste for salt.
Wash your hands well, and grate the cheeses over this mixture. Then, using your hands again, mix thoroughly. Taste. You may need more breadcrumbs if its too cheesy. You can also add a little cream or milk to make the mixture come together. Mix in the chopped parsley.
Refrigerate for at least half an hour.
Heat your oven at its lowest possible temperature. Take a baking tin, and put a cookie rack on top of the tin. You will put your sausages here as you fry them to keep them warm.
Take another baking tin and line it with baking paper. Take the sausage mixture out of the fridge, and with wet hands, form sausages. You can make round ones, though I prefer the traditional sausage shape. Probably about 4 inches x 2 inches wide. Line the sausages up on the baking tin lined with paper. As the tin fills up, cover the layer of sausages with more baking paper, and continue.
- About ¼ cup olive oil
- A non stick pan
- A few teaspoons of Fleur de sel or Maldon salt to finish
Up to 2 hours before serving, start frying your sausages. Ensure that your olive oil is in a pouring measuring cup and use it very sparingly. A little drizzle is all you need, and a medium hot flame. If you have a large pan, you should be able to get 9 sausages at once. I try and flip each sausage three times, so I usually get a sausage chain going, concentrating on 3 sausages at a time, letting the other 6 brown up.
You will see the sausages brown on the outside, and cook firm inside. The cheese will melt out and brown. The scent is superlative!
As the sausages are cooked, blot the oil off on paper towels, and transfer to the baking tin cookie rack in the oven. Sprinkle over some Fleur de sel if you have it, or Maldon salt. Remember to keep sprinkling sausages with a tiny bit of salt as you add them to the oven.
The frying process should take 40 minutes to an hour for approximately 48 – 50 sausages.
Photo copyright U-En Ng