“ Brand: Quorn „
~~LOOKING FOR A VEGGIE SAUSAGE~~
As I don't eat meat myself but have to cook for a family that mostly do, I tend to try to buy 'fake' meat products so that choosing the family menus is simpler. I much prefer, if I am cooking pies, spaghetti bolognese, lasagne, cottage pie etc. to be able to cook the meat version and possibly a meat free version alongside this. This, for me, makes housekeeping and shopping easier and also, the actual cooking; therefore making life just a little easier all round.
If I didn't cook for the omnivores in my home then I probably wouldn't often eat what I call 'fake' meat products and would perhaps be more adventurous with my vegetarian food but they DO like their meat. For me the eating of meat just doesn't feel right but I have never tried to inflict my views upon my family or indeed, my friends.
But I have eaten meat as a child but I lapsed in my meat free diet, due to family pressure, some years back. But whenever I ate meat I never liked anything that I consumed to actually look like meat, if you know what I mean? A bit of gristle on my plate would certainly have meant that I was unable to finish the meal.
Because I have been a meat eater in the past I can still remember what meat tastes like and I admit to having even enjoyed eating it but for many years now I have abstained. But I do think if I had always been vegetarian then I probably wouldn't look for meat substitutes that resemble meat. However, I did eat it and I do still cook it for others.
One item of food that is nearly always tucked away in my fridge or freezer is sausages of both the meat and meat-free type. The meat variety is usually the pork type of banger.
I wouldn't say that sausages are my family's favourite meal but they are definitely a useful item to have to hand and in my opinion are also quite versatile.
As I don't eat meat I have tried over the years to find a tasty meatless version of the good old sausage. I will say that until recently finding a successful mimic to the meaty (debatable I suppose as meat content can vary and sometimes be very low in today's sausage) banger I tend to prefer a cheese and onion or at least a savoury version. I find that the imitation sausages don't usually taste very close to meat and can often be quite dry. But a few months ago I first saw Quorn Chef's Selection 'Best of British' sausages and these have changed my mind. Before trying these I think I must have tried almost all of the veggie sausages available from the supermarkets in my area of England. My favourites which mimic meat sausages were from Quorn and were either the Cumberland or Lincolnshire style but, I didn't exactly 'love' these and found them a bit on the dry side, although I thought that they made a decent enough meal overall. But on seeing this newer variety from Quorn, which emulate the classic British pork sausage, I decided to give them a try and so they were added to my shopping trolley.
These vegetarian sausages were found on the chilled meat-free section in Sainsbury's. They usually tend have quite a good use by date on them and at home can be kept in the fridge. I sometimes freeze them but the cooking instructions supplied on the pack are for cooking from chilled. It's simple enough though to defrost them in the fridge or in the microwave.
These sausages are easily recognisable as a Quorn product being packaged in the usual black plastic tray, covered in a clear plastic with a cardboard sleeve in orange and black, showing a small picture of the product, going around the packaging. The sleeve supplies information on ingredients, cooking and storage instructions. It contains four sausages which may not seem many but they are rather large for veggie sausages and are definitely filling. Also, unlike meat sausages, they don't shrink or shrivel and remain pretty much the same size after cooking.
Quorn Best of British sausages seem to be best cooked from chilled, although pack instructions say to increase cooking time by two minutes if cooking from frozen. For other methods of cooking instructions are given from chilled and so if they have been frozen then will need to be first defrosted at room temperature or in the microwave.
These 'bangers' can be cooked on the hob, in the oven, grilled or even barbecued. I haven't tried them on a barbecue yet but hopefully will be taking some to a family BBQ next month. I won't say weather permitting as this barbecue takes place (under gazebos if necessary) every June, come rain or shine.
I have grilled and oven cooked these sausages but usually choose to fry them gently in a little low fat veggie suitable oil. When cooking these sausages they really do look like the 'real' thing. Of course, like me, you may not especially want them to look like real sausages but I did think that for any meat-eaters looking for a healthier option than their usual meaty sausage this could be a big advantage.
GRILLING: 12 minutes (14 if cooking from frozen)
HOB: 12 minutes
OVEN: 15 minutes (13 for fan assisted oven)
BARBECUE: 10 minutes
Best of British don't take too long to cook; I would say slightly less time is required when cooking than with meat sausages. I find that is important with meat free items not to overcook or they tend to quickly become too dry.
I find it is quite difficult to tell the difference between meat sausages, such as Walls' or Richmond, for examples, and these, regarding their appearance when raw and when cooked.
I find that one thing that's not the same as a 'real' sausage (other than it not being made with meat!) is that the outside doesn't cut quite the same; not quite so cleanly, and I find it needs to be pulled at a little with a knife. But the outside browns when cooked and does look like a meaty sausage.
~~BANGERS AND MASH?~~
I think sausages are versatile and consider them to be a comfort food. Quorn 'Best of British' are no exception. I have cooked them with the fry up type of meal (or oven or grilled) of chips, egg and beans. They are also good for 'Toad in the Hole.' I find them ideal to serve with a jacket potatoes with perhaps baked beans or corn but... my favourite way of serving them up is with mashed potatoes, fried onion, peas and gravy...lovely!
I honestly find these sausages are the closest that I have tasted to 'real' meat sausages. They taste very like thick pork sausages but with the advantage being that they are low in fat and smoother in texture; no bits of gristle in these bangers! In my opinion, the texture could be mistaken for good quality meat sausages. I find that the texture of these is perhaps 'looser' than with Quorn Cumberland or Lincolnshire or indeed other Quorn sausages and this makes them taste more succulent. They are tender and moist, just like a sausage should be.
~~A HEALTHY OPTION?~~
As I have mentioned these sausages are gristle free as they are made from Quorn (Mycoprotein) which is low in fat and high in protein. They aren't really the lowest Quorn product in terms of fat content but are a healthier option than a meat sausage. One Best of British sausage contains 5.7g per sausage of which only 1.2g is saturated fat and contains 6.6g of protein. Richmond sausages (per 49g of grilled sausage) contain 7.8g of fat and 4.0g is saturated and 5.7g of protein.
Best of British can be kept in the fridge or frozen on the day of purchase and then kept for up to three months.
I find two sausages are enough for my meal as they are quite filling (I would have eaten three when I ate meat sausages). I will use just the one pack if cooking these for myself and my son's fiancée, also a vegetarian. If only cooking these for myself I will remove two from the pack and then re-package the remaining two sausages and freeze them if I have taken them from the fridge or replace still frozen into the freezer if they are already frozen.
I have included this information as I believe that most consumers considering purchasing these sausages will be either vegetarian or those looking for healthy food options and will probably be interested in what is contained within them to ascertain whether they are worth buying.
Mycoprotein (37%), Water, Textured Wheat Protein (Wheat Flour, Wheat Protein, Wheat Starch, Gelling Agent: Sodium Alginate), Vegetable Oil, Rusk (Breadcrumb [Wheat Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast]), Onion, Flavouring, Seasoning (Salt, Yeast Extract, Wheat Flour, Dextrose, Preservatives: Sodium Sulphite, Ascorbic Acid; Spice Extracts, Vegetable Oil), Rehydrated Free Range Egg White, Milk Proteins, Roasted Barley Malt Extract Contains Egg, Milk, Barley & Wheat Gluten & Sulphites
Quorn Best of British does contain egg, milk, barley and wheat gluten and sulphates. Mycoprotein is high in protein and fibre which may cause problems in some who are intolerant.
~~WHERE TO BUY/PRICE~~
Quorn Chef's Selection Best of British sausages are available from many stores including the following:
TESCO £2.20 ( ANY 3 FOR 2 on Quorn products valid until 04/06)
As someone who has eaten meat I won't patronise and tell you that these Quorn sausages taste exactly like meaty sausages or that you would be fooled into thinking they are pork sausages. However, I think some people could be fooled, especially if these were served in a sandwich or baguette and accompanied with tomatoes, onions or sauce. The same would go with the sausages served in a casserole or used in a dish such as Toad in the Hole.
But no, they aren't exactly the same, yet I can honestly say that so far I find them to be the closest meat-free option to a traditional pork sausage that I have tried.
I think these sausages can be the basis for a tasty meat free meal.