“ Brand: Sainsbury's / Type: Meat „
Sausages provide a lot of the meat I get in my diet - being a student I am attracted by the low price, and the variety available. The best thing about them is that, so long as you buy the right type, they don't have to be full of junk or even overly fatty. I like to buy sausages from a local butcher, as I think you do get better quality and they tend to be cheaper. When I can't make it to the butcher's however, I find the Sainsbury's Taste the Difference range of sausages generally to be very very good, but the Toulouse variety are among my favourite.
The boring bit - The sausages are sold in packs of 6 from Sainsbury's. They come in a black plastic tray with cling film over the front so you can see the sausages, and the card wrapped around the front has lovely pictures of fresh natural ingredients (the cynic in me says that's to fool you that they're better for you than they really are). They are NOT great for you - they have over 25g of fat per 100g, which works out at 11.6g per sausage...yikes. But they are VERY tasty and definitely a once in a while indulgence. Toulouse sausages (named after the town in France from where they originate) are ground pork sausages with added red wine, garlic and smoked bacon, making them a very rich, strong tasting variety of sausage. They are made with 91% meat, the other 9% being seasonings, garlic and herbs - no breadcrumbs, flour or nasties in these babies! They usually cost just over £2.50, but are often on offer (at the moment for £2, but more normally 2 packs for £4.50).
I think these sausages are best either simply grilled or BBQ'd (or fried if you prefer), or used in casseroles and stews. Of course along with duck legs they form the base of the classic French recipe of Cassoulet, which is a firm favourite in my household. Whilst it may seem a little extravagent to be using such wonderful sausages in a stew, the fact that their flavour infuses into the stew means you can cut things like bacon out of the recipe, as you get all the flavour you need from the sausages themselves. If you decide to grill, fry or oven cook these - be sure to reserve the liquid that comes off them during cooking as it makes the gravy taste absolutely AMAZING!
The sausages, when cooked, take on a lovely colour, deeper than most because of the wine and bacon - giving the meat a reddish pinkish colour when you cut into them. The smell is very strong of garlic and is really very pleasant. The taste is not as salty as you get with a lot of sausages and in fact with a lot of varieties of Toulouse sausages which is nice - the wine and the bacon really come out and the flavour is really rich and complex. The texture is really great too, something a little more solid and meaty than a lot of sausages, because of the good quality pork and large chunks of bacon.
I wouldn't recommend these for recipes like Toad in the Hole however, as their flavour can be slightly overpowering - better to stick with a more traditional variety - Lincolnshire, or Cumberland.
Overall, these are very hearty and filling sausages with a touch of class and an unusual flavour which can add zing to an ordinary meal of sausage and mash, or form the basis of delicious French cuisine.
My fiancé's Mum shops at Tesco and usually buys a big bag of frozen sausages. I'm not a big fan of these because they don't have any real flavour and I find that they're not very meaty. So I would rather pay more for a decent sausage and eat fewer of them, as I believe in quality over quantity when it comes to something like sausages, as you never know what's in them!
The Tesco sausages are £1.99 for 12 sausages, which works out at roughly 16p per sausage. The Sainsbury's Taste The Difference Sausages are usually £2.59 for a pack of 6, which works out around 43p per sausage. However, they're currently on special offer at £2.00 a pack, so that's only 33p per sausage.
So just think about that for a minute. If you serve up a couple of sausages with some nice mash, peas and gravy, that will probably cost less than £1 per person. To me, serving up a really meaty flavoursome sausage for dinner is on a par with serving up a nice bit of steak or a lamb chop, but it's considerably cheaper.
I know my fiancé's Mum buys the big bag of Tesco sausages because they're cheaper and so she can afford to give us 3 or 4 sausages for dinner. Well I personally would rather eat 1 Sainsbury's Taste The Difference Toulouse sausage, than 3 or 4 of the second-rate Tesco ones! So that's why when my fiancé and I were in Sainsburys recently I bought us some of these sausages as a nice 'treat' and they were gobbled up!
For a start, they're packed with so much flavour. They contain 79% pork and 12% bacon, which is an excellent quantity of meat. The remaining 9% of the sausage is made up of fresh parsley, French red wine, salt, fresh garlic, black pepper, some preservatives, fresh marjoram and fresh sage.
The aroma of garlic and herbs is very strong in these sausages and can be smelt through the packaging, which is basically a plastic tray that has been shrink-wrapped and sheathed with a small cardboard sleeve. Thumbs up to Sainsburys for no unnecessary packaging, but you might want to store these sausages in another plastic bag to prevent them stinking out your whole fridge! You can also freeze these sausages on the day of purchase and consume within 1 month. To cook they should be thoroughly defrosted and eaten within 24 hours.
So onto the cooking.....
You can either grill them for 12-15 minutes or cook them in the oven for 25-30 minutes. We prefer to grill them as it's easier to turn them frequently for even browning and it's quicker. I noticed that hardly any fat came out from the sausages, which is a good sign of a quality sausage.
They looked really appetising once they were cooked, as they turn lovely golden brown and they withhold their shape very nicely too. I would also say that each banger is a good size, even once it's been cooked, as quite often the cheaper ones shrink after all the nasty fat has leaked out of them.
When you cut into them, there is a reassuring amount of resistance to your knife as you're essentially cutting through real meat and not a load of 'fillers' like flour, added fat and thickeners.
So the sausages taste really meaty, but you also get the flavour of garlic and herbs. I would say that the garlic flavour is quite strong, and that's coming from someone who uses it a lot! So if you're not a fan of garlic or big flavours then I wouldn't recommend these. I can't say that I could pick out the taste of the red wine, but I'm sure it helped to give these sausages a real depth of flavour.
Each sausage contains:
- 11.6g fat (of which 4.2g is saturated fat)
- 0.67g salt
Compared to other sausages, these aren't the healthiest in terms of the amount of calories and fat content, but I think they are better for you because they are made from proper meat. Plus you're not going to be eating them everyday, so a little bit of what you fancy does you no harm!