If you’ve ever ventured to the Southwest of France, you may have been lucky enough to visit the city of Toulouse; a location that’s steeped in history. Although it is a beautiful place to visit, with many sites to see, it’s own version of the humble sausage is what I love about it. The Toulouse sausage is known locally as the saucisse de Toulouse and is well worth trying. Stores make it in abundance, the traditional way to display the meat is coiled up, similar to a Cumberland sausage.
The famed Toulouse sausage has a unique flavor thanks to an exciting combination of pork, wine, garlic, herbs, spices, and bacon bits. The sound of those three ingredients is enough to get most sausage lovers excited. Once you’ve made your gourmet version at home, the traditional way to cook them is in a cassoulet which is a slow-cooked French version of a casserole. Served with duck fat roasted potatoes and a glass of white wine, it is the perfect meal.
Makes 8 sausages. Prep time: 30 minutes.
- 4 lbs boneless pork shoulder
- 4 slices smoked bacon
- 2 Tbsp onion, finely diced
- 2 Tbsp roasted garlic, crushed
- 2 Tbsp fresh basil
- 4 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp cracked pepper
- ½ cup wine, Burgundy is a good option
- 10 feet hog casing (35/38mm)
- Wrap the meat in plastic wrap and place in the freezer to chill for 30 minutes. If it starts to freeze in areas, then remove from the freezer and leave in the fridge until you’re ready to grind it.
- Add a knob of butter to a pan that’s on medium heat and allow it to melt before adding the bacon slices. Cook until crisp then remove from heat and allow to cool before crumbling.
- Chop the pork into small pieces and then feed them, along with the bacon, through a meat grinder with a coarse plate. Use a large bowl to catch the ground meat.
- Add the onion, garlic, basil, parsley, salt, and pepper to the meat and mix with your hands until the ingredients are well combined.
- Pour in the wine and continue mixing until you start to see small white strands. At this stage, the mixture should hold together nicely when forming a ball.
- Take a tablespoon of the meat and cook it in a pan over a medium heat. Once cooked through, taste test and, if necessary, add more seasoning.
- Use a stuffer to feed the mixture into prepared casings. We recommend making 8” links. However, you can make them longer or shorter based on personal prefererence.
Tips for improving Toulouse
- Chilling your pork in the freezer is an essential step in the process. If the meat isn’t cold enough, it will smear in the grinder. The result is your sausage won’t look as good as the store-bought version.
- You can use raw garlic, pressed through a garlic crusher. Alternatively, for a deeper flavor roast the garlic with skin on for 30 minutes at 350°F. Remove from the oven and discard the skins before crushing.
- Using fresh parsley will provide your sausage with a pleasant aroma that you won’t get by using dried parsley. If you can’t get your hands on fresh ingredients, use one third the amount specified in the recipe.
- 35/38mm hog casing is our recommended size; your next best option is 32/35mm casings.
- When chopping up the pork, if it starts to warm up then pop it back in the freezer to chill for 5 minutes. This step is usually only required in hot climates.
How to cook Toulouse sausages
Although these sausages seem to make any food better, a classic cassoulet is a popular recipe choice. Watch this video to find out how it’s done.
Do you enjoy pasta? Combine these sausages with red onion, chili, and pasta to make this lovely meal.
A straightforward option is to make a butter bean casserole that can be cooked in under an hour. This choice will hero the sausages in the dish. Check out a yummy recipe here.
There is such a wide range of sausages that you can attempt to make; it’s a challenge to decide which are worth your time. For those that love French cooking, this is a good option for you. The rich, comforting flavors of garlic, onions, pork, and red wine entwine to produce a hearty sausage. The kind of meat you cook on a cold winter’s night. Everything seems right in the world after a feed of these gems.
Are you looking for something else? You might like to try making merguez, which is a North African sausage that has a spicy kick to it.
Or consider the Czech favorite, jaternice which includes the use of heart and liver.