Ah, the humble (or not so humble) sausage sandwich. Thickly cut bread, wonderful cylinders of porkiness, a bit of salad and some gin!
by John Pope on May 11, 2016
Ladies and Gentlemen, it is #BritishSandwichWeek. Of course, if you aren’t in Britain you should feel free to observe the week anyway because sandwiches are internationally wonderful things.
We are eating a weeks worth of sandwiches and it would be shockingly wrong to skip over our version of a classic… the trusty sausage sandwich. This is not just any old sausage sandwich, we have elevated it to become the P&G sausage sandwich (quite literally as well as nominally).
Gathering the components…
A sandwich needs few things, but they have to be the right things. To make a sausage sandwich of fantastical yumminess you will need:
Soda bread – Ok, you could use any bread you like really, but something white is definitely better than something grainy here. Soda bread works brilliantly, soaks up sausage and tomato juices that attempt to escape and is very quick and easy to bake at home.
PORK! sausages – Use your favourites but make sure they are properly porky, without too much added whatever. If you happen to be one of the 1.6 billion people worldwide who can’t eat pork then substitute beef, but definitely not any wishy washy poultry rubbish.
Mustardy garlic mayonnaise – Home-made and shop bought mayonnaise are completely different beasts. Both are great, but home-made wins hand down (unless it splits!). If you are using shop bought mayo then add a spoonful of mustard to pep it up a bit. I also highly recommend adding a bit of finely ground garlic to whatever mayonnaise you are using to end up with something with a bit of zing.
Some leaves – Should a sausage sandwich contain salad? Some might think not, but I heartily disagree. Not too many leaves but a good selection. The P&G sausage sarnie contains a bit of lettuce, baby spinach and wild rocket.
Tomatoes – Thick slices of the kind of tomato that doesn’t fall to pieces the moment you cut into it. Pick a tomato that smells like a tomato and preferably one that hasn’t been shipped halfway across the world. Tomatoes grow pretty much everywhere, so eat locally grown produce if you can.
GIN! caramelised onions – This is what really elevates this sandwich above the humdrum and into the realms of specialness. Slowly caramelised red onions with a hint of gin. They are easy to make and taste and smell great. The recipe is below so you have no excuses.
The construction shouldn’t really need explanation, you cook the sausages until nicely browned and then put them together with everything else between the slices of bread.
Now back to those onions…
Gin caramelised onions
Caramelising onions is simple, it just takes a bit of patience. Don’t be tempted to turn the heat up to make things go faster, it will most likely end in disaster.
You will need
- Red onions
- Olive oil
Peel, halve and slice a few red onions – the slices should be of medium thickness, too thin and they will just kind of disappear (and burn easily), too thick and they will take an age to cook.
Put a splash of olive oil and a little bit of butter into a heavy-bottomed (this is important!) pot and put it on the hob over a low heat.
Add the sliced onions, stir to coat them in the oil and cook over a low heat. You don’t want to fry them just to let them soften and caramelise in the sugars they naturally contain. Cook very gently for about 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally to stop them from catching.
After about ten minutes season with a bit of salt and a little twist of freshly ground black pepper.
When the onions look completely softened and caramelised, add a healthy slug of gin and stir well, making sure that you scrape the bottom of the pan to deglaze all of the good stuff sitting there.
Cook for a few more minutes until the alcohol has evaporated and the onions have absorbed all of the junipery joy of the gin.
There you have it, how to make a sausage sandwich of superior standing. Go, caramelise, and eat one (or two)!