I love scallops and I love sausages; so I guess much the same way I combined pesto & beef to for the Baked Pesto Meatballs recipe, this dish was just waiting in the wings, whispering every now and then, biding its time. Needless to say, any sausages will work, chorizo especially and here, for its stronger flavour, venison sausages.
These homemade venison sausages are extremely easy to make and are very versatile in the way you cook them. You have an option of going with just venison (my favourite) or mixing it half and half with another meat, be it pork, chicken or beef. I personally think it’s a shame to mask the wonderful flavour of the venison with any other meat but if you find the flavour of game too strong, by all means, mix it up in any ratio.
We keep the recipe pretty simple, there is no need for added fat and besides salt and pepper, a little rosemary and some juniper berries are all that’s needed. Rosemary is fabulous in so many things and juniper berries of course, have a natural affinity with venison. Can’t get juniper berries? Don’t fret, leave them out, it’ll still be delicious!
If you have a mincer at home, fab, mince the meat yourself, otherwise, remember to get your butcher to do it. Failing both, place the meat in a food processor and pulse until you get a mince – works perfectly each time.
As mentioned in the Thai sausages post, if I’m making a small batch of sausages, ie, anything less than 20, I don’t bother with the sausage maker, preferring to use a disposable piping bag for stuffing the sausage skins.
Rather than making you go over to the Thai sausages page for the step by step pictures, I’m reposting them here, for easy reference, because the method itself is exactly the same – didn’t make sense replicating the photos. Ok, ok, you got me, shh… I was too lazy!
Ideally, you want to prepare the filling at least 2 hours ahead, to let the flavours develop. You could let the filling rest before making the sausages or fill the casings, then let everything rest again as long as you give the meat & its seasonings some time to get it on, know what I mean? Of course, if you prefer, you can always make patties or kebabs instead!
The scallops? Well they’re easy enough, we sauté them after the sliced sausages, then serve the whole lot together over a bed of rocket leaves or any salad leaves. Makes an excellent starter or even a light lunch.
- 500g venison (or a mix), minced
- 1 tsp salt
- generous amount of freshly ground black pepper
- quarter tsp dried rosemary
- 5 juniper berries, ground
- sausage skin/casings
- bowl of warm water
- disposable piping bag
- 20 scallops (5 per person, or less if you're not feeling generous!)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- juice of half a lemon
- generous pinch of salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- small amount of fresh parsley, chopped
- rocket leaves or any other type of salad leaves, enough for 4
- Mix all the sausage ingredients up in a large bowl. Leave to rest for a couple of hours.
- Soak the sausage skin for at least 10 minutes in hand warm water.
- When you are ready, get a piping bag, snip the end off, about an inch from the end and fill the bag with the sausage meat.
- To make the sausages, slip the casing over the cut end of the piping bag and keep pulling the casing over as much as you can, gathering it back, concertina style. Leave about 6 inches of the casing hanging, to allow you to tie it up at the end.
- Start filling the casing with the sausage meat.
- Keep filling, topping up the piping bag as you go along.
- Cut of the extra casing, again, leaving about 6 inches extra at this end too, then tie off both ends and twist the whole length into portions about 4-6 inches long, making links.
- At this stage, sausages are usually hung up and pricked with a sterile toothpick or something similar. I don’t bother with the hanging up bit but I do prick the sausage skins. Just find the air bubbles and prick them but don't over do it!
- Cook them as you would regular sausages. Barbecue, grill or fry them.
- Slice the sausages up, say about an inch or slightly less. 2 sausages per person is perfect.
- Heat a large frying pan on medium heat. Now if you have a good non stick pan, you shouldn't need any oil but a little oil will only enhance the flavour. Fry the sausages up in 2 or 3 batches, depending on the size of your pan, for about 5 minutes until they're done. Keep aside and keep warm.
- Sauté the scallops in batches in the same frying pan, just about a minute or two on each side. Don't overcrowd as you want to fry not steam.
- While the scallops are cooking, get 4 plates out and place some rocket leaves on each one, ready to go.
- Divide the sausages amongst the 4 plates.
- When all the scallops are done, place them all back into the pan, add the lemon juice and season with the salt and pepper, all very quickly as you don't want them to overcook and toughen.
- Turn the heat off, scatter the parsley all over, mix, then divide the scallops equally amongst the 4 plates, along with any juices there might be in the pan.
Serve immediately. As mentioned, great starter but perfect as a light lunch too.