Soak the sausage casings in cold water for at least one hour, or up to 24 hours. Change the water at regular intervals: every 20-30 minutes for a one hour soak, or every hour or so for a longer one. Keep refrigerated until needed.
500g/1lb of sausage meat will fill 1.5m/5" of casing. Both natural (gut) or artificial (collagen) casings can be found at the butcher's.
Chop the pork shoulder and fat into small chunks, removing any sinew or gristle. Using a meat grinder, mince the pork meat and fat to the desired coarseness. refrigerate until needed.
If you do not have a meat grinder, use a food processor on pulse mode, and mince by small handfuls.
Pick the sage leaves, and chop into fine slivers.
Remove the root end of the garlic cloves, peel, and mince to a pulp.
Season the sausage meat with the sage, garlic, salt and pepper. gently knead in the bread crumbs.
Drain the sausage casings, and feed onto the sausage funnel of the meat grinder. Knot the end of the casing. Fill the grinder's hopper with the sausage meat, and start filling at a low speed.
If you do not have a sausage funnel, place a 20mm plain tip in a piping bag, and feed the casing onto the tip. Fill the piping bag with the pork mix, and make sausages! you may need a few extra hands at this stage.
To form individual sausages, tightly twist the filled casing at the desired lengths.
Refrigerate the sausages until needed for up to three days. If you want to keep them for longer, either freeze them or poach them until fully cooked. Poached sausages will keep for 3 more days; they can be oan-fried or roasted until browned and heated through.
Top and tail the red onions, cut in half lengthwise and peel. Use a sharp knife or a madoline to shred the onions top to bottom into thin slivers.
Remove the root end of the garlic, smash and peel, but do not chop.
Melt the butter in a wide pan, then add the onions, garlic cloves, thyme and salt. Sweat the onions over a medium-high heat until they turn translucent. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan with a lid, and leave the onions to sweat out for about 15 minutes.
When the time is up, the onions should have be limp and reduced in volume. Add the sugar and pepper to the mix, and turn up the heat to medium. Stir contantly until the sugar begins to caramelise.
Add the port, and leave to bubble away until the whole becomes a sticky marmalade.
Remove from the heat and allow it to cool. The marmalade should be served warmed or at room temperature.
In an airtight jar, the onion confit should keep for at least ten days.
«This is basic sausage recipe: vary the flavour by changing the herbs or spices; adding chopped apples and onions; or even mixing meats.»