Give Me Five: Sausage and sauerkraut baguette

This is one luxury hotdog

 

This is a luxury hot dog and it tastes amazing. There has been a trend over the past few years for food that has been considered trashy in the past to be given a gourmet makeover.

The traditional burger in a bun has been transformed to an artisan brioche with a hand-packed, flame-grilled Wagyu burger. Artisan burger joints are popping up all over the country, which is fantastic. Most also offers vegetarian options and a host of sides.

In London, Bubbledogs even matches its various hotdogs with champagnes, making for an incredibly luxurious lunch or dinner.

For this week’s recipe, seek out one of the many great handmade sausages that are available from the wealth of master butchers here in Ireland.

As always, the final dish will only be as good as the ingredients used. I got my Bramley apple and pork sausages from Jack McCarthy in Kanturk. A sparkling cider, such as Stonewell Esterre or Craigies Dalliance, is the perfect accompaniment for this meal.

Incredible real bread is being made here in Ireland. Pick a fresh, crusty baguette or go for a softer, more traditional brioche-style bun.

Like a traditional hotdog served from a cart on the sidewalks of New York, I like to top my hot dog with sauerkraut. I have fallen in love with fermented foods over the past few months. It’s an incredible art. Mixing cabbage with sea salt creates a delicious fermented treat. The lactic-acid bacteria and yeasts that are naturally found on the cabbage leaves ferment the sugars, giving it a distinctive sour taste and a long shelf life.

Fermented foods have become really popular lately, not just for their taste but for the probiotic goodness they provide. Probiotic bacteria support our immune systems, so it is fantastic to get children eating foods like this. Kefir, kombucha and kimchi are now all readily available.

There are also a few local sauerkraut producers that are worth seeking out. The Cultured Food Company in Skibbereen makes amazing sauerkraut; I particularly love their juniper mix. Cultured Kitchen in Dublin makes amazing kimchi, so seek it out in the fridge section. Raw, live ferments are the ones you need. A pasteurised sauerkraut will simply be cabbage in a jar with none of the beneficial bacteria.

It is also really enjoyable to make your own. Buy some real sauerkraut first so you know what taste and texture you are looking for. To make it, use two heads of organic cabbage and shred it finely in a food processor. Then massage with two tablespoons of sea salt to break down the fibres and release all the natural juices.

As with all preserving, you need everything you are using to be spotlessly clean to ensure you only encourage the good bacteria to thrive.

Once the cabbage is packed firmly into the jar, use a weight (I use a jam jar filled with baking beans) to make sure every piece of cabbage is submerged in the brine; then cover with a muslin cloth.

The mix will happily bubble away at the back of the cupboard for up to three weeks, but taste it every few days to make sure it’s on track. There are fantastic resources online that will guide you in more detail, as it can seem complicated to make at first.

You can also add a variety of things to your sauerkraut to make it your own. My personal favourite is fennel and red cabbage, as I have used here. Coriander seeds, juniper berries or cumin could also be used. I have started to mix different vegetables in with my cabbages, too, such as carrot, beetroot or fennel. The possibilities are endless.

SAUSAGE AND SAUERKRAUT BAGUETTE: SERVES 6

The five ingredients

  • 1 large baguette
  • Sauerkraut
  • Salad leaves
  • Mustard
  • 6 good-quality sausages

Method

Grill the sausages until done, turning regularly. Divide the baguette into six rolls. Slice open horizontally and spread with butter (this is a butter lover’s touch, but is not necessary: mayonnaise or relish can be used instead).

Layer salad leaves in each roll, then add the sausages, a generous helping of sauerkraut and a little mustard.

Serve immediately before the leaves wilt.

  • Every Thursday, we’ll tweet the five ingredients from @lillyhiggins and @irishtimeslife so you can have them ready for Friday. Email givemefive@irishtimes.com with your suggestions for recipes
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