The historic Welsh county of Glamorgan has long been famous for its sausages – and not just the cheesy ones. Described by one Victorian traveller as “not a whit inferior to those of Epping” (once also known as a sausage hotspot), the Glamorgan variety were originally made with pigs fattened on waste from the area’s equally well-known dairy industry. Though these cheese-based versions are a more recent creation, dating from the middle of the last century, I think they’re not a whit inferior to any meat-based example.
Prep 20 min
Cook 25 min
175g caerphilly, or vegetarian alternative (see step 1)
1 large leek (100g)
Salt and pepper
Nutmeg, to taste
1½ tsp English mustard (see step 3)
2 tbsp milk
A few thyme stalks
170g fresh breadcrumbs, preferably a mixture of white and brown
1 A word on the cheese
Both the Glamorgan cow, and the area’s once-thriving dairy industry, are now much reduced, and Glamorgan cheese has gone the way of so many other regional varieties. Happily, mild, crumbly caerphilly is said to be similar – but vegetarians beware: it’s often made with animal rennet, so substitute lancashire, Welsh cheddar or similar as required.
2 Chop, wash and fry the leek
Wash and finely slice the leek, taking care to rinse out any dirt and grit lurking between the layers.
Melt half the butter in a frying pan on a medium-low heat, then sweat the leeks, lightly seasoned with salt, pepper and nutmeg, until they collapse into soft ribbons, ensuring they don’t brown or crisp.
3 Mix the egg yolks, mustard and milk
Separate the eggs, setting the whites aside in a shallow dish for later. Beat the yolks with the mustard and milk – note that, though I prefer the fieriness of the English kind, any mustard will work here, though if you’re using a very mild example, you might want to add a pinch of cayenne pepper or similar as well. Crumble or coarsely grate the cheese, depending on its texture.
4 Mix with the thyme, cheese and breadcrumbs
Strip off the leaves from the thyme sprigs, then finely chop them and put in a large bowl with 100g breadcrumbs (save the rest to coat the sausages later). Stir in the cheese and leeks, scraping the frying pan so you don’t lose any of their buttery juices, then add the egg yolk, milk and mustard mix to the bowl, too.
5 Finish the filling
Season the mixture lightly with more salt, pepper and nutmeg, then stir until you can see no more dry patches of breadcrumbs; the mix should just hold together when you try to shape a little into a ball. If it’s too dry, add a splash more milk; and if too wet, add a few more breadcrumbs.
6 Test, taste and shape
Melt a little more butter in the frying pan on a medium-high heat, pinch a small piece of the mixture into a ball and fry for a couple of minutes on each side, until golden. Taste and adjust the seasoning of the rest of the sausage mix, if necessary, then use damp hands to shape it into six plump sausages (more like croquettes).
7 Chill for at least an hour
Put the sausages on a plate and chill for at least half an hour, if possible (and for up to a couple of days, if you want to get ahead). You could cook them immediately, but they’ll hold together better if they’re good and cold. Once you’re ready to cook, heat the oven to 180C (160C fan)/350F/gas 4.
8 Flour, eggwash and crumb …
Put the flour on a small plate and the remaining breadcrumbs on a second plate. Whisk the egg whites in their shallow bowl, until frothy, then roll each sausage in turn in the flour, egg white and breadcrumbs to coat, shaking off any excess. (It’s always easier to do this with just one hand to keep the other clean.)
9 … fry gently, then bake
Melt the remaining butter in a frying pan on a medium-high heat. Once it’s hot, lay in the sausages and cook until lightly golden on one side, making sure the breadcrumbs are all coated in the melted butter. Turn to brown the other side.
Now transfer to a lightly greased baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, until richly golden. Serve immediately.