One of the things we had to learn to make at chef school was boerewors. The excitement of being told we would be having a student braai and party was soon met by the realisation that it would mean us having to make our own boerewors and rolls…from scratch. The joys of being a chef.
I usually have an annual charcuterie day in October. This is because Bosch is a German brand and during October is the annual Oktoberfest. A festival filled with beer and German sausage. Hence me deciding to teach attendees how to make preserves like terrines and pates, sausages like chorizo, biltong and wors as well as various other charcuterie wonders during October each year.
Making wors can be done by one person (which is how I often do it) but it is much better to do it with an extra set of hands, the reason being you’ll need one pair of hands to scoop the meat, the other pair to push it down the machine and 2 pairs of hands to control the flow of the sausage casing.
Speaking of sausage casing. I use casings made from sheep intestines. If you want to know where to get good quality casings your best bet is your local butcher. That’s literally how I got mine, I simply asked the butcher where he sources his and I went directly to the supplier. You can also ask the butcher to order them for you, most are friendly enough and won’t say no.
You will also need a sausage making machine as well as a mincer. Don’t worry, they’re the same machine, you just change the front connectors on the machine. A few of Bosch’s kitchen machines have the option of a meat mincer attachment which can be bought separately. Some of their kitchen machines come with the mincer already in the box (like my Bosch OptiMUM machine). You’ll often see us storing the mincer and nozzle parts for the mincer in the fridge or alternatively putting them in a bath of ice water for a few minutes before we start mincing or making sausages. The reason for this is to make sure the parts are ice cold. This helps move the meat through the machine easier but it also makes sure that the chance of bacteria is at a minimum. When making sausages you want to work quickly and in a cold environment. Always keep a bowl of ice water close by. Also make sure your meat is ice cold as well, this helps in limiting blockages in the mincer (an irritating issue when making sausages) and it also helps in mincing the meat quicker.
Ok, onto the recipe:
- 2kg lean beef, cubed (no bones)
- 1kg Pork shoulder, cubed
- 500g spek, cubed (pork fat – ask your butcher)
- 3tbsp whole coriander seeds
- 1tsp ground cloves
- 3tbsp sea salt
- 1tbsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 2tsp ground allspice
- 1tsp smoked paprika
- 2tsp dried, crushed onion flakes
- 2tsp dried garlic flakes
- 2tsp brown sugar
- 1/2 cup strong red wine vinegar
- Sausage casings, salt rinsed off and soaked in lukewarm water.
- NB step: Clean your beef and pork by cutting off all visible sinew. This helps in mincing the meat more easily. Sinew WILL get stuck in your machine if you don’t do this.
- Mince all the meat and spek through the medium-holed mincer. (You can choose to use the larger or the smaller one but I find that the medium one makes the best sized minced meat.)
- Once done, clean the mincer thoroughly and place the sausage attachments in ice water and allow the machine to cool down before carrying on with the rest of the recipe.
- Place all the spices in a dry pan and toast them off for a minute or 2, this releases the oils in the spices and makes them fragrant. Do not burn them, make sure to continuously stir them.
- Grind the spices with the sugar and salt in a pestle and mortar or a herb grinder.
- Mix the meat and spices together and add the rest of the ingredients (except the sausage casings).
- N.B. Fry off some of the sausage mix to taste if the flavour is to your liking. Season and alter it accordingly
- Carefully push the sausage casing over the sausage horn/flute. You can put as many as you like but I try limit it to 2 casings at a time.
- Tie a knot at the end of the first casing, just at the exit hole of the horn/flute. This is the part I mentioned above, that will require another person to assist.
- Whilst one person feeds the machine at the top the other needs to slowly guide the sausage as the meat starts to push into the casing. The slower your guide it, the larger your wors will be. Be careful though, if you go too slowly the casing will overfill and eventually pop.
- As the sausage comes through the flute, the person guiding it needs to also shape it to ensure the size is uniform. Also look out for air pockets. These can be removed with a prick of a needle, but it’s best to not have any air pockets to begin with. Once the one casing is filled make sure to tie a knot in the end of the wors.
The process takes practice and patience but after doing it a few times it’s quick simple to do.