Sundays are typically quiet affairs where I spend much of the day cleaning and generally preparing for the week ahead. It is also the day I cook myself the meals I need for the coming work week, so much of my Sunday afternoons are spent in the kitchen. In my Sunday Dinner series, I highlight some of my culinary concoctions. This week’s dinner is…
Newfoundland-Style Pickled Sausages
Full disclosure: this isn’t dinner so much as it is a side dish, but something that I’ve been itching to make for some time. Growing up in Ontario, we would often find pickled sausages at local supermarkets and I’ve tried for years to recreate them, without much success.
My father, in particular, takes to pickling foods later in the fall in preparation for the harsh winter that would follow. He used to have a bookshelf in the basement of mason jars full of pickled foods, including sausages, carrots, eggs, asparagus, onions and wild garlic. He had once told me that he made them with vinegar and mustard seeds, and while they were good, they were never quite the same as the ones I used to buy at Gosselin’s supermarket in my hometown.
It was only recently that I discovered that pickled sausage was a dish introduced to Canada by Newfoundland and Labrador. Once I discovered that, the Internet opened itself up to a number of different recipes for me to try. I incorporated what I had already known about my father’s pickled sausage recipe into one of the recipes I found online and came up with my own unique version, which tastes as good as the sausages I used to buy as a child.
For anyone living in warmer climates, pickling foods might come as a bit of a mental shock. One theory I have, which is purely based on my own experience, is that pickled foods, such as pickled sausages, bring with them an artificial feeling of warmth in the colder climates of the Canadian winter.
2 packages of beef sausages (12 sausages per pack)
3 cups white vinegar
2 cups hot water
0.5 tsp sea salt
6 bay leaves
2 tsp pickling spice
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 onion, sliced
- In a large pot, add sausages to boiling water and boil for about ten minutes. You will know your sausages are ready when they begin to float to the top of the pot.
- In another pot or saucepan, add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Remove from heat when it starts to boil and let stand for about 5 minutes. You will begin to notice a tinge of red colouring to the mixture from the pepper flakes.
- Drain hot water from sausages and slice sausages into thirds, placing them into a bowl.
- Prepare four mason jars:
- Fill the mason jars full of boiling water and let sit for 3-5 minutes. Immerse lids in boiling water as well for 3-5 minutes. This will sanitize the jars.
- Use tongs to handle the jars and lids, placing them on a table or counter.
- Insert sausages into the mason jars. Some prefer to place them evenly throughout the jars, but I prefer a more chaotic, throw-them-in type approach.
- Using a large spoon or ladle, add the vinegar mixture to each jar. Make sure you have an even distribution of onions and spices going into each jar. (For this I will do one scoop of mixture into each jar until the mixture has been completely moved into the jars.)
- Cap each mason jar and seal with the rims. Keep the jars at room temperature until they cool down. Once cool, place jars in the refrigerator.
- Finally, and perhaps the most difficult part of the recipe, wait one week. This week will allow the sausages to pickle.