How To Obtain Lovely Links Lickety-Split
I have updated this post to include a few more details.
Everybody loves sausage. Be it the lowly bratwurst or the newer, more exotic varieties such as ostrich, alligator or the ultra-exotic unicorn with gold flakes and diamond dust (I’m beginning to think that I may have dreamed that last one). But judging by the number of people who end up at my blog after searching for things such as “how to cook sausage in pressure cooker”, many people seem to be wondering “how in the hell do I cook these things?” Have no fear, my friends. I will do my best to walk you through it.
Now, I am not talking about the pre-cooked type of sausage that just needs to be heated through. Just slap those on the grill and Bob’s yer uncle.
No, I mean the “fresh” sausage, the kind that is completely raw. I often end up burning the casing before the center is done all the way through. I know the trick is to simmer in a small amount of water and when the water cooks away, then brown the outside, but I have never gotten a firm grasp on this method. Either I don’t have enough water, or I have too much. I have eaten enough burnt and/or rubbery sausage and ended up with more than my share of difficult to clean pans to know that when it comes to cooking raw sausage, nothing beats the pressure cooker. I always wind up with moist, perfectly cooked sausage.
I have already featured a couple of sausage based recipes (check out my Oktoberfest and Currywurst recipes). But I thought I would include something more general, so that you may adapt it to any recipe you like.
I usually have a sausage meal at least once or twice a week. I know, it’s not the healthiest thing in the world, but it might just be the tastiest. I try to at least “healthitize” it a bit by getting the uncured, no nitrate sausages. Once difficult to come by, they seem to be getting easier to find, even in the regular supermarket. I also try to have a lot of vegetable items with it to kind of balance things out (even though the vegetable items may amount to sauerkraut or onions and peppers, they are vegetables just the same.)
I always try to have a package or two of sausage in the fridge for those evenings when I need something quick, such as when I have to work late.
Usually I brown the sausages first, remove them to a plate, sauté any vegetables I may be adding, deglaze with a little beer or wine, then put the sausages back in the pressure cooker on top of whatever you may be having them with.
You can basically just put sausages in with any recipe you might be making.
One of my favorites in Sauerkraut and sausage. I usually just dump in the sauerkraut and add the sausage on top (sometimes I brown it, sometimes not). There is usually plenty of liquid in the sauerkraut. If it doesn’t come up to the minimum line on your pressure cooker, just add a little beer or water to make up the difference, then bring to high pressure for 5 minutes. Time may vary slightly depending on the size of the sausages, but 5 minutes seems to work almost all of the time.
Another way I like to prepare sausages is with onions and peppers. Sometimes I might just sauté 2-3 sliced onions and a couple bell peppers, then add some beer and water or broth, then put the sausages on top (again, browned or not). The onions and peppers make quite a bit of liquid themselves, so after you sauté them, add just enough liquid to come up to the minimum line. If using beer or wine, be aware that once the lid is on the pressure cooker, the alcohol doesn’t evaporate. When using wine, I usually don’t like to use more than 1/4 cup (I have a couple recipes where I use more, but this is a good rule of thumb). For beer, most of the time I don’t use more than 1/2 bottle (again, I make some exceptions). For sausage with peppers and onions I have made them with the liquid as described above, but have also made them with marinara sauce. For this method, I sauté the onions and peppers, pour in a jar of sauce and add a little beer, wine or water. Five minutes at high pressure and you are set.
If you just want to pre-cook the sausage to use for something else such as grilling, always use the steamer basket, as placing the sausage directly on the bottom of the pot will net you a meal resembling something the walkers on The Walking Dead might enjoy.
Just add the minimum amount of liquid for your particular pressure cooker, add whatever liquid you would like. I usually use beer, water or a combination. Place your steamer insert (most pressure cookers come with one) in the pot, place the sausages on the steamer insert, place lid on the cooker and steam for 4-5 minutes. If you are going to use them in another recipe, go for the shorter time.
Following these simple rules will get you perfect sausages every time. So, give it a try, and happy sausageing!