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Glamorgan sausages: history and recipe

Glamorgan sausages enter into the most traditional Welsh foods. Sausage in Welsh is selsigen (plural selsig) so in Wales they are called Selsig Morgannwg. They have sometimes been called “poor man’s sausages”, because they are meat-free and are also a way to use up stale bread. Thus they are a great idea for anyone looking for cheap veggie recipes.

If you want to go straight to the recipe, you will find it at the bottom.

Although some people say Glamorgan sausages were first invented during the rationing of World War 2, when meat was short, they were known by that name much earlier.

In his travel diary “Wild Wales”, which came out in 1862, George Borrow enthuses about his morning feat at an inn at Brynaman, on the side of Black Mountain in the Brecon Beacons: “I put on my things, which were still not half dry, and went down into the little parlour, where I found an excellent fire awaiting me, and a table spread for breakfast. The breakfast was delicious, consisting of excellent tea, buttered toast, and Glamorgan sausages, which I really think are not a whit inferior to those of Epping.”

That was real praise, because Epping sausages were a delicacy in Borrow’s time. They were made of pork and a secret mixture of herbs and spices. However, instead of being stuffed into skin, like most meat sausages, they were rolled in egg white and then coated in breadcrumbs and fried, just like Glamorgan sausages.

Glamorgan sausages

Welsh breakfast with Glamorgan sausages
Copyright K. Williams, all rights reserved

The hot sausages can be eaten as part of a Welsh breakfast. You can keep this a vegetarian cooked breakfast, as shown here, by using eggs, baked beans, tomatoes, (also mushrooms). If you prefer, you can add bacon. If you can get the ingredients, bara lawr (laverbread: a fried patty made from a special type of seaweed and oatmeal) is also traditionally part of a cooked breakfast in Wales.

Alternatively, serve the selsig Morgannwg as a main meal with stwnch and gravy. Stwnch is made by mashing boiled potatoes with boiled swede or peas.

Served hot or cold, Glamorgan sausages are also delicious as a light vegetarian lunch with salad and/or salsa.

Glamorgan sausages with salad Copyright K. Williams, all rights reserved

Glamorgan sausages with salad
Copyright K. Williams, all rights reserved

  • Glamorgan sausages
  • The ingredients for Glamorgan sausages include leeks, a national symbol of Wales, and Caerphilly cheese. I’ve heard that some people have problems finding Caerphilly cheese outside the UK. It is a hard, white, sharp, crumbly cheese. Wensleydale, Cheshire and Lancashire are a bit similar in character. You could try substituting one of these. Alternatively, if you are really stuck, a cheddar-style cheese will do, and possibly even feta. Stale crusty bread is used to make the breadcrumbs. If you have to use fresh bread, slice it and toast it lightly to make it easier to prepare the crumbs. Personally, I’m not keen on using ready-prepared, shop-bought crumbs, especially the bright orange ones that are laden with all sorts of additives.
Servings Prep Time Cook Time
8 sausages 15 minutes 10 minutes

Ingredients

Servings: sausages

Instructions

  1. Wash the leek well and check that no grit remains within the layers. Chop finely.
  2. Make breadcrumbs by grating the bread on a fine grater, or use a food processor.
  3. Grate the cheese (if using Caerphilly, it will crumble a bit, so make sure you do not have any large pieces).
  4. Separate the yolk from the white of ONE egg. You’ll be using the white to coat the sausages, so it is best to have it in a saucer or shallow container.
  5. Place some flour in another saucer.
  6. Mix the chopped leek, cheese and crumbs together in a bowl and add a good pinch of mustard powder.
  7. Break the whole egg into the bowl and add the yolk from the separated egg. Mix everything together well.
  8. Add enough milk for the mixture to bind.
  9. Using your hands, make 8 sausage shapes out of the mixture.
  10. Beat the left-over egg white with a fork until it goes frothy (It doesn’t need to be fully whipped into peaks)
  11. Roll the sausages gently through the frothy white, to coat them. Then roll them through the flour.
  12. Fry the sausages in oil or melted butter for 5-10 minutes until they become gold-brown. Some people prefer to grill them till golden or bake them in an oven for about 15-20 minutes.

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