When people ask me about my hobbies, I say “reading” and then I sit silently and look around awkwardly to make it seem like there are others and I’m just trying to remember them. But really, reading is what I would spend all of my time doing if I didn’t have the pesky responsibilities of work, children, pets, home, hearth…you know how it goes.
In my life there have been a few books that speak to my soul like no others. The Stand by Stephen King. A series of zombie novels. I’m not sure what that says about my soul, and I choose not to think on it too much. However, one series that does not cause me existential dread over my devotion is the Outlander saga by Diana Gabaldon.
Outlander is everywhere these days. With a spectacular TV adaptation, more and more people are discovering the gorgeous world Gabaldon has created. Meticulously researched, these books contain romance, action, history, and just a splash of time travel. They are long and they are worth every second spent with them. If you’re leery of long books, ease in with the TV show. Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan will draw you right in with their amazing performances. Just promise me that you will try the first book. I really think you’ll realize that long, beautiful, well-researched books are the best thing ever. Then you’ll read the rest of the series. And all the spin-offs. And the short stories. And then you’ll wait (patiently, because writing a book like this is a long, grueling process) for the ninth in the series to be released.
Luckily, for those of us who wait, there is Outlander Kitchen and it’s accompanying cookbook by Theresa Carle-Sanders. This is not the first time that I have raved about Outlander Kitchen and it is no where near the last. Dedicated to recipes from and inspired by all things Outlander, it is a great resource for historical Scottish cooking as well as cooking in general. I have made several recipes from the site and the book and they have all been wonderful. You cannot go wrong choosing a dish from Outlander Kitchen.
For today’s culinary adventure, I made Garlic and Sage Sausage. The dish is mentioned in A Breath of Snow and Ashes, the sixth book in the series. Homemade sausage is easy to make and is so much better than commercial, big batch sausage. Fresh ingredients are always going to make a better product. Give it a try. I promise you it will be rewarding!
For my sausage, I used cornmeal as filler because I love the bite that it gives dishes. I also used fresh sage and a smidge of extra garlic. I immediately made these into patties and refrigerated for use the next day. I did fry up a tiny patty to test flavors. So. Good. A bit salty, a bit garlicky with a tiny kick from the black pepper and mustard powder. I really can’t describe how ambrosial this sausage is. So, I’ll let my boys try…
If you don’t have ground pork, you can substitute the ground meat of your choice. If you’re not sure about any of the spices, start with less. You can always add more after you try your test patty. Seriously. Fry up the test patty. You will thank yourself! Experiment a bit. If you like your sausage spicy, add red pepper flakes. Throw in some fennel seed. Play around and find your favorite flavor combinations. But when you find yourself settling in to binge watch the Outlander TV series or to read the books (you promised!) fry up a bit of the original and let me know what you think!
*Disclaimer-I claim no ownership to media mentioned in this post. The Stand, Outlander, Outlander Kitchen and all related items belong to Stephen King, Diana Gabaldon, Theresa Carle, Starz and respective studios/publishers. Commentary is my own.*
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