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Apr 2, 2010 10:10 PM

Help! Need Mysterious Breakfast Sausage Name, Type

This one has haunted me for years - literally. Seventeen years ago I was visiting a family in Belfast and was served some very delicious sausages for breakfast. What was unique was that this family didn't eat pork, so I know they were not the typical ones widely available. In my shortsightedness, I failed to ask what kind they were (didn't want to talk with my mouth full). My best guess is that they were a type of soy sausage or combination with some kind of meat. They were link-style and were tender and oh so moist...

Since that time, I have often thought about them and have searched extensively online for any clue as to what they might be (I've lost touch with my Belfast friends, sadly). Which brings me to you! I am desperately wishing to know what kind they are so that I can purchase them. I am truly sorry if this is not enough detail.

Also, Mrs. Harris had a way of cooking potatoes that is also unique to my Belfast experience: she used a pressure cooker to first cook them through, then dropped them into hot oil for a fry which made them puff up and get crispy on the outside. Is this a standard way of cooking potatoes in Ireland? I am an avid reader of recipes and have yet to encounter a recipe featuring this method. They were sooooo yummy and I would like to duplicate them.

Any responses are greatly appreciated -

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  1. There are several non-pork sausages available, with beef based ones being most widespread, so maybe you should start by trying those to see if they are what you had? It's possible that some types e.g. venison will have a %age of pork, so check the labelling or with the butcher.

    Some people might say that expecting anyone on CH to know what sort of sausages Mrs. Harris served you 17 years ago is just a teensy bit optimistic!

    This Pommes Lyonnaise adaptation might produce potatoes similar to Mrs. H's:

    Fry diced (about 2cm) potatoes over a low to medium heat in a good glug or two of olive oil in a covered pan (a non-stick frying pan or wok works well) for about 10 minutes. Stir every couple of minutes. Then stir in some chopped onion and cook uncovered for a further 10 minutes or so, turning as crusting happens. Great with cold meats.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Robin Joy

      There are also a number of vegetarian sausages readily available which might fit the OP's mention of soy.

      Having been served one (accidentally, I hope) at a BBQ a couple of years back, I could not possibly recommend them, even to vegetarians.

    2. I am nearly certain that these couldn't possibly have been meat-free. Belfast isn't particularly known for friendliness towards vegetarians now (I have lived here for four years and it's pretty awful here for vegetarians as far as I can tell) I can't possibly imagine that things were any better 17 years ago.

      I imagine that these were probably beef sausages, or as a previous poster mentioned, a combination of meats. I would recommend going to a decent butcher shop or deli and trying several of their sausages. You may not find those sausages but you might find something similar or better. There are certainly worse activities that I can think of...

      1. Thanks again for all of your replies - I DO realize this is a real stab in the dark and I do not have high expectations, especially since I provided such scant details. But I am an optimist and figure if I don't ask, I'll never put it to rest.

        Here in my corner of the world (West Coast USA), pork sausage is predominant and beef sausage is a mere "afterthought". Turkey sausages are making their mark but it is pork that is king. I suppose I assumed that beef breakfast sausage in Belfast would not be widespread. Keeping my fingers crossed and doing more online searching!

        1. As others have said the sausage is probably beef if they were not eating pork, beef sausages are quite common in the UK.

          Were the potatoes, "Potato Farls" i.e. a type of potato bread which is traditional and quite unique to Northern Ireland, here you steam the potatoes until cooked, mash them with butter, mix in some flour, roll out into a circle and cut into quarters, then fry in hot oil.

          If they were simply boiled potatoes that were then it is really a quick way of doing roast potatoes (which would be odd at breakfast) or a version of chips, a bit like Heston's triple cooked variety.

          3 Replies
          1. re: PhilD

            I'm not sure how unique the farl is to NI (except perhaps for the name). We've always had the potato cake in the north west as a breakfast or "tea" item. As you say, potatoes (it was always leftovers), mixed with flour & butter, then fried. I'll be having them tomorow morning (although these are from the baker)

            1. re: Harters

              Unique was incorrect, more accurate to say originated in the north of Ireland (even being PC now) and I think "farl" is from an Irish word. Common in the NW of England as a result of all the Irish immigration to Liverpool...?

              1. re: PhilD

                Good be, Phil.

                Although there's a shared cuisine between Ireland & the north west that's probably two-way. I'm thinking Irish Stew/Lancashire Hotpot/Lobscouse.