It is said that to be truly happy, you should take pleasure in the small things in life. There is no doubt that I am really enjoying the process of emptying my freezer since I keep finding little frozen nuggets of unexpected pleasure.
A small plastic box contained six small patties of . . . who knew what? They looked suspiciously like my fish cakes, but lacked any fishy smell. On defrosting it was quickly apparent that they contained breadcrumbs and some peculiarly dark flecks of something that I couldn't identify. I was baffled; I had no memory of making them. (Note to self - remember to label everything!)
I quickly fried the cakes up in a hot pan and when lightly browned, bit into one . . . oh . . . how utterly lovely! They were in fact a variation of Glamorgan sausages, which I had padded out with the leftover gravy of a Bolognaise sauce. There had only been a few tablespoons left over, which were hardly worth keeping - more sauce that "Bol", but I am loathe to throw anything away and I thought that there must be something I could add this herby-garlic-tomato-wine sauce to.
So I took some breadcrumbs and added the sauce. It tasted nice but something was missing. So I caramelised some finely chopped onions (ah this is what those dark flecks were!) and then crumbled some cooked bacon to the mix. Some small cubes of Emmental added to mix completed what I was now regarding as my sort of deconstructed Croque Monsieur.
The results were delicious and these little patties would make perfect party food, served hot. They are definitely not so nice when they have cooled down, not that these got much of a chance to do that!
So why Boum-Boum?
I had thought that since these were a variation of Glamorgan sausages, that perhaps I could find a French name for my sausage-like creation. Trying to find a region in France that was not already associated with a traditional sausage was out of the question; certainly beyond my skills and wanting to keep a hold of my sanity I decided to go down a different route.
I have learned that there is a variation of the Croque Monsieur, the Croque Boum-Boum; where a layer of Bolognese sauce is sandwiched between the ham and cheese of the Croque Monsieur sandwich.
Result! And I hope that you agree that a bit like the John Lee Hooker song, Boom Boom, that these Boum-Boum sausages can "knock you out, right off your feet. Yeah!"
Skill level: Easy
Preparation time: 1 hour (including optional chilling time)
vegetable oil or butter (or a mixture of the two)
200g dried breadcrumbs, 50g of which are for coating the sausages
3-4 tbsp leftover pasta sauce (such as Bolognese)
1 x English onion, finely chopped
2 x rashers of smoked bacon
100g Emmental or Gruyere cheese, cubed
1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2tsp Dijon mustard
2 x large eggs (or 3 x medium), whisked (set aside about 2 tbsp of whisked egg to use for coating the sausages)
- Mix together 150g of the breadcrumbs (save 50g or so in order to coat the sausages) in a bowl with the leftover pasta sauce. Add enough to moisten and set aside for 5 minutes. You may need to add more pasta sauce or a tablespoon of milk. The mix needs to be moist but not wet.
- Fry the onion gently in little olive oil until a golden brown colour. Stir occasionally. This can take anything from 10 to 15 minutes. Don't let them burn!
- Grill or fry the bacon (which usually takes 3 to 4 minutes each side, then chop roughly and add to the breadcrumb mixture.
- Add the cooked onion, cheese and chopped parsley to the breadcrumb mixture and combine well. Set aside for 10 minutes or so to ensure that the mixture is cool, before adding the whisked egg. (You don't want the mixture to cook the egg at this stage).
- Before adding the egg, stir in the mustard and season to taste. Set aside about 2 tablespoons of the egg mixture in order to coat the sausages later. Stir the rest of the egg mixture and make sure that it is mixed well.
- If the mixture is too dry add a little milk, but don’t let the mixture become too runny. If it is too runny then add more breadcrumbs!
- Divide the mixture into about 8 balls (although you may get more) and then shape each into a long sausage shape (about 8cm long and 2½cm wide). You will probably need to do this by partially rolling the mixture on a hard clean surface (I use a breadboard) and shaping them to keep them together as they will be a bit fragile and prone to falling apart.
- Put the egg mixture in a shallow bowl; put the leftover breadcrumbs on a plate.
- Take each sausage and dip it in the egg mixture and then roll in the crumbs.
- Chill the sausages in the fridge for about 30 minutes, to firm them up before cooking.
- Fry the sausages in the oil or butter. To fry the sausage, heat the butter or oil in the frying pan for 5 minutes, Turn half way through. Turn the heat down and continue to fry for another 3 minutes.
- These sausages can be grilled. Drizzle with a little melted butter and grill under a preheated grill until brown on all sides. Be careful when turning them.
- Bind with egg as above, but use it all. Use a beaten an egg white to roll the sausages in before coating with breadcrumbs. It helps the breadcrumbs stick effectively and gives a nice crunchy texture.