6 essential ways of cooking sausages [5 ingredients | 10 minutes]

pasta with bangers & mashed peas bangers - cork market
The humble banger.

I’ve been developing a new found appreciation for sausages since I’ve been holidaying in Ireland.

A full Irish breakfast wouldn’t be complete without a couple of bangers And then there are the puddings – black and white which are a whole textural and flavour experience on their own.

So I thought I’d share my favourite ways for cooking sausages along with a brilliant little pasta recipe – the type of thing that cooks in the time it takes to boil the pasta.

6 essential ways of cooking sausages

1. poaching
Although it isn’t the most minimalist of methods – I was convinced last year by my Irishman that the best way to cook sausages if you’re serving them whole is to gently poach them to cook them through before browning them in a pan or on the BBQ. Well worth the effort for tender, juicy bangers and mash. Just remember to cut the sausages into individual pieces before you pop them in the pot or you’ll run the risk of them losing their skins.

2. baking
One of the easiest ways to cook sausages but it can take a while. Just pop them in a baking dish with some veg and maybe tinned tomatoes and you have a one pot meal. I find that sausages can be a bit dry cooked this way though so best to include something that will give an instant sauce like Jamie Oliver does with cherry tomatoes.

3. BBQing
Where would we be without a good old sausage sizzle? When Paul Hogan was inviting everyone to put another ‘shrimp on the barbie’ I thought he should have been talking about bangers because I’d never heard of, let alone seen a BBQ prawn in my whole life. Whenever I’m at a BBQ and the BBQ king (or queen) is of questionable cooking experience I always choose the sausages over the steak or chops because they are less likely to be leathery and overcooked. For the ultimate BBQ bangers I use the poaching method above and finish them on the barbie instead of in a pan. But you can skip the poaching step – just be careful and avoid piercing them so they keep lovely and juicy.

4. slice & pan fry
Firmer sausages like the holy sausage – chorizo are lovely sliced and browned in a little oil before being used in dishes such as this lovely spanish rice with chorizo & peppers or one of my all time favourite brunch dishes baked eggs with chorizo & cannellini beans.

5. stuffing
Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without a big bird and stuffing. If you haven’t tried sausages in stuffing you’re in for a real treat – they add a subtle meatiness and mositness that will have everyone coming back for seconds. Give it a try with my cranberry, sausage & macadamia stuffing.

6. crumble & pan fry
Removing the sausage skins and crumbling the meat into a pan is one of the quickest ways to cook your sausages and there’s no need to worry about the skins splitting. A great base for a hearty pork and fennel ragu or my latest favourite quick pasta – pork sausages skinned and crushed and pan fried with frozen peas, mint and parmesan – so simple and so good.

pasta with bangers & mashed peas-2

[5 ingredients | 10 minutes]
pasta with sausages & crushed peas

serves 4

When I was little frozen peas were my arch enemy. I just detested them – mostly for the texture but also a little with the flavour. These day’s I don’t mind a few peas but still get a little fearful of the frozen variety. The trick I’ve found is to avoid boiling them and to saute instead.

I LOVE this pasta. The sweet crushed peas make it feel healthy enough that you don’t need a salad as well and the sausages give it a lovely richness that is very satisfying.

To keep it under 10 minutes you’ll need to boil the water for the pasta quickly and choose a pasta that cooks in about 8 minutes or less. I used casserecci but any short pasta will work well.

The secret here is using the best quality pork sausages you can find.

350g (3/4lb) short pasta
4 pork & garlic sausages
250g (1/2lb) frozen peas
1 bunch mint, leaves picked
2 large handfuls grated parmesan cheese + extra to serve

Bring a large saucepan salted water to the boil and cook pasta according to the packet directions.

Meanwhile heat 3T olive oil in a large frying pan over a high heat. Remove sausage skins and crumble them into the pan. Cook stirring frequently until browned all over. Add peas and continue to cook, squashing down the peas to roughly crush them. When the peas have warmed through toss through mint and remove from the heat.

Drain pasta and keep a cup of the cooking water aside. Toss pasta through the sausage mix with the Parmesan. If it looks a little dry add some of the cooking water.

Taste and season and serve with extra cheese passed separately.

pasta with bangers & mashed peas-3


And still streaking ahead with my goal to read 26 books this year. Have updated my now reading list if you’re on the lookout for a good read.


  • now that’s a Masterchef looking dish. i’ve never thought of poaching sausages first but makes a lot of sense too. and i like the idea of crumble & pan fry. great ideas. thanks for sharing :-)

  • My dad is a big fan of poaching sausages in beer before grilling. It’s difficult to part with the beer, but does add a nice flavor to the sausage.

  • My vote is for baking. Just roll them in a little seasoned flour and pop them in the oven for an hour or so. I don’t think they are too dry using this method. After all a sausage is really just an excuse to eat more homemade tomato sauce :)

  • My favourite sausage recipe is a pasta sauce from the River Cafe – Italian sausagemeat cooked with lots of wine, rosemary and chilli.. Not a 10 minute option – but something you can cook on a lazy home day and freeze portions of! Mind you, the kids find it hard to go past Toad in the Hole with lashings of onion gravy! Hadn’t thought of poaching sausages though.. sounds intriguing. Will give it a shot! And peas – well, I LOVE them. I mean the only thing better than peas is more peas. Magic.

  • Wow. Thanks for the article. My dad is an amazing sausage maker and eater as well. Knowing these several ways of cooking sausage is really useful.

  • thanks simon

    poaching in beer – I love it laurel – but can see the dilemma about sacrificing the beer.

    heather – very good point about the tomato sauce excuse.

    you’re river cafe recipe sounds lovely claire. I love that you think the only thing better than peas is more peas – my Dad has a similar saying but it’s about gin.

    thanks RP

    lucky you having a dad who makes sausages bigjobsboard. I wish my dad was that talented.

  • Love the sausage suggestions! But, please, please listen to Hoges. Nothing easier than throwing a kilo of whole, raw prawns on the hotplate. Wait ’til they just turn pink, serve with garlic mayo and lemon and watch the vultures descend. Sweet, sticky and easy, peasy. Love your blog!

  • Can you comment any more on slice and fry. Do you put water or oil? How much? Is it easy to slice it without it falling apart? Thanks.

  • hey dan
    I find most sausages are fine to slice and fry, although some fall apart but it adds to the rustic charm! fry in a few tablespoons olive oil usually works

  • Hi Jules:

    I tried this recipe this evening for dinner mainly because it was a pasta dish without a tomato-based sauce. I have no problem with those sauces, but the acidity bothers my partner. I was a little skeptical because, I, too, am no lover of green peas, but I’m working on incorporating more veggies in the diet–they’re necessary.

    I usually poach my sausages whole without the casings–and it’s much easier to remove the casings when the sausage is cold; they retain their shape better. Basically, I followed your recipe with a few adjustments (had to use what I had on hand–I had shredded mozzarella, penne rigate, regular Italian pork sausage–I usually have Italian turkey sausage, meant to add a little garlic and completely forgot), but it was a hit! I loved it! I also had some Italian bread with sage butter. (Good thing, we have leftovers!) I thought my partner would fuss about the mint, but he didn’t. We paired it with a Dr. Loosen’s Riesling and we were quite pleased with our meal.

    I think I’ll try this out on our “boys” when they come for dinner one Wednesday night. “Boys” because they’re grown men, but they’re always going to be “the boys” to us. If they like it, I’ll spring it on some guests.

  • Hi Jules – finding your website has been a blessing! I made the pork & peas tonight and it was delicious!

    Just wanted to let you know that the link to your baked eggs also goes to the chorizo and peppers.

  • What kinda Irishman calls them bangers… That’s considered treason in some counties! ;)

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