Dutch Food: Groninger Dried Sausage

Dried sausage (droge worst) is a firm, strong-flavoured sausage made from pork and air-dried. Which spices are used depends on where the sausage is made. Traditionally, mainly the northern provinces of the Netherlands (Groningen, Friesland, Drenthe) made these sausages, because the conditions were best for drying the sausages. Drying the meat was a good way of preservation.
I like Groninger dried sausage the best. It is the firmest (the dryer the better!) and has a lovely spicy clove flavour. Not everyone can make good sausages, it takes time to find a place where they sell real good sausage. Don’t buy the supermarket ones, they are of poor quality. And never trust someone outside of Groningen to make Groninger dried sausage, it’s just not the same. I have good memories of dried sausage, we used to get thumb-sized pieces to chew on when we were children, which we loved (both the chewing and the flavour). It is more elegant to serve the sausage in thin slices because it can be tough, but sometimes, when nobody is looking, I serve myself a large piece to chew on, for the nostalgia of good memories.
Dried sausage is mainly eaten as appetizer/snack with a drink, but you can use it in dishes. Because of the fat content slices crisp really well if you fry them, but they will loose flavour this way. Slices (crisped or “raw”) are very nice on another local speciality: mustard soup. But they are also nice through all kinds of salads. Think of it as an alternative for bacon.
Don’t store the sausage in the fridge. They will get sticky and icky quite fast, the environment in a fridge is too moist. Better is to hang them on a cool, airy place. Or put them in the freezer, where they will keep almost indefinitely.

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