The distinctive coiled shape of Cumberland sausage distinguishes it from other bangers, or British sausages. Although Cumberland sausage has a Protected Geographical Indication, or PGI -- meaning each sausage is made only in Cumberland, England, using traditional techniques and ingredients -- the "Official Journal of the European Union" postulates it was introduced by emigrating German miners in the 16th century, making it a German sausage. History aside, you can let the oven do all the work when cooking a Cumberland. You just need to secure it with skewers so it holds its characteristic spiral.
Soak two wooden skewers in water for about 30 minutes. Insert the skewers horizontally through the coils of sausage on the left and right sides so it maintains its spiral, flat shape during cooking. You can also use two metal skewers.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly oil the sausage on both sides and place it in a large baking dish.
Add aromatic ingredients around the sausage, if desired. The peppery bit of the sausage plays well off sweet flavors, such as apple and pear, and balances with pungent flavors, such as onions and bell peppers. You can also forgo the additional ingredients and savor the flavor of the sausage unadorned.
Lightly oil the aromatic ingredients, if used, and sprinkle everything with kosher salt to taste. Place the dish in the oven.
Roast the sausage for 20 minutes and turn the sausage over. Stir the aromatics, if using, and pour in a cup or so of wine, cider or stock, if desired. The liquid only serves to add a layer of flavor and aroma to the sausage without affecting its taste significantly.
Roast the sausage an additional 20 minutes, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 F. Check the temperature by inserting an instant-read thermometer through the sausage coils horizontally, as you did the skewers.
Take the dish out of the oven. Remove the skewers from the sausage and serve it as is or slice it into serving sizes. Serve with the aromatics if used, and drizzle the pan juices over the assembled dish.
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- You might find other sausages made in the same spiral style of Cumberland sausage. If you do, you can cook them the same way: in a 350-F oven until they reach a minimum internal temperature of 165 F.
A.J. Andrews' work has appeared in Food and Wine, Fricote and "BBC Good Food." He lives in Europe where he bakes with wild yeast, milks goats for cheese and prepares for the Court of Master Sommeliers level II exam. Andrews received formal training at Le Cordon Bleu.