Monday, May 30, 2011

Chicken Sausage


I resisted this challenge because I really don't like chicken sausage.  It's not that it doesn't taste good; rather, when it comes to sausage I want anything but chicken and fish.  If I had found someone reasonable duck, I would have made duck sausage.  If I had wild turkey, or grouse, or pheasant, I would have made that.  Actually, my favorite is pork sausage (except for my newest addiction, Merguez).  But chicken, to me, is just not something to be made into sausage.  I don't really like it ground into meatballs or patties either.  Maybe it's the delicacy of the meat and when it comes to sausage, I like it heavier in fat and flavor in the mouth.  I do, however, like chicken as forcemeat because there it retains its more delicate flavor.  However, I fulfilled my responsibility and I discovered that chicken sausage is not so bad when it's homemade.

I began small, with only two pounds of chicken thighs.  I had fun with the de-boning.  Yeah, thighs are easy-peasy, but I watched this video on youtube by some guy who looked like he was half asleep but then de-boned that thigh perfectly in just seconds.  I figured after about another 500 thighs I might be half good.

Then, I ground the chicken.  The most negative aspect about making chicken sausage is that every time I touched the bloody chicken I had to wash my hands again for another step in the process.  I think I spent more time washing my hands and anything else that had contact with the chicken than with the sausage process itself.  Anyway, grinding was a breeze.  It yielded a uniform small and sticky grind that absorbed the spices well.
Then came the flavorings.  I didn't have fresh basil (like the Charcuterie recipe) and I really don't like dried basil.  I was in the mood for toasted fennel so I toasted two teaspoons, which I then ground in the mortar.  I added cracked hot pepper, salt, thyme, lots of finely diced raw garlic, some chopped, sun-dried tomato, and some orange zest.  I liked the idea of the orange zest, but I think it didn't do as well in a sausage as it does in a liquid.  My husband, however, thought it was very good.  For a liquid, I added half dry white wine and half ice water. 

Stuffing was a problem.  It really needed smooth and steady stuffing which is not easy for one person, especially with that sticky, viscous ground chicken.  I ended up holding the sausage casing with one hand and stuffing the KA stuffer with another, but at speed #4, it all seemed to work.  The sausage turned out just a bit thick.  However, it tasted really good.

I meant to add some pork back fat instead of using the chicken skin, but having forgot to defrost it, I just used the chicken skin.  Next time, I would definitely use the pork.  Since my spices came from the Proven├žal area of France, I felt the end flavor was pretty good.  And having worked with all that sticky ground chicken, I think I'm ready for some emulsified sausage.  Weisswurst, here I come!

Chicken Sausage on Punk Domestics

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