Sunday, May 15, 2011

Grinding Sausage

Sausage and peppers

I made Charcuterie's smoked andouille recipe because I was curious about how it would turn out.  For me, andouille means paprika because it provides not just taste but also that red color.  Noticing that this recipe did not call for paprika, I was intrigued.  The book says that the sausage is " flavorful you can eat it with no accompaniments" so I decided to try it that way and it is tasty but not what I expected of an andouille recipe.  Maybe the smoking provides more of my expected andouille flavor but even though I've stuffed some of it I have not yet had time to smoke it.  However, the fatty grind did become dinner.  I made it into little meatballs, which I sauteed in oil.  After cooking, I removed them, took out any burnt bits, put in some fresh oil and added my peppers and onions, with salt, thyme, and red pepper.  After the veggies softened, I removed them, made a dark roux, added some of my tomato passata and water, then put the veggies and meatballs back in the pan.  Scrumptious!  So, I served it over egg noodles.  Easy-peasy!

Part of the grinding process involves taste and that's what I really wanted to get right in this challenge.  As noted in my previous post I borrowed recipes freely from others.  I never really realized that I had many similar recipes in my own head because of what I add to meatballs, meatloaves, risottos, soups, stews, etc..  With that knowledge in mind, I have become quite a fixture at my local butcher and so far they've only failed me when it came to caul fat.   However, they do provide elk, venison, pork, and beef.  And they usually kill and cut the local moose, bear, and yak as well.  I'm not really into eating bear.  Yak, I love.  It's some of the best meat I've every tasted. 

  I had ground my own meat on a number of occasions and have experimented with making my own  meatballs, venison and lamb terrines, and various other kinds of meatballs/meatloaves with various grindings of the meat plus experimental additions like various kinds of cheeses.  However, I had never tried stuffing sausage casings before so I attempted this time to get the grind just right for that particular kind of product.

The grinding process went well with no particular problems or difficulties.  Then, jumping ahead of the game, I decided to stuff my several different kinds of sausage all in one sitting.  I noticed towards the end that I should have stopped for a bit, put my equipment in ice water, and then continued because the sausage began to taste a bit dry and crumbly.  Because I taste everything (isn't that part of the fun?) I noticed it quickly so I could stop in time to prevent further error.

Although I slid over the mark from just grinding into stuffing, I like the idea of having my sausage stuffed because of all the recipes I can make with already stuffed sausage.  I can just heat it on the grill, or boil it in liquid.  I can add it easily to a choucroute recipe.  I can slice the sausage for an hors d'oeuvres or a tapas (chorizo in red wine).  And, I can take it out of the casing and use it ground.

I'm happy the next challenge is stuffing because I love sausage!

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