Friday, January 05, 2007

Kitchen Collaboration with Butcher Son

Butcher son and I attempted our first sausage recently. I have never made sausage before and surfed the web and did considerable reading to get a handle on the process and to find an interesting recipe. There are a lot of simple sites out there that help you feel okay about being a novice sausagemaker, which I definitely am. Butcher son works at Schaub’s Meat and Poultry that regularly offers 16 kinds of house-made sausage each day (flavors vary on the season), so he has been involved in the process, and kindly brought home the sausage casings required to produce our proud product.

We did have a bit of a debate on what kind of sausage to make, and how to exactly go about it. Butcher son wanted to make chicken-apple sausage, but I believe that this would have been the more difficult road. Sausage requires fat, and chicken traditionally does not have much fat and can produce a drier sausage. I wanted to stick to a pork-based sausage to begin with, and to ease into the process, and since I was paying, I won out. Then there was the debate on whether I should grind my own pork or use ground pork. Actually, this was more of a debate with myself. I purchased both, since I was sitting on the fence about it. When it came time to making the sausage, I went with the pre-ground pork, as I had already made 3 batches of cinnamon rolls (traditional, orange, and chai) and 40 beef tamales. I was a bit tired, and opted for the easier version this time around. (But the large pork butt, or was it shoulder?, went into the freezer for the next batch.)

I narrowed down the types of sausage to make to three, and finally decided on chaurice. Why the chaurice? Well, first I don’t think I’ve ever had it, so I wouldn’t know if I did it wrong. Secondly, I had all the ingredients. Third, it looked pretty easy. So what is chaurice? Depending on where you look, it is either Cajun or Creole in origin, an old-time recipe dating to the 19th century. Possibly adapted from Spanish settlers in Louisiana to resemble their homeland’s chorizo. They serve it with white or red beans, or for breakfast.

I found several recipes, so I compromised and made up my own version based on what I was reading.

Chaurice

1 pound ground pork
½ T coarse salt
¼ t cayenne
1/8 t cinnamon
1/8 t ground cloves
1/3 t thyme
3 ground bay leaves
1 T Creole Seasoning
1 garlic clove, crushed
5 T diced onions
1 T chopped parsley
1 t crushed red pepper flakes
1/3 cup water

Medium hog casings

Take the salt, cayenne, cinnamon, cloves, thyme, bay leaves, and Creole Seasoning and place in spice or coffee grinder. Pulse to powder consistency. Place meat, spices, and remaining ingredients into a large bowl and mix well by hand until thoroughly combined.

Ingredients: All of these ingredients are easy to find.

Ease: Making up the sausage is easy. If you don’t want to stuff it into links, it can be used as patties or fried up and crumbled into some tasty red beans. Stuffing into casings does require 2 people: a stuffer and a casing handler, and some time and patience, as most of us do not have an industrial stuffer which speeds things along.

Special Equipment: To make links, you will need a sausage stuffing mechanism. I have a food grinder attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer, for which I bought the sausage stuffing attachment ($9.95).

This recipe can be doubled, tripled, etc. We used 3 pounds of sausage, which yielded 13 good –sized links.

So how did it turn out? The end product held up to the cooking process very well. It retained its shape, had good color, and browned evenly. Overall, we were very pleased. It had a really nice flavor, with a hint of fire. I could definitely tell there was cloves in the batch, even though it was a very small amount. I would be tempted to leave this ingredient out next time. The cayenne and Creole Seasoning gave it some bite. It wasn’t greasy at all, in fact, it was borderline needing more fat. But it’s probably healthier this way, and would vary depending on the type of pork you use and how much fat there was to begin with.

We are considering this a success, which is a miracle for the first time around. Butcher son wants to know what kind of sausage we would be making next time…. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

2 comments:

kh said...

Glad your exotic undertaking paid off--even a vegetarian thought this was neat!
-kh

Anonymous said...

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