Archive for the 'Sausage' Category

Salsiccie di Lucania (Pork Sausage from Lucania)

Pork Sausage from Lucania

I have something of a love-hate relationship with my sausage stuffer.  I adore sausage but, now that I have a sausage stuffer, I insist that whatever sausage we eat at home be homemade.  There’s a certain amount of setup required to make sausages and I feel the need to make a large batch to make it worth the effort.  Therefore, I ended up rolling the dice when trying a new recipe as to how they’ll turn out.

In this case, I knew I hit the jackpot as soon as I offered Angela a piece of the sample I used to check the seasoning.  No words were needed.  I could see the answer in her face.  And while Angela likes sausage, her level of appreciation is not equivalent to my own.  This sausage may have changed her mind.

I had been looking for a new Italian sausage recipe to use. My last attempt, while decent, had too much coriander seed for one. It just wasn’t quite right.

While this sausage can fill in for an “Italian sausage” (it is in fact a recipe of Italian extraction), it is not an Italian sausage in the traditional American sense.  It doesn’t have the fennel seed which is almost the defining characteristics of such sausages. It does, however, have a lot of garlic and ginger to provide flavor. It’s a lot simpler but still tasty. It can also be used as a breakfast sausage in a pinch (actually the first way I cooked it).

When I have 5 lbs. of sausage in the freezer, I remember why I like to have a sausage stuffer.  When viewing the cornucopia of sausages at a megamart (or even the farmer’s market for that matter), it’s hard to remember why I enjoy making my own.  Part of it’s just enjoying making sausages with Angela, part of it’s the quality, and part of it is choosing exactly what I want in a sausage.

Grinding meat for sausage

Salsiccie di Lucania (Pork Sausage from Lucania)
Adapted from Molto Italiano: 327 Simple Italian Recipes to Cook at Home

12 cloves of garlic, finely diced
1 oz. ginger, peeled and finely diced
6 oz. pancetta, chopped
5 lbs. pork shoulder, cut into 1″ pieces
1 lbs. pork fat, cut into 1″ pieces
tsp red pepper flakes
3 tbsp kosher salt
1 cup red wine

8 ft. pork sausage casings

  1. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except for the red wine  sausage casings.  Refrigerate until thoroughly cooled.
  2. Place the bowl containing the meat in an ice bath.  Grind the meat mixture through the smallest holes into another bowl in an ice bath.
  3. Add the wine to the mixture and beat with a paddle mixer at low speed for 1 minute.
  4. Cook a small portion of the sausage mixture in olive oil to verify seasoning.  While cooking the sample sausage mixture, place the remaining sausage mixture in the refrigerator.
  5. Stuff the sausage mixture into the sausage casings.  Twist into individual sausages.

Makes 6 lbs. sausages

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Hot Italian Sausage

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Sausage has a reputation as a pedestrian food. You eat it at a cook out, at a baseball game, or while camping. It’s something you eat to satiate your hunger, not because it’s good.

But why can’t sausage, in the words of Rodney Dangerfield, get no respect? When it’s good, it should. Most are based around pork with enough added fat that it isn’t dry. And you can do things with seasonings in a sausage that just wouldn’t work in a whole cut of meat.

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If you can’t tell, I rather like sausages. But every since I realized that some sausages from the grocery store contained high fructose corn syrup, I’ve decided to stick with the homemade variety. It doesn’t hurt that they taste significantly better. It’s also particularly rewarding to cook up a sausage and realize that you made it.

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While I tend to like authentic ethnic recipes whenever possible, this is much more Italian-American than Italian. I’m going to let it slide as it’s pretty tasty. When I make it again, I’d probably use less (or possibly no) coriander seeds. It dominates the flavor a bit too much for my taste. It’s particularly good when sautéed and served with good Dijon mustard and grilled onions.

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Hot Italian Sausage
Adapted from Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing

2 kg boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1 1/2″ cubes
225 grams pork belly, cut into 1 1/2″ cubes
100 grams pancetta, cut into 1 1/2″ cubes (optional)
40 grams kosher salt
32 grams sugar
16 grams fennel seeds, toasted
8 gram coriander seeds, toasted
16 grams smoked Spanish paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
24 grams fresh oregano leaves, chopped
24 grams fresh basil leaves, chopped
12 grams red pepper flakes
6 grams coarsely ground black pepper
3/4 cups ice water, chilled
1/4 cup red wine vinegar, chilled
10 feet hog casings

  1. Combine all ingredients except water, vinegar, and casings in a large bowl. Toss to distribute the seasonings evenly. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Place the hog casings in a bowl of water and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Several hours before grinding, place the food grinder, mixer bowl, paddle attachment, and any other attachments in the freezer.
  4. Remove the meat mixture from the refrigerator and place in a bowl of ice and salt. Grind the mixture through the small die into the mixer bowl set in a bowl of ice and salt.
  5. Add the water and vinegar to the mixture. Beat the mixture with the paddle attachment on medium speed for 1 minute. Mix until the mixture is uniform. Refrigerate the bowl until ready to stuff.
  6. Sauté a small portion of the sausage in a small bit of oil and taste for seasoning.
  7. Remove the hog casings from the refrigerator and rinse both the inside and outside of the casings in running water.
  8. Setup the sausage stuffer using the largest stuffing attachment. Place meat in the sausage stuffer and turn on to low speed until the meat is just at the end of the attachment. Slide the opening in the casing onto the stuffer and then push the remaining casing onto the stuffer until there is about an inch hanging off. Tie off the end of the casings. Slowly push the meat mixture into the sausage stuffer while holding the casing and letting the meat fill it (this is a two person job). The speed is determined by the speed of the meat being putting into the stuffer not the speed of the mixer. When there is no more casing, tie it off and repeat this step with the remaining casing.
  9. Twist the sausage into 6 inch long segments and cut with shears.
  10. Cook the sausage to an internal temperature of 150ºF.

Makes 5 lbs. of sausage.

Homemade Bratwurst

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For home cooking, there are a few things that you usually buy pre-made and aren’t really considered convenience foods: bacon, puff pastry, and sausage. Except, I decided that it would be fun to make my own sausage. And that’s when I realized I was a real foodie.

It’s not as if I don’t have access to quality sausage (the local butcher shop makes their own even if they seem to run out of hot Italian sausage before I can ever buy it). It really was a crazy idea.

In my defense, I did get the food grinding and sausage stuffing attachments for “free.” My employer offered a $50 gift certificate for completing a short health survey that I then applied to sausage making equipment.

Bratwurst isn’t the first batch of sausage that I made. That honor would go to garlic sausage that ended up too garlicy and not salty enough. That’s also when we found out that Angela is much better at feeding the meat into the casings than I am (I get to push the meat into the stuffer).

Will had planned an Oktoberfest themed Halloween party and I offered to bring homemade bratwurst. On the Monday before Halloween, Will came over for dinner and documented the process (all images except the top one are Will’s) of sausage making. It’s amazing the number of sexual innuendos you can make when making sausage; particularly when part of the process is done by your wife.

Making sausage is actually pretty easy as long as you have the proper equipment. I use a KitchenAid Mixer with the Food Grinder Attachment and Sausage Stuffer Attachment. The key issue is keeping everything really cold at all times. This is particularly true for the grinding portion or the fat will start to melt and the grinder won’t work anymore (this happened the first time I made sausage; I didn’t have the meat on ice and towards the end the grinding die kept getting gummed up with melted fat).

So how good was the sausage? Good enough that we didn’t remember to take any pictures of the bratwurst when it was cooked. Good enough that all that we cooked was eaten (and we made extra). Good enough that people wanted to take some home with them. Good enough that Angela, who doesn’t particularly like sausage (which means that I’m even crazier for wanting to make sausage), loved it. It was the best sausage I’ve had and that includes some in Germany and Austria.

So, I’ve made sausage and I have some panchetta curing (which is close enough to bacon for me). I suppose I need to make some puff pastry at some point.

Homemade Bratwurst
Adapted from Charcuterie

1350 grams (3 lbs.) boneless pork shoulder butt, cut into 2 inch pieces
450 grams (1 lb.) boneless veal shoulder, cut into 2 inch pieces (or substitute 1 lb. ground veal)
450 grams (1 lb.) pork belly, skinless, cut into 2 inch pieces
40 grams (1 1/2 oz.) kosher salt
6 grams (2 tsp) ground white pepper
5 grams (1 1/2 tsp) ground ginger
5 grams (1 1/2 tsp) grated nutmeg
2 eggs, lightly beaten, very cold
1 cup heavy cream, very cold
10 feet hog casings

  1. Combine all ingredients except eggs, cream, and casings in a large bowl. Toss to distribute the seasonings evenly. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Place the hog casings in a bowl of water and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Several hours before grinding, place the food grinder, mixer bowl, paddle attachment, and any other attachments in the freezer.
  4. Remove the meat mixture from the refrigerator and place in a bowl of ice and salt. Grind the mixture through the small die into the mixer bowl set in a bowl of ice and salt.
  5. Beat the mixture with the paddle attachment on low speed for 1 minute. Add the eggs and cream and increase speed to medium. Mix until the mixture is uniform. Refrigerate the bowl until ready to stuff.
  6. Sauté a small portion of the sausage in a small bit of oil and taste for seasoning.
  7. Remove the hog casings from the refrigerator and rinse both the inside and outside of the casings in running water.
  8. Setup the sausage stuffer using the largest stuffing attachment. Place meat in the sausage stuffer and turn on to low speed until the meat is just at the end of the attachment. Slide the opening in the casing onto the stuffer and then push the remaining casing onto the stuffer until there is about an inch hanging off. Tie off the end of the casings. Slowly push the meat mixture into the sausage stuffer while holding the casing and letting the meat fill it (this is a two person job). The speed is determined by the speed of the meat being putting into the stuffer not the speed of the mixer. When there is no more casing, tie it off and repeat this step with the remaining casing.
  9. Twist the sausage into 6 inch long segments and cut with shears.
  10. Cook the sausage to an internal temperature of 150ºF.

Makes 5 lbs. of sausage.