Sausage- Three ways

How does that old cooking adage go? Ignorance is tasty? I would argue something like that when it comes to sausages and prepared meats. I have just now figured out the psychology of the situation that previously befuddled me. If you try to feed people something called “scrapple” or even “cheek bacon” there are few takers around the American breakfast table. However, fry up some Jimmy Dean sausage patties and you’ll have all hands on deck to sample what you are cooking.

I”m not about to start trying to sneak these foods into anyone’s diet who is adverse. My only request is that people acknowledge that the sources of what they are eating are possibly (maybe) more questionable then the aforementioned delicious meat creations from sustainably raised creatures. A prime example of this is the recent uproar in Europe about the use of ground horse meat as an ingredient in prepared foods and heat and serve meals. Personally, I wouldn’t be thrilled with the taste alone, but if knowing that horse meat is an ingredient turns you off of a Lean Cuisine supper and motivates you to get cooking for yourself…hey I can’t complain. Just so long as you believe that saying, “what you don’t know sure won’t hurt your taste buds”.

Fortunately, I have friends who are adventurous cooks. Lucky me, then, as I got to play sous chef while a couple of my good friends decided to learn the processes of sausage making (of course I got to learn along the way as well). This adventure also solved the problem of what to do with the pork liver that we had (see prior post). I’d like to say a quick word about each sausage and what we learned about them. You’ll find the recipes for each at the end of the post.

The three types of sausage we ended up making were: Boudin Blanc, Blood Sausage (aka Boudin Noir), and Chorizo.

Boudin (Say- Boo-Dan) Blanc (or just Boudin)

A traditional cajun sausage prepared with pork liver, pork meat, and rice, and spiced in a variety of ways. The liver, although a small proportion of the overall ground meat used, imparts a strong flavor like one would expect. Thus, in my opinion, this sausage is pretty polarizing for people. You love it or hate it! This is one of those foods, like hatch green chile, that has been elevated to a level of food worship above and beyond most. There are books, websites, and no-doubt support groups dedicated to its allure. Boudin is now found in various Louisiana locations from dives to high-class dining establishments. However, lore has it that the original source was as a gas-station convenience food. Boudin was bought in a link and then the sausage was squeezed out like toothpaste straight into one’s mouth. If that doesn’t jump start your appetite, well, just think horse meat.

Note: if you are in Louisiana at least pretend to like boudin.

Blood Sausage (aka black pudding, aka boudin noir)

Like all of these sausage preparations, there are different variations for different palates. For blood sausage and chorizo, various recipes reside within different cultures. Blood sausage really is made all over the world. In France, it is known as boudin noir; In Spain: Morcilla, in Germany, as Blutwurst, and in Estonia as verivorstid (literally translated as “blood sausage”) to name a few. Suffice it to say, blood is a necessary ingredient and most preparations I’m familiar with call for pre-cooking this sausage in links to “set” the blood and solidify the sausage. This type of sausage does not keep well and is traditionally prepared as a post-slaughter meal the day of slaughter.

Chorizo

According to A.D. Livingston’s book entitled, “Sausage,” Chorizo is the quintessential Spanish sausage. I remember vividly the first time I was introduced to this tantalizing, spicy, pungent, and unappologetically greasy sausage. I was tagging along with a group of friends for a weekend volunteer retreat on the Texas coast. The first morning we awoke in our bunk quarters and sidled down to the group eating/kitchen area. This nice guy was frying up the most delicious smelling breakfast I could imagine. After happily consuming my share of the chorizo and eggs wrapped in a warm flour tortilla, I had to know the secret. I kind of grilled this poor young man on his sausage preparation and wanted to know everything about this, “chorizo” as it was called. I’ve been trying to replicate that perfectly flavored chorizo ever since.

Case and Point

I hope you’ve learned a little bit about sausage. If nothing else, I hope I’ve inspired some curiousity in you. If you haven’t found a particular seasoned sausage that you like, make your own! Don’t take the sausages at the meat counter as your only options. All it takes is a pound or two of ground pork and an idea of what flavors you like. Italian sausage could be as simple as mixing in an Italian seasoning or herb blend. Add a little fennel and/or garlic if you’re looking for something more distinct. An easy breakfast sausage is made by mixing in sage, nutmeg, black pepper and salt. Use what you like and develop your own special recipe. I promise, your taste buds will thank you and you will finally know what is in your sausage! Enjoy!

-Farmer Leda

Our Recipes:

Boudin Blanc

Ingredients:

sausage casings

1 pork heart

2 pork kidneys

1/2lb. pork liver

2 1/2lb. pork meat

1 onion, minced

4 C cooked rice

1 bunch green onions, chopped

1/2 C parsley, chopped

sea salt and black pepper to taste

Boil the meat and onion until done. Once meat has cooked, about 15-20 minutes, drain contents and reserve broth. Grind cooked meat and onion with a sausage grinder and mix with rice, green onions, and parsley, adding broth if needed for binding and proper consistency. Mixture should be slightly moist, but you should be able to form cohesive “meatballs” if you try to. Stuff mixture into casings with a sausage stuffer.

To prepare Boudin links either fry or parboil.

Blood Sausage

Ingredients:
Sausage casings
1 1/2 cup onions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons lard
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup cooked rice
6 beaten eggs
A grind of fresh pepper
1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 bay leaf, pulverized
1 1/2 t salt
1 1/2 lb. ground pork
6 cups fresh pork blood

Preparation:

Saute the onions in lard until soft. Cool and then mix with all other ingredients. The consistency will be less viscous than what you would expect for sausage, this is okay. Fill the casings about 3/4 full. Again, the resulting links will be runny and kind of squirmy. Once you have all your links made, Bring a pot of water to a boil. It is helpful to have a steamer basket to place sausages on (you don’t want them to touch the bottom or sides of the pot or they could overcook or burn). Reduce to a simmer and place sausages in batches in the steamer basket (submerged) to poach. The sausages will turn a dark brown color and will float when done. This should take approximately 15 minutes in the constantly simmering water. If the sausages rise prematurely, prick the casing with a needle to release air bubbles. Test for doneness by piercing sausage with a needle: if red blood flows out, keep cooking; if liquid is clear, sausages are done.

Remove when done and place in cool water to stop the cooking. Your blood sausage
is ready to prepare! You can slice and fry or grill gently and then serve.

Chorizo

Ingredients:

Sausage casings (optional, chorizo can be made into patties or mixed like ground meat with eggs or potatoes)

3-4# ground pork

15 dried and smoked red padron peppers

2 dried cayenne peppers (can sub 2 T red chile flakes)

1 yellow onion, minced

6 cloves garlic

1 ½ C cider vinegar

1/3 C brown sugar

3 t Red Chile Powder (or just regular chili powder)

2 t granulated garlic

1 t cumin

1t black pepper, ground

1 t sea salt

Preparation:

soak the chiles and minced garlic and onions in the vinegar to soften the chiles and meld the flavors. Then, in a blender puree all ingredients into a paste and mix with the ground meat. Form into patties, scramble with eggs, or put into links, your preference. For my next rendition of chorizo, I’ll elect to add some paprika and cut the vinegar a little bit. This one had too much vinegar for my taste.

The pictures that follow show: 1- mixing the blood sausage, 2-stuffing it into casings, 3- blood sausage before simmering, 4- blood sausage after simmering and ready to taste test!

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