Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Re: Saucisse fraîche

I've never made homemade sausage, mainly because I've always figured the endeavor would be a big, big pain in the ass. This, however, I might have to try:

I wouldn’t have thought about making homemade sausages ... if it weren’t for a great diner breakfast I had, complete with homemade pork sausage patties. Patties don’t require sheep intestines. And if I bought pre-ground meat, I wouldn’t need a grinder.

It’s true that without the skins, sausages don’t have the juicy snap of biting into the end of a good kielbasa (or hot dog for that matter). But I’d be able to put them together in the same amount of time it would take to make a burger. And here’s something you can’t take for granted: I’d be able to control what, exactly, goes into them. I started experimenting with regular ground pork. Although most sausage recipes call for added pork fat, I figured my pork was fatty enough, and without a grinder, extra lard would be hard to incorporate into the meat.

I seasoned the pork with red wine, rosemary and prunes for a little sweetness, then formed it into patties and fried them. Served with a toasted baguette, it was the easiest and tastiest meal I’d made in a while.

Next I played with ground lamb, turning it into fiery merguez with loads of cayenne, garlic and cilantro. I served it over couscous tossed with harissa and chickpeas.

For the merguez, I chose to form them into long cigar shapes instead of patties, for aesthetic reasons. Looks are important when it comes to skinless sausages. Make big fat patties and you’ve got what amounts to intensely seasoned hamburgers. Roll them small and round and they’re meatballs. (Not that that is at all bad.)

Most recently, I delved into chicken sausages. Those that I had bought at the market were always bland and dry, and I wanted to do better.

I started with ground dark-meat chicken, which has more fat and flavor than white meat. Unable to decide between a chipotle-laced sausage with cumin or a Chinese-inspired one with star anise and soy, I made a half-batch of each. Both versions fried up crisp on the outside, tender within and flavorful all around.

And though they require little effort, they are still something to brag about.


Mister Jimmy said...

Were you listening to Bavarian Oompah accordian music while you made yer sausage?
I've always favored dark chicken/turkey over white meat. It's mo' tastier!

Joltin' Django said...

Were you listening to Bavarian Oompah accordian music while you made yer sausage?

Will you help me?!