Sunday, May 15, 2011

Breakfast Sausage and Bunny for Brunch (I Love Springtime)

An Ode to Spring:

“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.”
I love thee longingly, foraging underneath thy sun
I love thee swimmingly, the salmon that just now run
I love thee patiently, thy bounty within my beds just sprung
I love thee tenderly, as I braise, deep fry and cook thy young  
Spring has sprung and it's delicious! 

Okay so my ode to spring may not be all-inspiring. Humor was a must with all of the "happenstances" I encountered during this challenge.

What happened?

24 hour power outage (mid sausage stuffing)
Sausage stuffer broke (simultaneous to power outage)
Dry-cured chorizo sausage caught harmful mold (threw out all my chorizo)

Enough excuses - I salvaged what I could. . .

The Menu:

Suckling Chorizo Terrine with Baguette and Radish Salad

Breakfast Sausage with Buttermilk Fried Rabbit on Wild Rice Waffle with Candy Cap Mushroom Syrup     

Originally I tried to go for the gold. I made a traditional, Espelette pepper, dry cured chorizo. I ground the pork shoulder added my seasonings and loaded the sausage stuffer then “click” - the lights went out. Awesome. . . not! Stuffing sausage during a blackout by candle light, is not as romantic as it my sound.
I went with it, however, mid-way through, like a tire bursting mid-acceleration, my sausage stuffer had a blow out. Alone in the dark I decided to take what I got out of ole’ reliable, freeze the remaining stuffing, and call it a day.
I formed the links the next afternoon under the unnatural (yet comforting) glow of my florescent lights and placed my chorizo to hang. Beautiful!


Well it WAS beautiful until I went to cook with it the other week. . . blue green mold! NOOOO . . . TRASHED IT!
Alas there was still chorizo I saved waiting for me in my freezer!
I would make a spring time terrine – a suckling pork chorizo terrine to be exact.

Working with suckling pig is amazing! Different – but amazing! I would strongly recommend the investment. On the other hand, perhaps an older more developed whole shoulder muscle of pig, like the one I used, would be better suited to grinding. The shoulder is said to exist in a textbook 80 percent lean meat to 20 percent fat ratio. An ideal that lends itself , perfectly, to making fantastic sausage.

Onward with the recipe for success . . .

1 Suckling Pig (25-40 pounds)
1Head Garlic, halved (root removed)
1 Onion, peeled and quartered
1 quart Milk
1 Gallon Chicken Stock
1Tablespoon Black Peppercorns, Toasted
10-15 Sprigs English Thyme (4 inch long sprigs)
1 cup Chopped Parsley
2 quarts Chorizo Sausage
3 Radishes
½ cup flat leaf parsley
to taste Verjus
to taste Salt
to taste Pepper

Place a large sauté pan or a very shallow large pot over moderate/high heat and canola oil to lightly coat bottom of pan. Remove the head from the suckling pig as well as the shoulder. Pat dry and lightly cover all the surfaces with salt. Place the salted and dry head into the pan followed by the shoulder pieces. Do not disturb the meat until it is golden brown (about 5 minutes) then rotate until golden brown on all sides.
When the meat is nearing its finish add your quartered onion and garlic. When everything in your pot is brown (not black) add 1 cup of the chicken stock to the pan and scrape loose all of the brown solids that remain on the bottom of the pan. Transfer the contents of your pan to a pot (if not already) then cover only half way up the height of the meat using a ratio of 4 parts chicken stock to each 1 part of milk. Use your judgment, I listed 1 quart of milk and 1 gallon of chicken stock, because to achieve my half way mark, in the pot I was using, meant that volume of total liquid. 
Toss your thyme, as well as, your peppercorns into the mix cover your pot with foil (or lid) then place into a 300 oven for 3-5 hours. The braise should be tender and falling off the bones however, still have integrity as meat should.  When your braise is done, pick the meat and skin from the bones and cool. Strain the braising liquid if any remains. Note that the milk will coagulate, however, you should be able to strain the coagulated parts out.
Remove the belly of the suckling pig and small dice. You are looking to have about 1quart of small dice belly in total.

Next fill an oven proof basin that will fit your terrine mold, with water. Remember to account for the displacement of the water that the terrine will create. You want the terrine mold to be completely surrounded by water on all four walls, yet not submerged or leaking inside of it. Place this basin in a 300 degree oven. Next line your terrine molds with plastic wrap.

Mix all of your braise, diced belly, chorizo sausage, and chopped parsley by hand until even distributed. Season with salt and pepper and cook off a patty to check for seasoning.

When everything is seasoned to your liking pack the meat mixer firmly into the lined terrine molds. Fold any overhanging plastic wrap over the top of the exposed meat then place the terrine lid on and return the filled terrine to the basin of water in the oven. Using a thermometer check the internal temperature every 20 minutes until it reached 145 then remove from the oven and let cool for 30 minutes at room temperature then completely cool under refrigeration.
By the following day you will be ready to un-mold and serve your terrine. Simply lift the plastic wrap and invert the mold to remove your terrine. Slice yourself a nice portion along with a couple of thick slices of a good baguette. Use a mandolin to slice the radishes then arrange your salad of radishes and parsley dressed with Verjus on the plate - toast your baguette in the oven and dig in!

 2-3 Rabbit Loins
1quart Buttermilk
2 Cups AP Flour
1 Roulade Breakfast sausage
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup Candy Cap Mushrooms, dried 
2/3 cup Wild Rice, Raw
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups AP Flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 ¾ cups Buttermilk
4 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon kosher salt
10 tablespoons butter, unsalted and melted

I have been trying to execute this dish for a while. I read about Tom Douglas’s wild rice waffles 2 years ago and was soo excited to "taste" them out. No time like the present! Tom Douglas paired them with salmon, but, I decided to welcome spring with bunny. Yeah I know, Americans aren’t use to bunny, perhaps because they are cute. Perhaps because it takes a lot of time to prepare the raw product, for not a lot of meat however, I promise you, fried bunny is the best way to induct this animal into your repertoire.

A word about the syrup – it’s super tasty! The syrup is sweet and aromatic without the fungal side of this fungus a "crowd-pleaser" - if you will. People will ask you time and time again if you made the syrup with maple syrup to which you will reply, "No! Vermont's maple trees got nothing on this mushroom." 

Alright time to cook:

First cut the rabbit loin into 1 inch lengths and marinate over night in 1 quart of buttermilk. The following day bring 1 c of sugar and 1 c of water to a simmer (simple syrup) then add 1 c of dried candy cap mushrooms – cover and leave to steep off the flame for 1 hour. Strain and reserve.

Simmer the wild rice in 2 cups of chicken stock until fully cooked. Strain the cooked rice and reserve. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Separately, mix buttermilk, yolks, melted butter, and wild rice. Next whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.  Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Fold the whipped eggs whites into the batter being careful not to deflate the whites.
Follow the instructions for your waffle maker and cook your waffles. Hold them warm in a 250 degree oven. 

Heat fry oil to 350 degrees on the stove. Remove your rabbit from the buttermilk and roll in the flour (you may season your flour if you wish paprika, salt, thyme whatever.) Fry until golden brown and delicious looking!

Okay so as I mentioned my sausage stuffer is in the chop shop but I decided to make sausage anyway. I used plastic wrap to roll around instead of a casing. After which I poached the sausage and by the magic of meat proteins a sausage without a casing was made. Just go ahead and pat me on the back for that one because I’m still bummed about the broken equipment.

I sliced a portion from that sausage then seared it on one side for this application.

Okay enough lamenting - put your waffle down on the plate, top it with seared sausage and fried rabbit then drizzle over your candy cap mushroom syrup and enjoy! If you like buttery waffles you may find that seasoned butter mixed with english thyme leaves makes this dish even better!

This was truly a challenge for me but such is life! I learned everything is better when you have candy cap mushroom syrup in your belly. That was my cure this month!