Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sausage Take 2

I was excited for the second helping of the sausage challenge after the first one was literally a ‘bust’ (broken sausage stuffer.) Yes, my sausage stuffer was down and out, but, as luck would have it this challenge was the one where we had to actually stuff sausage. Duh? I mean I knew that. I was privy to it the whole time . . . well not so much, but whatever…

Tonight’s menu:

 Waldorf Sausage: Rouge Creamery ‘Cave Man Bleu Cheese’ and Chicken Sausage on a French Baguette with Mayo spread Topped with Celery, Grapes, Apple, and Toasted Walnuts. 

Summer Corn and Italian Sausage Soup with Basil and Avocado   

            Now the proud owner of a ‘hank’ (144ft.) of casings I needed to think of some innovative fillings. After all I don’t think casings have a high re-sale value – at least I couldn’t find a Craigslist heading that seemed appropriate. I may even end up stuffing Halloween candy into them for next year.

            Poultry sausage is not exactly on the top of my list. On the other hand, the idea of exchanging the pork fat for some other fat was intriguing enough. I mulled over all the plausible animal fat substitutes but none seemed suitable. Racking my head for ‘alternative’ fat replacements: oil, eggs, YES – CHEESE! I would try to make a Waldorf Salad - no - Waldorf SAUSAGE.

Recipe for Success:

2 Chicken Thighs (approx. 2.5 lbs.) boneless, skinless, well marbled
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1T Fresh Dill, Chopped
2 t Fresh Tarragon, Chopped
½ T Parsley, Chopped
2T Fleur de Sel
2 cracks White Pepper Mill
2 cracks Black Pepper Mill
Zest of 1 Lemon
1T Champagne Vinegar
t.t. Rouge River Cave Man Blue Cheese (I added about 3 oz)

1 French Baguette

1 Celery Stalk, Brunoise
1 Granny Smith Apple, Batonette
10 ea Red Grapes, Quartered
t.t Mayonnaise

.05lbs Raw Walnuts
Walnut oil (optional)

Make your sausage - cube your chick thighs into medium dice and pop them into the freezer. When the chicken is semi-frozen combine all remaining ingredients (except the cheese) in the bowl with the semi-frozen chicken. Work the mixture to distribute all the spice evenly. Grind through once on a Kitchen Aid and cook a tester to check for seasoning. When you're ready to stuff your sausage add the bleu cheese (Note: all of my sausage ingredients are cold.) Work and spread the cheese out evenly to resemble sausage marbling. Now your filling is ready to stuff into the casing. This recipe yields roughly 6 - 3” sausage links.

Next, sauté one link over medium flame until golden brown and delicious. Once the internal temperature is 165F remove from the heat and rest the meat in the pan. While the pan is resting toast your raw walnuts in a 400F oven for about 10 minutes until aromatic. While the walnuts are roasting prepare your fruits/vegetables and make your mayonnaise: 1 egg yolk to 1 c of canola oil, 1 t of Dijon mustard and salt and pepper to taste. If you don’t know how to make a mayonnaise, start by whisking your yolk with the Dijon slowly (drop by drop); whisking in your oil and only adding more once you have fully incorporated the previous oil drop completely.

            Once your walnuts are ready, toss them with a bit of walnut oil while still hot and season lightly with both salt and sugar. Slice and toast a piece of baguette and start plating: first a ‘schmear’ of mayo topped with celery.  Next, the quartered grapes, sausage, then top with the apple and walnuts. YUMMY! This sausage left such a great taste in my mouth you best believe there will be more like it to follow.

Next: the soup and sausage portion of the meal.

3 ears of yellow corn
2 T butter
t.t. salt
t.t. Black pepper

1 MICHAEL RUHLMAN Special Italian Sausage  

Avocado cut in half-moon shape
Tomato, brunoise
Genovese Basil Tips
Reserve Corn Kernels (roasted)

First make your sausage using the recipe in Michael Ruhlman book, "Charcuterie"

Visual Aid Fast Forward

Okay, so I usually encounter one or two problems and this time it was my casings. I must have been off because it took me three tries to not tear them.

This soup embodies summer for me. There is no smoke and mirrors here so only prepare this soup when you can obtain the best summer corn. Still a bit early in the season, I walked past a ‘luck would have it’ awesome display of corn and after what I call “self serve sampling”, found it was delicious. First reserve about 2 T of the whole raw corn kernels. The second key to this soup is the way of “milking” the corn and involves a single use kitchen tool called a ‘corn creamer’. Usually I’m not a fan of the single use items but I thought I should use it because it was already in my possession. What is does: scrape the seed and part of the husk to yield both the liquid and solids of the corn. Now this starchy job can get a bit messy and so I prefer to use it in the sink. 

When you are finished, place the raw scraped corn ears into a pot and fill with just enough water to cover them. Simmer over medium heat for 25 minutes – corn stock is a way to thin your soup without losing flavor. This recipe yields about 1 pint of soup so try to work as clean as possible in catching all of the solids and liquids.

Next, transfer your hard work into a Vita Prep blender and puree on high until smooth. Strain the soup using your finest slotted strainer. Pop the reserved raw corn kernels on a tray and place in a 375F oven and roast until brown - about 10 minutes. While the kernels are roasting, transfer your soup into a small pot and place over medium heat while stirring frequently. Note: if left unstirred too long, the starches will be quick to stick to the bottom of the pot and burn.

Sauté your sausages until golden brown all over. While your sausage is resting add butter to your soup while you are stirring, being careful to dissolve all of the butter into the warm soup. If your soup is too thick add some of your corn stock to thin it out.

Now we are ready to plate up. Serve your soup in a warm bowl because it’s so much more delightful. Ladle in your soup then sprinkle your garnish on top then enjoy!