Friday, July 15, 2011

Making the Best of the Wurst

My culinary school career lasted all of about seven months. Make no mistake; I left scarred from the experience. Garde Manger was the final class requirement (my final culinary class indefinitely) before one got trusted into a professionally kitchen for 6 months to see who would sink or swim on back across the Hudson river to the safety of cooking “school’.” Under the umbrella of Garde Manger falls canap├ęs, soups, salads, sausages, etc. The layout of the textbook was beautiful and the course itineraries appeared innovative. On the first day of class, the students, save for one, were seated awaiting roll call. As the second hand hit the minute, a tall man with a perfectly ironed jacket, a neckerchief, and black socks that matched the black in his Dansko shoes appeared in the doorway. When he walked in he starred all of us in the eyes with a cool face and began to speak . . . out came a voice that wasn’t native to this country - it sounded more like the one belonging to Dr. Strangelove of the movie Dr. Strangelove, or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. Just in case you aren’t familiar, Dr. Strangelove is war time advisor for America who suffers from diagonistic apraxia, or alien hand syndrome.
As he started his lesson, the final member of our class walked in three minutes late. Like in the movie I could just see his afflicted hand ball into a fist as he gracefully inquired who this student was and why he thought it was okay to enter a class that had already begun. The rant continued for 5 minutes until the kid decided to walk out directly to the scheduling office to drop the class entirely. Yes this was the man from whom I originally learned how to emulsify sausage. A man who’s high pitch, German accented voice would bleat belittlingly insults, jabbing at your confidence. He was also a believer in nutmeg, so much so that he carried a mini microplane and piece of nutmeg around in his pocket.
         Needless to say I thought, in homage, an abomination of everything German would be appropriate.

Tonight’s Menu:

Hot Dog Pretzel on a Stick with Homemade Mustard and Pickles

Weisswurst Sausage with Beet Kraut and Chicken Fat Aioli Potato Salad

Warning: never try to make an emulsified sausage without a grinder or food processor. I tried and failed miserably just because I wanted to prove you could.

1 Michael Ruhlman & Brian Polcyn Hot Dog Recipe

1 Alton Brown Homemade Soft Pretzel Recipe:

1.5 c (110 degree Water)
1T Sugar
2t Kosher Salt
1 Package Active Dry Yeast
22 oz All-Purpose Flour
2 oz Unsalted Butter, Melted
Vegetable Oil
10 c Water
2/3 c Baking Soda
1 Large Egg beaten with 1 T water
Pretzel Salt

For the Mustard:

1 c Yellow Mustard Seeds, Whole
½ c Brown Mustard Seeds, Whole
3 c Water
1 c Champagne Vinegar
½ c White Wine Vinegar
1T Kosher Salt

For the Pickle:

10 Pickling Cucumbers
3T kosher salt
2 c White Wine Vinegar
1 c Water
3 Garlic Cloves
1 Bunch Dill
5 All-Spice Berries, Toasted
5 Black Pepper Berries, Toasted
1 Bay Leaf

Make the sausage. As I mentioned, I tried hand chopping in hopes of creating an alternative emulsification process but, FAILED. The same day I rested my meat with the salt mix I also began my mustard and pickles. To start the mustard, pour both seeds into a Kerr jar with the water. Cover the jar and leave to soak in the refrigerator for 48 hours. The same day you may also wash and clean your cucumbers. Once dry, add the salt and work it into the cucumbers. Cover and leave out 24 hours.

 You can also mix your pickle liquid ahead of time as well. Combine all remaining ingredients except for dill in a pot and bring to a boil on the stove. Taste it to see if you want to add anything else. Cool the liquid down and store in the refrigerator.
After 24 hours, rinse the cucumbers and place both them and the dill in the pickle liquid. After 48 hours continue making the sausage.

You may also drain and rinse off your mustard seeds. Simply place the drained mustard seeds in a blender, cover with the remaining ingredients and puree until smooth. The mustard will be spicy at first but the longer it sits the mellower it becomes.

While your dogs are smoking, start your pretzel. 
Combine water, sugar, and kosher salt in the bowl of a mixer and sprinkle yeast over this mixture. Let sit 5 minutes. Add the flour and butter. Mix on low with the hook attachment. On medium, knead until dough is smooth - about 5 minutes. Place dough in oiled bowl and let sit for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 450F. Bring 10 cups water and baking soda to boil. Roll out dough and wrap your hot dog. Blanch pretzel dog in the boiling water for 30 seconds. Place on oiled sheet tray. Brush with egg mixture and bake until golden brown - about 12 minutes or so.


For the Wurst

1 Michael Ruhlman & Brain Polcyn “Emulsified Sausage Master Recipe: Weisswurst”

For the kraut:

3 Golden Beets, Large
4 T Kosher Salt

For the Salad:

2 Yukon Potatoes, Large
1 Celery Stalk
½ White Onion
2 Egg Yolks
1.5c Canola Oil
1t Champagne Vinegar
1t Homemade Mustard
1 Garlic Clove
3T Chicken Fat

Make the kraut. Shred or julienne the beets. Work in the salt by squeezing the mixture in your hands. Leave out for 1 week in warm spot.

Make the sausage.

For the salad: wash and cube the potatoes into chunks. Pour cold water over them just until covered and bring to a simmer on the stove in salted water (more then you think you need) and about 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Cook until tender and cool potatoes at room temperature.

Make your aioli. Place egg yolks, mustard and vinegar in a blender on low speed. Drizzle in, drop by drop, the canola oil. In the same fashion, drizzle in the chicken fat. At the end add the garlic on medium speed until completely disintegrated. Small dice the onion and celery. Dress potatoes, celery, and onion in the aioli and let sit for at least 20 minutes.