Nov 18, 2011

Homemade Sausage

Hey, want to make sausage at home that doesn't involve casings and butchering and meat grinders? Not to mention you can choose the seasonings. Then read on. Here is a recipe that involves less than an hour of your time but will leave you with homemade sausage at the ready in your freezer for weeks. And this is another recipe that lends itself well to variations on a theme - my favorite kind of recipe. I found my inspiration in the November issue of Martha Stewart Living in a piece by Lucinda Scala Quinn.
Start with pork shoulder because it is flavorful and has a good ratio of fat to meat. I had the butcher prepare about five pounds of boneless shoulder at my local grocery store. Once home, I trimmed off only the most obvious and extra hunk of fat. At just over $2/lb (less if you bone it yourself), it's a very economical way to stock up on homemade food.

Let's start with the seasonings. Some of the classic spices for sausage include fennel, garlic, paprika, sage, and thyme. For my recipe I used the following (measurements are always heaping in my kitchen):

5 pounds boneless pork shoulder (you can make more or you can make less)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 teaspoons freshly ground allspice
1 1/2 tablespoon coarse salt
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon ground cayenne pepper

Take the boneless pork shoulder and cube it relatively large. Lay out the pieces on a baking sheet and freeze for about 20 minutes. You want to give the meat some durability before you pulse it in the food processor. You don't want it turning to paste after just a few pulses. Of course, if you were making steamed pork dumplings you'd want a paste. Another recipe.

While the pork is freezing, mix your seasonings. If you like, divide the mixture into as many equal parts as potential logs of sausage. Unless you have a giant food processor, you will need to work in batches to grind four or five pounds of meat.

Working in batches, season and pulse the meat to the consistency you like. I pulsed my batches relatively fine. I like a smaller grind to use for stuffing. And I want the mixture to hold up to slicing later and keep a patty shape in a frying pan.

After the first batch is pulsed, I cooked some of the meat in order to taste and, if needed, re-season or add more meat. It's the only way you're going to know if your flavors are heading in the right direction. Don't wait until you use this sausage in a nice recipe and find out with the first bite that it's bland or has too much sage.

As you pulse each batch, shape them into logs and wrap in parchment paper. According to the recipe I followed, you can freeze the sausage for up to six weeks. The parchment rolls sure do look rustic and all, but I put these parchment-wrapped logs into a freezer bag before I put them in the freezer. To use as patties, thaw the sausage only until it will yield to a knife so it's easy (and safe) to slice. Thaw it completely if you plan to crumble it and cook it.
It was delicious served along with baked polenta squares.

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails