This is definitely the most asked-about sausage style in my sausage-making classes. It is a hugely popular style in Alberta thanks to producers like Stawnichy’s. It goes by a confusing plethora of names – ham sausage, Ukrainian sausage, Mundare sausage, and for many people this is simply “kielbasa” even though that is a much, much broader family. So to clarify, the sausage I’m talking about in this post has the following characteristics:
- the interior is the rosy colour of ham (ie. it contains curing salt)
- the interior of the sausage is typically studded with larger chunks of ham-like lean pork
- the sausage is smoked and can be served hot or cold
I believe this style almost … Continue reading.
There once was a woman who organized Regency Era events in Edmonton, featuring period-appropriate music, clothing, dancing, and food. The Regency Era is an obscure period of time to most North Americans, so allow me to illuminate. It preceded the Victorian Era in Great Britain. It is so-called because the ruler of England was the Prince Regent, George. His father George III was technically king, but deemed unfit to rule on account of mental illness. This was the period in which Jane Austen lived, and for you nerdy food historians, it is also the era of Carême and the dawn of the modern culinary tradition. For a while Carême was actually the personal chef of the Prince Regent.
Anyways there … Continue reading.
I make absolutely no claim to the authenticity of this chorizo sausage recipe. It contains the flavours I use when making my gringo version of Mexican food, namely cumin, chili, garlic, and oregano.
While I’m sure it would be tasty on a bun, I usually cook with this sausage un-cased or loose. It’s great in tacos and quesadillas, but I absolutely love applications where the beautiful, spicy, vibrant red fat can be used. For instance if you fry the loose chorizo in a pan, then cook onions and peppers in the fat that is released, then make a frittata, as pictured at left.
- 1 kg pork shoulder
- 16 g kosher salt
- 5.5 g hot smoked paprika (I use
… Continue reading.
Nürnberger Rost-bratwurst: the little sausages with the big name. “Nürnberger” means from Nuremburg. “Rost” means roasted, as they are usually grilled over an open fire (often charred quite a bit actually). And “Bratwurst” of course is a style of fresh sausage.
Their most obvious trait is their diminutive size: they are usually slender and about three inches long. For this reason one typically consumes many in one sitting. Actually in Nürnberg they are always served in multiples of three, say, three of them on a bun (called Drei im Weggla) or six on a plate, with mustard and sauerkraut.
Exact recipes vary widely, but Nürnberger Rostbratwurst are flavoured with typical Bavarian sausage spices like mace, marjoram, white pepper, and lemon … Continue reading.
For a few years I’ve been making pastrami simply by making this corned beef, then after the cure is finished, coating the meat with crushed coriander and black pepper, then hot-smoking to temperature. This is a method that has served me well, but I’ve been reading quite a bit about the Jewish delis of New York, most notably David Sax’s book Save the Deli. In his description of how the pastrami is made at Katz’s, there were two surprises to me.
First, he says that they don’t actually use brisket, but “navel”. This is definitely not part of standard Canadian meat-cutting nomenclature, but it’s described as being adjacent to the brisket, which made me wonder if it … Continue reading.
I have come to realize that I am quite resistant to new ideas. For me, new ideas are anything that I didn’t grow up with or study in school. For years I scoffed at modernist techniques and equipment like immersion circulators, xanthan gum, and anti-griddles. (Actually I’m still not convinced of the usefulness of that last one). I was even more vehement in my opposition to hippie fads like veganism, raw food, and more recently, kombucha.
In retrospect it is crazy that I didn’t look into kombucha earlier. For a couple summers I sold homemade raw apple cider vinegar at the 124th Street Grand Market. To my surprise, about 90% of the people who bought vinegar from me were … Continue reading.
Calabrese means ‘from Calabria’, which is a province in southern Italy. The foundational flavours of Calabrese cuisine are olive oil, garlic, chili, and fennel seed. My understanding is that many of the Italians in Edmonton have roots in Calabria. So here, as in many other parts of North America with lots of southern Italian immigrants, this flavour profile has simply become “Italian”. Like if you go to the Italian market and something is labelled “Spicy Italian Sausage” you can bet that it contains garlic, chili, and fennel. Even though this particular combination isn’t common in most of Italy.
Anyways. This is my attempt to replicate one of the Calabrese sausages made at Mercato, in Calgary, where I worked over the … Continue reading.
Borscht: all of the vegetables, but mostly beets, crammed into possibly the most vibrant soup in western cooking. In central Alberta borscht is second only to perogy’s as the culinary torch of Ukrainian heritage.
I distinctly remember the first time I saw borscht. It was many, many years before I came to Alberta, living as a young boy in Ontario. I family friend made it and I can’t describe how strange it was to me. The only purple items I’d seen for human consumption was grape juice. It now seems not just acceptable but strikingly beautiful and such a special ode to the root cellar.
I think your borscht should be tailored to the exact veggies you have on … Continue reading.
A really great sausage is not as common as you might think.
I have a vested interest in saying this because I’m in the sausage-making business, but it’s the truth. A lot of the sausages that I eat have dry, mealy, sometimes even crumbly textures.
The primary goal of my sausage-making classes is to teach people that these are not matters of personal taste, but objective flaws in a sausage, plain and simple. A sausage should have the well-bound fat content that makes it decadently moist in your mouth. If there is any sense of abrasion on your tongue from dry, crumbly meat, the sausage was not properly made.
I’ve identified what I believe are the three most common roots … Continue reading.
Devilled eggs: no dish so readily conjures summers on the back deck, picnics, barbecues, church basements, impromptu patio gatherings…
As discussed in my poetically titled Simmering Eggs in their Shell post, old eggs are the only eggs that will peel easily. They are ideal for devilled eggs.
My personal recipe for devilled eggs follows, a little more complex than the standard mustard, paprika, and white vinegar. Mighty tasty with a beer or cider.
- 6 large eggs – preferably eggs that have been in your fridge for a couple weeks
- water for boiling those eggs
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tsp hot mustard
- 2 tsp sweet paprika
- 1/2 tsp celery salt
- 1/4 tsp smoked hot paprika
- 1/4 tsp black
… Continue reading.