Category Archives: Charcuterie

Sausage Gravy

Buttermilk biscuits covered with sausage gravy and young kale.

Sausage gravy ladled over biscuits is a classic comfort dish of the American south.  While you can certainly use fresh, raw sausage in the preparation, it is also a good trick up your sleeve to deal with cooked sausages leftover from a brunch or barbecue. 

Leftover sausages are often dry and a touch mealy.  Just as you might flake leftover fish and mix it with mayonnaise, or shred leftover roast beef and heat it in barbecue sauce, coating leftover sausages in gravy reintroduces moisture.

One detail: to develop depth of flavour it’s a good idea to brown the crumbled sausage so that a good fond develops in the bottom of the pan.  Once the butter and onions are added, use … Continue reading.

Ham Sausage Recipe

Homemade ham sausage.

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[1], 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.

Mexican Chorizo Sausage Recipe

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.

Mexican Chorizo

Ingredients

  • 1 kg pork shoulder
  • 16 g kosher salt
  • 5.5 g hot smoked paprika (I use
Continue reading.

Nürnberger Rostbratwurst – Nürnberger Sausage Recipe

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.

Pastrami

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.

The Three Pillars of Sausage-Making Wisdom

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.

Greek Lamb Sausage

I have Greek food on the brain.  The current infatuation has many diverse origins.  For starters this summer is the ten year anniversary of an epic trip through southern Greece, and I have been reading old food notes from the journey.  Also I’ll be doing a class on Greek mezze for Metro Continuing Education this fall.  With all this in mind last week I made a Greek lamb sausage.

Coils of Greek lamb sausageIn 2008 I spent five weeks in Greece, eating in tavernas two or three times a day.  I don’t think I ever had a sausage like this.  In other words this sausage is not traditional, but it is very much inspired by Greek loukaniko, a pork sausage flavoured with orange … Continue reading.

Introduction to Charcuterie

This is the information I provide students in my Charcuterie at Home class, which I run a few times a year for Metro Continuing Education.

A charcuterie plate with air-dried beef in the top right.

What is charcuterie?

  • Charcuterie is a French word, from char for flesh or meat, and cuit for
    cooked.
  • Originally this was a medieval guild that was allowed to prepare certain cooked
    meat dishes like pâté and terrine.
  • These days it broadly refers to cured meat, whether bacon, ham, salami,
    prosciutto, or even duck confit and jerky.  It also encompasses other meat preparations like fresh sausages.
  • Most charcuterie techniques – salt-curing, smoking, and air-drying – were
    developed as a way to preserve meat.
  • Even though we now have ways to pasteurize, refrigerate, and freeze
    meat, we
Continue reading.

Corned Beef

Originally posted on March 18, 2012

Corned beef and its delicious, delicious juicesCorned beef, also known as salt beef and spiced beef, is a national dish of Ireland.  Recipes vary, but the cure is usually made of kosher salt, curing salt, a heap of brown sugar, and spices like clove, allspice, black pepper, and mustard seed.  The cured meat is gently simmered (usually in water, sometimes in beer) until tender, and can be eaten hot or cold.

To clarify, corned beef has nothing to do with maize.  “Corn” was once a broad English term for a small bit, whether a grain of wheat, or a crystal of salt.  “Corned beef” is beef that has been covered in corns of salt.[1]

Like most charcuterie, corned beef … Continue reading.

Butcher’s Cake

A slice of butcher's cake with a dollop of crème fraîche and a salad.I’ll mention right off the hop that this concept is from the brain of Emmanuel (Manu) Thériault.  He might have made this when he was at Woodwork, but I’m not sure.  He calls it “Butcher’s Cake”.  He told me about it and I think it’s one of the most brilliant food ideas I’ve heard in a very long time.

Part of the reason I am so enamored with butcher’s cake is because I work in a sandwich shop. When you work in a sandwich shop, you have at least three significant sources of possible waste.  The first is bread.  Bread is a problem ingredient because it has such short shelf life.  It can be difficult to maintain fresh inventory, and … Continue reading.