It recently dawned on me that I don’t have any sausage recipes on this site. Which is crazy. So I’m going to post a bunch. For details on procedure and technique, I have two posts linked below. Also… I happen to be teaching a sausage-making class for Metro Continuing Education on October 19, 2016.
I wanted to create an artisan version of the little sausages you get at dive-y breakfast institutions like the Commodore. The kind of diners that that pour you bad coffee all morning.
North American breakfast sausage is usually made entirely of pork. It is ground quite fine and mixed to emulsify so that it has a very delicate texture. It is often flavoured … Continue reading.
Preßwurst, transliterated “presswurst” and pronounced “PRESS-voorst,” is Austrian headcheese.
Headcheese is a polarizing preparation with a terrible name, but I think borrowing a trick from Preßwurst can make headcheese much more palatable to North Americans.
Both dishes are made from pork head and trotter. The meat is brine-cured so it is rosy pink, then simmered until tender. The meat is strained, shredded, and packed into a mold with some of the gelatin-rich cooking liquid, which firms into aspic when chilled. Full details on the procedure can be found in this post.
The most important way in which Austrian Preßwurst differs from North American headcheese is that after being packed into the mold, a heavy weight is rested on … Continue reading.
Schmalzfleisch is one of the staple Aufstriche (spreads) at an Austrian Heuriger. If that sentence made absolutely no sense to you, read this post before proceeding.
Schmalzfleisch literally means “fat-meat”. It is one of several dishes Austrians have developed to use up irregular scraps of cured meat, like the very end of a ham that can’t quite be passed through the meat slicer.
The process for making Schmalzfleisch is simple: pieces of cured meat are ground, then mixed with rendered lard to form a cohesive paste that can be spread on bread. Traditionally cured meat and fat are the only two ingredients. I like to add a touch of mustard for balancing acidity.
If you grew up in … Continue reading.
Schweinsbraten literally means “roasted pork”. If you order it in an Austrian restaurant, you will get a slice of greyish meat, usually but not always from the shoulder of the animal. If you order it in an Austrian Heuriger, you will get something a bit different.
All the food at a Heuriger is served cold, and meat is typically cured. Schweinsbraten at a Heuriger is cured, like ham. What makes this particular ham so special is the cut of meat it is made from: the Schopf.
The Schopf extends forward from the loin of the pig, into the shoulder primal. It has the same round cross-section as the loin, only it also has a very healthy amount of … Continue reading.
When I first had Blunz’n at a tavern in Austria I had a very narrow idea of what blood sausage was. Most of the blood sausage I had eaten before this moment I had made myself, following recipes in Ruhlman’s Charcuterie and the Au Pied de Cochon cookbook. These versions are simply pork blood studded with cubes of pork fat and onion. The Austrian Blunz’n before me was radically different: it was soft and moist, but closer in texture to a dumpling then boudin noir, and it was burgundy, not black.
Before I left Austria I got a Blunz’n recipe from one of my chaperones. I read through the recipe and thought there must have been some kind of … Continue reading.
Leberkäse is an emulsified sausage mixture that is shaped into a block, baked, and sliced to order. Picture hot dog filling, only instead of stuffed into casings it’s packed into a loaf pan.
Yes: a hot dog terrine.
For the record the name literally means “liver cheese,” but usually contains neither liver nor cheese. There is, however, a preparation called Käseleberkäse, which is Leberkäse studded with cubes of cheese in the style of a Käsekrainer.
Where would you eat Leberkäse? Austria and Bavaria, for starters. More specifically sausage stands, beer gardens, grocery stores, and any other place that might hot-hold food for quick service. The loaves are baked till they have a … Continue reading.
“What the hell is pâté?”
Pâté is fancy French meatloaf: it’s ground meat, bound with dairy, eggs, and bread. The only difference is that pâté usually contains some liver, and it’s usually eaten cold. If it’s baked in a special ceramic dish, it can be called a terrine.
Within that definition, there is a spectrum of pâtés that runs from rustic to refined. The two qualities that decide a pâté’s place on the spectrum are texture and ingredients. Rustic pâtés are coarser in texture and made with cheaper, heartier ingredients, like liver. They are often described by words like campagne (“country”), grandmère (“grandma”), and maison (“house”). Refined pâtés have a finer, creamier texture and feature meat more prominently than liver. … Continue reading.
I’ve given details on preparing tongue a couple times (here for buffalo, here for pork). This corned beef tongue was brined with curing salt and lots of pickling spice. As you can see in the picture, the tongue has some insanely thorough fat marbling. It actually looks a bit like Wagyu beef! Fantastic sandwich…
After this year’s Eat Alberta conference, I had a few people ask me about giving some kind of “advanced” sausage-making class. I wouldn’t consider myself an expert sausagemaker, but at Nomad I got to make them almost every week, so I picked up lots of tricks. I thought I’d compile some of those ideas in this post.
The following are notes on refining ingredients and techniques to better tailor your sausages to your liking.
Ingredients: The Meat and Fat
Every book on sausage-making says pretty much the same thing: use shoulder. Maybe jowl, maybe belly, and maybe a bit of trim from around the carcass, but shoulder is the undisputed sausage-making cut. The reasons are this:
… Continue reading.
Michael Ruhlman is one of my favourite food writers, and a handful of his books have changed the way I think about food and cooking. I’m convinced that his book Ratio is the single most powerful and pragmatic cookbook ever written. He had a hand in The French Laundry Cookbook, one of the most influential cookbooks of the last twenty years. In his narrative Soul of a Chef he describes the discipline and dedication required to work in kitchens like that of The French Laundry. And of course there is the seminal book Charcuterie, a collaboration between Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn that almost single-handedly started a cured meat revival in restaurants and home kitchens and backyards across … Continue reading.