13 February, 2007

Breakfast of Champions

Making sausage without a grinder.

You got company coming this weekend so you hit the sausage blog for some menu ideas. Saucisson has got you covered. You say to yourself, "Gee, yeah I wanna make sausage, but I don't have a grinder." Saucisson says "No worries!" (No, I don't really say that). But really, what says happiness better than the aroma of breakfast sausage cooking on a cold winter morning? Let's get started.

First things first. You might want to make this the day before, unless you have children who get you up at 5:45 and eat only granola bars.

The ingredient list is simple: Garlic, sage, ginger, pepper and salt. I used a bit of pork belly left over from another project, but at the store I would get pork shoulder. Dice up the pork shoulder and mix in the herbs and spices.

If you have time put this mixture in the fridge for at least an hour. Next spread the mixture in one layer onto a cookie sheet preferably lined with parchment paper. Put the sheet into the freezer until the mixture is not quite frozen solid but crispy, about 1/2 hour.

Now the fun part.

At this point you could get grinder out and let the machine do the work. But say you lent your grinder to the neighbor and he is off skiing. Find your biggest sharpest knife. Lay out the mostly frozen sausage mixture on a cutting board. Start chopping.

And chop and chop and chop and keep chopping, and chop chop chop. After a few minutes it will start looking like course sausage. In the picture above I chopped a little under two pounds of meat.

But we're not done yet. Put the chopped mixture into a bowl and stir in some cold water. Mix it big wooden spoon for a minute, or two, or until it starts coming together. Now go take a break your arm is tired.

Form the sausage into nice patties, put a film of oil into the saute pan and cook.

Before you start cooking the sausage, you need to make some biscuits. If you have a favorite biscuit recipe, get to work. We like big fluffy biscuits like the ones we get at Wishbone. I used to be the biscuit king in the house, but S. kicked me off that throne. She starts with the Fluffy Biscuits recipe from Best Recipe, by the editors of Cook's Illustrated, but it calls for a couple of ingredients that we don't usually have on hand: Cake flour and buttermilk.

To get her biscuits tall and fluffy, S. uses all purpose flour with a tablespoon of corn starch, and instead of buttermilk, plain yogurt. here's the adapted recipe:

2 cups AP flour

1 T corn starch

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

8 T (one stick, or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes and chilled

3/4 heaping cup of plain yogurt

Preheat oven to 450F. Whisk together dry ingredients in large bowl or in a food processor with the metal blade. Cut in the chilled butter or pulse in the processor just until the mixture resembles wet sand (coarse sand like in Michigan, not Chicago sand). Stir or pulse in the yogurt until the dough starts to come together. If it seems too dry add some milk. Quick doughs don't like to be handled too much, so don't over mix. Divide into 8 or 12 pieces and cook on an ungreased baking sheet. 10 minutes should do it.

For making scrambled eggs, use only the freshest eggs laid by buff orpingtons, still warm from the hen house, a little salt, a little pepper. Lightly beat with the tiniest bit of milk which breaks up the protein strands and allows the eggs to fluff while cooking. Do not burn.


Here's the sausage ingredient list. I adjusted the amounts for a pound of pork. A pound is plenty for breakfast. You'll also notice I call for dried sage. I usually would never use dried herbs for anything, but I also don't like paying for the boxed stuff at the grocery. If you have a good source for the fresh stuff, get it and at least double the amount of the fresh as called for the dried. Or just use dried, or if you got some outside under the snow...

It works.

Ginger and Sage Breakfast Sausage

1 lb (455g) Pork Shoulder
8g (heaping tsp) Salt
10g (Tablespoon) Ginger, grated
2g (2 Tablespoons) dry rubbed sage
4g (4 cloves) garlic, peeled and minced
2g (1 tsp) Ground black pepper
50ml (1/3 cup) ice water

Please note the volume measurements are approximations of the metric measurements. Just do what smells right and have a great breakfast.


1 comment:

John said...

I made these waffles with cake flour - outstanding. Very light and crispy.
Thanks, MAC.