22 November, 2008

Pizza Chop

Making pizza sausage without a grinder.

Got some chicken and a big knife? Let’s make some sausage. Friday night means pizza here at the hermitage, and I use it as a chance to clean out the fridge. But what if you don’t have any… (Horrors!)… sausage on hand. Here’s a pretty quick way to produce the popular pizza topping.

I bought a whole chicken at the beginning of the week, boned it, made stock. With the stock I made broccoli soup, and from half of the chicken I made a curry. I took the remaining breast and thigh for the sausage. It weighed about a pound, I diced it. The smaller the better.

Diced chicken in the frezzer

Mixing it up.
I mixed some salt and spices with the diced chicken, I let it rest in the fridge for 15 minutes. After the spices had a chance to soak in, I spread the mixture on a sheet pan lined with parchment and popped it into the freezer. It got good and crunchy in about 20 minutes.

Chopping Chicken

Chop Chop Chop
I got the cleaver and started chopping like I was on TV, fast and furious. It took 4 or 5 minutes to get it to the mince that I wanted. Yeah, I suppose I could have used a Cuisinart, but where’s that sport in that? Once chopped, I kneaded the sausage and added a splash of red wine vinegar. Then I cooked it.

Pizza time
My pizza stone cracked into three pieces about eight years ago but it still works. I put it on the top rack and put the oven on high for about an hour. As for the crust, I use a combination of Sapphire and whole wheat and give it an all day rise. The best discussion I’ve found about various pizza dough formulas is in the book American Pie, by Peter Reinhart. Go to the library and check it out.

Here’s where a little heresy comes into play: I don’t care for the mess dusting my peel with semolina or cornmeal causes, so I put my pizza on parchment paper. I would cringe if I saw this in a professional operation (and I have), but at home it saves me from the odor of burning corn meal in the oven. When I’m ready to bake, I move the stone to the bottom of the oven and put in the pie. I pull the parchment after about five minutes and I can use it again for the next pie.

Pizza with sausage, garlic and poblano pepper

When done, cut into wedges, or squares if in Columbus, oh wait, pizza joints cut it in squares here too, and serve with beer. A fire in the fireplace, Myazaki movie on the tube, Friday night family fun.

Here’s the spices I used for 1 pound (450 grams) of Chicken:
8 g salt
3 g black peppercorns
3 g whole fennel
2 g whole coriander
1 g brown mustard seeds

Mix spices together and run them through a spice mill.

Happy Birthday Mom.



Sal said...

If you ever replace your pizza stone try this instead. Go to Loews or Home Depot and purchase six 8" unglazed quarry tiles. Total price is about $5 and the tiles will cover the width and depth of your oven shelf or floor (depending on the actual dimensions of your oven).

Andrew said...

Impressive-I have two good cleavers, but have yet to try to make sausage that way. Someone needs to write an homage to the bounty that can be had from a humble chicken.

Sal-I've seen some folks take it even a step further by vertically arranging a couple of tiles on each side of the flat tiles to get a complete brick oven.

mac said...

Dear Sal:

I think that's a great idea. It reminded me that growing up my mom used titles from our back porch to line the oven, good times.


Get out the cleavers, man. Our pioneering ancestors used them for sausage before the invention of the grinder. Freezing the dice really gives you a nice kibble, and opposed to mush otherwise. Have you ever run a cleaver through an electric knife sharpener? Truly wicked, you should try it. Thanks for writing.

Andrew said...

Maybe I'll try making pate this way, I remember reading somewhere that it is better hand chopped. Freezing the meat a bit beforehand seems like a necessity.

A few weeks back I took one of the cleavers to some frozen pancetta; our kitchen counter is now officially "dinged"