10 November, 2011

Liver sausage and other names

Amuse-bouche: Goat kibbeh, liver sausage, cranberry

Liver sausage. Liver. Just the word makes some people uncomfortable, whereas others may refer to the belly or the loin or the ham with delicious anticipation. I have always liked liver, as kid I remember smooshing chicken liver pate on club crackers at Christmas parties. Fat and unami whipped together in a spreadable paste, what's not to love?

I have several posts about making liver sausage/pate. In this episode I do a sliceable liver sausage, and I'll show you a restaurant trick of forming sausages with plastic wrap.

Liver Sausage

Yield : 4 1/2 pounds more than plenty for a party. It freezes uncooked very nicely.

900 g (2lbs) Pork shoulder cut up
650 g (1-1/2lbs) Pork liver cut up
450 g (1 lb) Pork fat cut up

30g salt
4 g pink salt
7g white pepper
5g mustard seed
1g mace

20g garlic
2g fresh bay

100 ml beer

Run the meats, or as the pros say, proteins, through the grinder. spread it out on lined baking sheet and throw it in the freezer for 20 minutes.

In the meantime combine the salts and spices and and process them in the spice grinder.

Mince the garlic and set aside. BTW Last month, I saw the video of how to peel garlic in ten seconds, it works. It claims you don't need special equipment, but I would recommend getting some stainless bowls, they're cheap. Find them at a restaurant supply store or K-Mart. Here's the video from Saveur Magazine.

Back to the recipe.

Remove the veins and pulverize the fresh bay leaves. Set aside. I don't recommend using dried. Go buy a bay tree.

The 20 minutes is up on the meats in the freezer, now that it's a little crunchy run it though the grinder again. Now using the paddle attachment on a stand mixer, or a really big spoon, beat in, one at a time, the spices, the herbs and the beer. Continue to mix until the pate comes together about a minute or two.

A word about beer. In the past I have used a white wine or a Fino in my liver sausage. A boozy beer like an IPA or a barley wine works really well here. As I have mentioned before it is not the beer flavor (which is important) but the alcohol that grabs and amps the flavors in our mixture. Give it a try, or eliminate the booze altogether and use water.

Roulades, torchons oh my.

When I first started prepping at the gastro-brew-pub, the chef had a chicken skin torchon on the menu. I had never heard of a torchon as a preparation (it's French for kitchen towel, I have many torchons in my kitchen), furthermore a chicken skin rolled is a galantine, right? That evening I raced through all my old cookbooks, Larousse, Escoffier, I could not find any reference to torchon. On the Internet I found the French Laundry, were they took foie gras rolled it in a kitchen towel twisted tight and poached it. Foie gras au torchon. Whatever, food names always sound more interesting in French.

When a new chef came on, he had us roll pate in plastic; a roulade, one cook said. Uh well sort of...A torchon, yeah I guess...with all the cooking school training between us we never came up with the term for rolling sausage in plastic. Whatever the name, it's a good method to make sausage with out casings, it just requires a trip to the restaurant supply for a big roll of plastic. I used an 18" roll.

In these pictures I made 1lb packages, but I suggest you start with 225g (8 oz) portions. wipe down the counter with a damp cloth and lay out the plastic. Make an log on the middle of the film. Start rolling. pull the ends taught, squeeze the middle, keep rolling.

I often got in trouble for not rolling enough plastic. So when you think you have done plenty, just roll a little bit more.

Pull off a long length of plastic to tie off an end. Repeat for the other side.

Now it gets interesting. If you have a partner, tightening the rolls is easy, but solo works too. Using a sausage pricker or a cake tester make some holes in the plastic, pay close attention to air pockets, so that they can get squeezed out.

Working in a team, one person holds the package vertically and twists it tight while the other makes knots. In the solo version, the package lays flat and the series of knots on both ends makes the roll tighter and tighter. Just keep putting one knot on top of the other.

Liver sausage rolls

At this point you could throw the sausage rolls into the freezer and cook them off as needed. For cooking, make sure they are fully thawed, and poach in a water bath for 25-30 minutes or to when the internal temperature reaches 145F.

Liver sausage

By upping the proportion of pork and lowering the amount of fat, I get a nice sliceable liver sausage. Perfect for the holiday smorgasbord. Give it a try.

Tryout for the holiday smörgåsbord.  Pickled tongue, liver sausage, smoked squash, rosemary mayo, kimchee