24 March, 2009

Lorne Sausage and the Full Scottish Breakfast

Full Scottish Breakfast

"Gotta eat a breakfast...I'll fix ya some eggs."

Pure poetry. I love fixing breakfast, during the week it's a disperate but constant affair; Henry eats Cheerios, Bonne Femme and Emmet have granola and yogurt and I start the day with and an egg, toast and tomato. But on the weekend the guns come out: Cinnamon rolls, huevos rancheros, hash, stratas, benedicts of any type, just give me a reason.

Last week I made up a reason of sorts because of a comment left by Andrew* on the St, Paddy's Day Post. Yeah, I got all Bobby Flay on him because he was lamenting that he hadn't made the time to make Lorne sausage and potato scones. Zero hour has arrived buddy, time to unfurl your Saltire and get grinding.

Lorne sausage frozen for slicing

I had never heard of Lorne sausage, and I couldn't find any reference in my usual books, but on the internet, site after site lists it as an essential component of the Full Scottish Breakfast. The Lorne is described as a minced meat that's formed into a square loaf,sliced and fried. Apparently you can buy this in any store in Scotland, but here I have to make it up as I go along.

Universal #1 meat grinder

For mincing all you really need is a big sharp knife, but my mom found this grinder in my grandma's basement, and I figured why not go a little old school:

Mincing pork and beef for Lorne sausage

Lookin good.

As I far as I could determine the Lorne is spiced with pepper, coriander and nutmeg. Bonne Femme isn't crazy about nutmeg so I'll let the coriander take the star roll. I used oatmeal as the rusk.

Oh boy I'm getting hungry. I got a couple of Scottish cookbooks from the library. The Full Scottish Breakfast is coming into focus: Fried tomatoes, sauteed mushrooms, potato scones, and bacon...oh no, I need to make some bacon...

Smoked rolled pork shoulder

Bonless pork shoulder was on sale for 89 cents a pound I couldn't pass it up. It's not what I really wanted but I cured it, like I would a ham, rolled it and smoked it (ja mon).

Pork shoulder bacon

It turned out ok, I'm interested in working on this bacon, I like the look of a wide streaky slice that I can get with pork shoulder, but I going to have to get a better roast. I'll report back soon.

Now back to the program.

Tattie scone on the griddle

I have my meats sorted out, how about that potato scone? As opposed to a crumbly biscuit block one might get at Stardunkin or DunkinBuck's, the Scottish Tattie is more of a griddle cake or even a tortilla. It's flat, round and cooked on a hot skillet. I used a recipe from the book, Classic Recipes from Scotland, by Tom Bridge, and his version he adds some cheddar. I made them as I would a corn tortilla, I portioned them then pressed them with a plate. Here's Bridge's ingredient list:

450g/1lb mashed potato, still hot
50g/2oz / 4T butter
100g/4oz A P flour
50g/2oz Cheddar cheese grated

combine ingredients, mix well. Divide into eight balls. Place a ball between pieces of plastic and flatten with a plate or pan. cook on hot oiled griddle.

Here's what I did for the Lorne Sausage

225g/8oz Beef chuck
225g/8oz Pork Shoulder
15g Salt
5g Black Pepper
5g Coriander
1g Mace (I like this instead of nutmeg, but use either)
2g Mustard seed (I like this as an emulsifier)
5g Milk powder (Helps retain moisture)
60g/2oz Rolled oats

I diced the meats, and processed the salt and spices in a spice mill then mixed them together along with the milk powder. The mixture rested in the fridge for an hour. I minced the mixture with a meat grinder fitted with a large die. I pulsed the oats in a cuisinart then folded them into the minced meat. I kneaded the mixutre adding a little cold water until it came together. I lined a small loaf pan plastic and pressed in the sausage. I let it sit in the freezer for an hour, then I took the mostly frozen loaf and cut 3/8 slices. Fried in pan.

Lorne on the Griddle

I got about 16 or so slices out of my loaf and I guess you just keep them in the freezer until you are ready to fry.

B. Femme's Lorne and Tattie sammie

Bonne Femme made a sammie with her Lorne, everybody loved their Full Scottish Breakast. Now if we only had a bit of Broon sauce.


(P.S. for those readers who know my Secret Code Name, please don't be confused, the Andrew referred to above writes the blog Slim Pickins'Pork. What a coincidence huh? Anyway, Andrew gets a few days grace since his weekend was booked with trip to Jungle Jim's, but it's never too late.)

20 March, 2009

The Paris Beat: Spring Break in Alsace

The Paris Beat is covered by our international corespondent Jeanlouise:Jolie. Currently She's in Paris working her way through the baking and pastry program at Le Cordon Bleu. This week is Spring break and she traveled to the Alsace region to report on doughnuts gone wild.

Hi macs, you would luv this place- Alsace is pork heaven.

Last week, I took my final exam in the intermediate pastry program. It was a real stinker of an exam, but I passed at least. I had to prepare a cake given only an ingredients list, 2.5 hours and a chef breathing down my neck. Well, after that it was spring break, and with Cancun outta reach, me and a pal opted instead to spend a week exploring the scene in Alsace.

Alsace is located in the north-eastern corner of France. This tiny region is separated from neighboring Germany by the Rhine and from the rest of France by the Vosges mountains to the west. It is a unique area with its own Germanic language, culture, and mostly Lutheran religion.

I was attracted to Alsace because of its wines: principally white and ranging from refreshingly dry and mineral to late harvest sweet wines. I am now in love with Rieslings (the nice minerally dry ones in particular). All the other stuff is pretty good as well. Something for everyone, right? Because wines in Alsace are identified by grape rather than geography, they were much easier for me to get a handle on. A Pinot Blanc is a Pinot Blanc, Muscat is Muscat, etc. It’s a grand cru if it’s grown in a field identified as producing superior grapes. That’s the about it when it comes to the basics. I’ve come to appreciate more and more (thanks to France . . .) that wine is best with food and food best with wine. So I had to pleasure of digging into not only the wine, but also the food that it goes best with-- the food of Alsace! Here’s what’s for the chomping in Alsace. . . . .

Alsatian Sauerkraut(Choucroute): A mound of sauerkraut topped with a variety of porcine delights including belly, ceverlas, blood sausage, frankfurters, ham, pork knuckle. . . ). It was awesome, and my major splurge in the meals department. I kept thinking, Jolie, you should eat more belly, that is where the flavor is. Also blood sausage, super rich and delicious, I should eat more of that. The wine pairing that works best with this pork fest is a Riesling or a Sylvaner (I had a nice grand cru Riesling).

Onion Tart: Not quite dessert, but not totally savory, one thing this pie definitely is is delicious . . . throw in a nice green salad and a glass of Sylvaner and you got some serious plans. The simple prep to deliciousness ratio is definitely in the cook’s favor.

Flammekueche: This is essentially a flour tortilla type crust topped with crème fraiche, onions and bacon. There are other variations, but this is the basic recipe. Here is what I want to know: hows come this thing tastes so good? Is it the crème fraiche? Is it the bacon? I tried it with beer and I had it with Riesling. Both were great, so do what feels right.

Snails: Snails are delicious. I recommend if you haven’t tried them, just do it. You know who you are. Seriously, don’t think about your garden, just chomp. I haven’t seen these things for sale in the market, which seems curious, but I would be very interested in trying them at home. Supposedly the cooking process is long (several hours). I guess that means it takes a while to get the slime outta them slugs. Wait, you’re not supposed to be thinking about that part! Pop a bottle of Alsatian Riesling to help you forget . . .

Kougelhpf: This is the emblematic pastry of Alsace and these things are everywhere. It’s got all the good looks of a bundt cake and all the nail biting excitement of a coffee cake. I’m saving my chomping for something more yumm-o, as the feller says. The ‘vendage tardives’ or late harvest wines tend to be quite sweet because they are left on the vine and infected with noble rot (a friendly fungus that concentrates the juices in the grape by removing water from the fruit). These wines are great for pairing with fruit tarts and other sweets though the traditional pairing for kouglehopf is a glass of gewürztraminer.

Munster cheese: Ok, I thought I knew what Munster cheese. Its white, got that reddish rind and is chewy and mild? Well maybe at the Kroger, but in Alsace Munster is hard-core in your face. It is a goopy, washed rind stinker of a cheese. I went to the village of Munster, found a local cheese monger and picked up 350 grams of the stuff.

The dude says, lady, this cheese has real attitude. I was all like, kewl, I'm all into attitude; I'm a wild and crazy guy, quoi. Well, I had no idea what I was getting into.

That cheese is crazed like a coon hound, it's cute at first, but you get into your third or fourth helping of the thing and you’re like, wait, you’re not cute anymore, you’re just insane. Well, thankfully the Munster didn’t dig through my purse and chew up my cell phone, eat Jo’s glasses or jump out of a moving car, but wow, I don’t know if I’ll have that again for a while.

Pair with Gewurztraminer, the only wine gutsy enough to stand up to that stuff. Hey, daredevils: try it. You might like it. If not, at least you’ll have more hair on your chest. Now to find le nair. . .

Donuts, donuts, donuts. Like any good girl from Columbus, I luvs me my donuts. Imagine my delight to find like-minded people in Alsace after spending so much time in the donut desert of Paris! Donuts done right and filled with jelly, pudding, or shaped into pretzels and coated with sugar abound.

Yeah, all that and I even chomped a real live apple fritter. I kept thinking maple logs would go over real well here. The Alsatian donuts (or beignets as they are called locally) are serious, confident and satisfying. I paired them with coffee and got off to a great start each and every day. . . .

I’ve got recipes for everything except the donuts if you is interested. I really encourage you to get up to your local wine dude see what they have in the way of Alsatian wines because they are a delight! I am also trying to convince the director at the Clintonville Compound to plant some vines on the front hill- bonne idea, non?

More from Paris soon.


17 March, 2009

South Side Irish Shepherd's Pie Sausage

Shepherd's Pie Sausage

Happy St. Patrick's Day. Are you looking for an authentic "Irish Bangers" recipe? Well good luck, The Irish don't have much of a sausage making tradition, unless yer up for making a Dirsheen, which is a blood sausage. For a further discussion of Irish bangers, click here.

One thing the Irish do have a lot of is sheep, and last week I was obssesed with lamb.

Looks like a leg of lamb

I went looking for a saddle (that's a cut not a ride) but I ended up with what the packer called a rear quarter; It was cheaper than a leg, but it looks like a leg to me. I chopped up the joint and made stock with the bones. I planned on making Shepherd's pie, so I fired up the search engines and got a couple of books from the library and looked for the perfect recipe. They all boiled down to this: Ground lamb, ketchup, peas, carrots and mashed potatoes. Yumm-o? I realized what I really wanted was a lamb stew, yes that's it, topped with mashed potatoes and browned in the broiler. With a nice stock, it's not too hard to make a stew.

Browing the lamb

Deglazing the pot with beer

I browned the lamb then removed it from the pot. Next I threw in some sliced onions and carrots let them saute for a few minutes then sprinkled over a bit of flour over the mixture and deglazed with beer. After the beer reduced, everything gets thrown in: Stock, tomatoes, garlic, seasonings, lamb. Set for stew.

For the topping I made what the pros call Duchesse Potatoes. They are potatoes that you mash add a little butter and some eggs. Then using a pastry bag, The potatoes are piped into whatever shape you want. So I put my stew into a casserole topped it with potato and browned it in the oven.

Lamb Stew as Shepherd's Pie

Stew is good but sausage is good and fun. I started thinking about all the ingredients for Shepherd's Pie in a link.

Spices for shepherd's pie sausage

I put together the spices and I got grinding. I did a ratio of fifty percent potato to lamb and twenty-five percent onion to lamb. Also like the stew I added a wee bit of beer.
IPA brewed in Beverly by John

I had planned on using Guinness, but I forgot to get some, so I ended up using something even better: Home brewed pale ale, made in Beverly by me friend John. Now I have the sausage, I just have to find a party.

St Patrick's Day in Chicago.

H with green Chicago river

On Saturday we went downtown so the boys could see the Chicago river change from dark green to bright Irish green.

Beautiful Day for a Parade

Audience with St Patrick

Then Sunday we went up to Beverly for the South Side Irish parade. Corinne, John, Jack and Will hosted an open house. We had corned beef, cole slaw, shepherd's pie sausages and more basement brewed ales.

Shepherd's Pie Sausage in Beverly

What a weekend, and nice weather to boot. I'd give you a recipe for the Shepherd's Pie Sausage, but I forgot to write it down. I'll make it again soon. In the meantime enjoy St. Patrick's Day, the green means Spring is coming.


10 March, 2009

The Paris Beat: Bread Class

07 March, 2009

The Paris Beat: Croquembouche

crack a lackin

05 March, 2009

Chicken Meatball

Finnish Meatballs - Lihapullat

Everyone loves meatballs. Yesterday morning, on her way out the door, Bonne Femme asked if I had anything for her to make for dinner.

"Well I have half a chicken how about some meatballs?"

I came up with this recipe for a party last Christmas, but they are good anytime of the year.

Finnish Meatballs - Lihapullat

620g (1lb 5oz) Chicken. That's half a chicken, bones removed skin on.
8 g (1 t) Kosher salt
2 g black pepper
1 g allspice
Pinch of mace or nutmeg
Pinch of caraway seed
2 g mustard seed

5 g dried milk
90 g Onion diced
30 g of bread whole wheat or rye or whatever is laying around, torn up

Chicken for meatballs

Dice the chicken. Process salt and spices as needed in spice mill. Mix together all ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate for an hour. Run the mixture through meat grinder using the small plate (I use the meat grinder attachment for the Kitchen Aid). If you don't have a grinder, you can do it by hand, read about making sausage without a grinder here. Knead the mixture in the bowl, by hand, until it comes together about one minute.

Portioning the product - Lihapullat

Preheat the oven to 400F. A portion scoop (that's a #40 pictured above) makes quick work of forming 1 oz meatballs, they are like ice cream scoppers of varying sizes that you can find at restaurant supply stores. Anyway, put em on a cookie sheet, using parchment paper makes things easier, but do whatever you want. Bake them for about 10 minutes.

Portioned Chicken meatballs

Let them cool on a rack. I made about 24 1oz meatballs. Once you get the hang of it play around with the seasonings. The dry milk helps retain moisture and the mustard works as an emusifier; together these ingredients make the texture light and juicy.

I decided to have a Finnish themed Christmas Party, a Pikkujoulu, after traveling to the Lapland last summer. I asked my Suomen sister-in-law for a recipe. she said "What do you mean? Just make meatballs."

I said "Ok...What's the difference between Swedish and Finnish meatballs?"

"The Finns don't eat Swedish meatballs."

Okay then.