25 January, 2010

The Great Andouillette Wreck

Andouillette ready for their close-up

I was facinated by the idea of getting the main ingredient of a beloved French sausage at Moo&Oink. I was charged by the idea of trumping some imaginary offal competition, by going lower on the hog than any other chef. I was broken by my own reality. It was a challenge the entire way and in the end both the sausage and I self destructed.


I had never really shopped for chitterlings but I knew where to get them, it's a straight shot, bout a mile or so, across 183rd ST, to Moo & Oink. I found a four and a half pound bucket. I didn't think I needed that much, and it cost 10 bucks. But that's all they had, so I went for it.

Chitterlings, Damien Hirst Style

When I got it home, I opened the frozen bucket and was confronted by a familiar odor: Eau de Slaughterhouse. Ok...I set the mass in water to thaw. After a couple of days of ignoring my guts I rinsed them. Rinsing and draining was no big deal but when I weighed my chitterlings I was down to two pounds. This sausage is starting to get expensive and still smelly.

rinsing chitterling

spices for marinade

marinating chitterling for andouillette

I built a marinade of typical pickling spices and white wine. I let it go for a couple of days.

mincing chitterling for andouillette

Andouillette is serious business in France. For stuffing the sausage you either lay the chitterlings in long strips and draw over the casing or you can mince it.


There are many different recipes, I went with something simple, Onion, salt, pepper and mace.

Then finally it's simmered in a court-bouillon for 3-5 hours. This is when sausage and chef came undone. I knew I shouldn't cover a simmering sausage, but I was afraid the liquid would reduce too much. About a half an hour is all it took. I continued to cook the decimated links for three hours, just to sample the disaster. Edible, but still no one had any interest in the result. You see, from start to finish, there was the smell. Sure after all the processing and cooking it had been transformed, muted, even complimented, but still the hint. I could see beyond it, but what's the point if no one else wants to? At least I got a nice bucket out of it.

Here are links I found useful while developing the recipe:

The Troyes Andouillette (a regional tourism website)

Andouillette on Wikipedia

Andouillettes.com (nuff said)

Gilbert Lemelle (The Vienna Beef of Andouiellettes)

Andouillette Recipes from a Culinary School (PDF)

Book Sources (Links to WorldCat)

Charcuterie and French pork cookery by Grigson

The Great Book of Sausages by Hippisley Coxe

Larousse Gastronomique by Montagné

And the indespensable:

The sausage book : being a compendium of sausage recipes, ways of making and eating sausage, accompanying dishes, and strong waters to be served, including many recipes from Germany, France, and Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and committed to paper by Gehman.

19 January, 2010

Mincing Sausage

Huevo Rancheros con freekeh

The sausage that wasn't, EZ Chicken Chorizo and Freekeh Week.

I wanted to kick off the year with a championship worthy chitterling sausage but instead ended up with The Great Andouillette Wreck. I'll spare you the details but the link will take you to the pictures.

At the same time the family had to eat so I made up some Chorizo. I wanted something not too spicy so the boys would eat it. From a whole chicken I got about two pounds of meat and I ran that through the mincer.

Mincing chicken for chorizo

Now if you don't have your great-grandmother's Universal #1 meat grinder with mincing plate, you can use a Kitchen-Aid grinder attachment or just do it by hand. Here's a link to my instructions to make sausage without a grinder.

Here's the quantities

Chicken Chorizo

2 lbs (900g) Chicken minced
10 g salt
5 g summac*
15 g Paprika
1 g dried marjoram
1 bay leaf
1 g canela (Ceylon "Mexican" cinnamon)**
20 g (4 cloves) garlic minced
5 g dry milk powder (optional)
15-30 ml cider vinegar

Nicely grind salt and spices and mix into chicken. Continue to stir while adding garlic, milk powder and finally vinegar. Allow mixture to rest a few hours before cooking in a skillet.

*Summac is a spice I just started playing with, it's used a lot in Middle Eastern cooking and it's part of the spice blend, za'atar. Straight out of the bag, the flavor gives hint of Nacho Cheese Doritos. I have also been using it on top of focaccia. I will be using it a lot more.

Focaccia with sumac

Anyway it's processed with salt so if you don't use it in the chorizo recipe up the salt a bit, I usually salt 7 g (1 tsp flake) per pound of meat.

**Canela - "Mexican" cinnamon, true cinnamon, Ceylon cinnamon, NOT cassia. I talk about the differences between Canela and what we Americans call cinnamon in another post about Chorizo. Find canela at a grocery that specializes in Hispanic items or visit your favorite spice merchant. OR use the brutish cassia that's in the cupboard, just use a little less than called for in the recipe.

Since I wanted this chorizo to be kid friendly it's pretty mild, feel free to jazz it up. Over the past week we have had this sausage several different ways, but my favorite way is cooked up with potato and onion for breakfast.

Freekeh Week

Freekeh Week

By Thursday of last week, Bonne Femme figured out it I was putting freekeh into all of our dinners. I love the smoky flavor of this roasted wheat (click on the picture to see a list of what I made), BUT this stuff is full of rocks and it really needs a hard sort. I spread it out on a baking sheet and go through it grain by grain. I so far have bought two packages of freekeh each having about the same percentage of debris. I will investigate further.

In the meantime I came up with a great recipe using it ground up: Freekeh tortilla.

Freekeh Tortilla

This is a somewhere between an actual tortilla and a crêpe.

Yield about six

70g /2.5 oz/ 1/2 cup ground freekeh*
70g /2.5 oz 1/2 cup AP flour
4g / 1/2 tsp baking powder
Oil for cooking

Combine the dry ingredients with enough water to make a pourable batter(a cup or more). Using an oiled non-stick pan, cook the tortilla like a pancake.

Freekeh Tortilla in the skillet

I used this savory flat bread for huevos rancheros (picture at the top). I think it's worth the hassle.

*What do I mean by hassle? Grinding freekeh. I used spice grinder to pulverize the freekeh and a fine sieve to sort it out, re-pulverize un-sifted bits, etc.

Most gluttonous gluttony coming soon, did someone say snails?