15 March, 2012

Smoked fish on my bike.

Smoked trout

Smoked shrimp and scallop sausage with braised cabbage (Seafood Choucroute)

I'm probably thinking about food 90% of the time. That includes sleeping. My wife says I need to get a hobby. I used to be into bicyling... That's what I'll do ride my bike! But I can't ride in circles, I need a destination. Oh no not food again.

Burnham Greenway and 159th ST

A few weeks ago I made the trip from my house to Calumet Fisheries. I got excited when google maps revealed that most of my ride would be on actual bike trails.

View On my bike, Calumet Fisheries in a larger map

The ride went through a couple forest preserves to Lansing, Il where I hooked up with the Burnham Greenway. The only rough part was a two mile gap between the north and south sections of the greenway where I had to pedal on Burnham ave.

In the Burnham Gap

My first job in Chicago was as a bicycle messenger. In the almost 20 years since then I have seen this town become exponentially more bike friendly, but the Burnham Gap shows more needs to be done.

Swans at Wm. Powers

The north section starts at William W. Powers Conservation Area,

Under the Chicago Skyway

and finishes under the Chicago Skyway. Hanging a right under the Skyway put me on a meandering ride through Calumet Park, finishing at 95th ST.

Destination Cal Fish

Tweet pic luncheon of Smelt

I had smelts for lunch. After eating, I went around back and caught up with Juan, he was unloading the smoker.

Smoked Sable

Behind the counter

I loaded up on some smoked fish and headed home.

Smoked trout tails

I got some smoked shrimp and smoked trout. I could have eaten this stuff right out of the bag, but since it was Oscar Night®, I made up a choucroute.

Seafood Choucroute for Oscar night

I used some scallops from the freezer, with some of the smoked shrimp and made up a sausage, here's what I did:

300 g smoked shrimp and sea scallops
20g leeks, white minced and blanched
6 g salt
1 g white pepper
6 g potato starch
30 ml heavy cream

Make sure all ingredients are cold, place in food processor except the cream. With the machine running add cream to achieve a smooth paste. roll in plastic to form quenelles.

Seafood sausage ready to poach

Poach in water bath for 12 minutes.

For the choucroute I decided to braise some cabbage in white wine. I diced a couple of ounces of green bacon, sliced one medium onion, and shredded half a green cabbage. I also pitched in the remaining leeks and half a bulb of fennel sliced. I let all that soften in a dutch oven, then added maybe a cup and a half of white wine and a cup of stock. Threw in a sachet of bay, thyme and garlic, covered and let it bubble for anhour or so. In the meantime I scrubbed and boiled some small red potatoes. before plating, I warmed up the shrimp and trout and sausages, by putting them in the braise for a few minutes. with a sausage, a couple of large shrimp, a pice of trout, the choucroute served four nicely,

Leftovers lunch:  Scallop and Smoked shrimp sausage; cabbage, fennel and leek braised in wine with green bacon, smoked trout, red potatoes

With some leftover for lunch. Here's a previous post I wrote on Seafood Choucroute.

I think I'm getting the hang of this bicycle thing, the next trip will be someplace more sausagey.


06 March, 2012

Green Irish Banger for St. Partick's Day.

Garlic and Kale Chicken Sausage

Garlic and kale chicken sausage recipe.

You wanna turn your St. Patrick's Day Feast up to 11? How about a green sausage? Today on the blog I've got an banger recipe for you that's as authentic as Irish Coffee and is sure to be a hit at any St. Patty's celebration.

In the natural world, you don't come across green sausage too often. The only one I know of is a chorizo from the Toluca State of Mexico, that's made with green chiles and cilantro. Diana Kennedy mentions it In her book, My Mexico: A culinary odyssey with more than 500 recipes. Rick Bayless gives a recipe for green chorizo that involves spinach powder.

Blanched kale

I thought about using spinach for the green, but wanted something more hardy, something that better reflects the spirit of Ireland, and then I remembered kale. While cabbage may be what we Americans think as the "green veg" of the Emerald Isle, kale is perfectly at home in a pot of colcannon.

To make the vibrant green puree, kale needs to be blanched a few times. Set a big pot of salted water on to boil, and set up an ice bath. Drop the kale into the boiling pot for no more than 30 seconds. then put it in the ice bath to slow the coking. Do it 3 times. The point here is to cook the kale without it getting too hot. At a certain temperature the green starts to break down. Puree the cooked kale along with the garlic in a blender, add water as necessary to keep it moving. Since I lent the Vita-Prep to my neighbor to mix grout, I ended up pushing my poorly pureed kale through a metal strainer, it'll be fine. I blanched about a pound (450g) of kale to get my 300g of kale puree.

For that fancy emulsified look grind the meat twice. Here I cut chicken into nice bits, put it into the freezer on a sheet pan, until just crunchy, ground it, spread it out in the sheet tray again, let it get crunchy in the freezer, and ground it again.

Folding in the green

Just like pouring paint into the Chicago River, I mixed in the spices then added the green.

Garlic and kale farce

To assure the authenticity of this Irish banger, I added potato starch as the binder.

Stuff into prepared hog casings. For a richer patina, let them hang in the fridge for a couple of days.

For the Tricolor trifecta, whip up a pot of Irish cheddar mashers and top with an onion curry gravy.

Kale and Garlic Chicken Sausage

Per 1000 g of Meat
300g Kale puree (see notes above)
15g minced garlic (pureed with the kale)
15 g Salt
5g ground white pepper
2g powdered ginger
2g mustard flour
1g ground mace
pinch of cayenne

20g potato starch or milk powder.

Make as described above. I used a whole chicken cut up for my recipe. If you're buying by the bit, get thighs. Pork will work too.

Happy St. Patricks Day.


Here's a link my other Irish Banger recipe.