Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Narcissism of the Sausage - Charcutepalooza June 2011

Photo by Chris Rausch

"We spent ALL day cooking" says Chris, happily. His eyelids are drooping. It's 9pm on a Sunday evening and we still have dessert in the oven.

I woke up late, prepped the kitchen, and got my hands covered in sausage for this month's Charcutepalooza challenge, Bulk Breakfast Sausage. I moved on to a highly experimental Peach and Cherry Crisp, trying to use up all my fruit before it becomes puddles on my counter. Then I left the house to exercise for a short bit, while Chris cooked up a delicious Shrimp and Corn Chowder for dinner.

We cooked, ate, cooked, exercised, cooked, ate. It was the perfect Sunday.

Last month's Charcutepalooza challenge was actually supposed to be bulk sausage, and this month's was supposed to be cased sausage. I got a bit ahead of myself and made the cased sausage last month so I had to backtrack. In case you missed it, here's a link to last month's sausage post "You Never Sausage a Place!". (puns intended)

Photo by Chris Rausch

My bulk sausage application was inspired by the middle ages. A few years ago Chris and I discovered Scotch Eggs at the Maryland Renaissance Festival. A Scotch Egg is a hard boiled egg, wrapped in sausage, coated in breadcrumbs, and deep fried. They're portable, they're sustaining, and they're chock full o' protein. They are the perfect marriage of two glorious breakfast foods, egg and sausage.

The origin of the name Scotch Egg is uncertain because the dish originated in 16th Century England, not Scotland.  The original recipe was likely inspired by Nargisi Kofta, a Moghul dish whose name basically means Narcissus Meatballs. These particular type of Kofta contain chopped hard boiled egg, and some type of meat, along with herbs and spices.  I can only guess why egg meatballs were named after a man so obsessed with his own beauty that he died lost in his own reflection. I suppose it must be because when you cut the eggs in half the two sides are such a beautiful reflection of each other, all you want to do is get lost in their dashing good looks. I could care less where the name originated, I just want them in my belly.

Photo by Chris Rausch

5 Hard Boiled Eggs
Bread Crumbs
Canola Oil

Photo by Chris Rausch

2.25 lbs Ground Pork Shoulder
1.5 Cloves Minced Garlic
15g Kosher Salt
1 Tbsp. Cracked Black Pepper
1/4 Tsp. Fresh Grated Nutmeg
1/4 Tsp. Ground Ginger
Sprinkle Dried Oregano
Sprinkle Dried Basil
10 Large Leaves of Fresh Basil, Finely Chopped
1/2 Tbsp. Chipotle Pepper Powder
1/2 Tbsp. Ground Marjoram
Fresh Water (filtered if you wish)

Boil your eggs and peel them before you get started. I tried to leave them a little softer in the center, knowing they would cook more in the oil.

I picked up some local pork shoulder from Lagenfelder Grand View Farm on Maryland's Eastern Shore, and ground that with the Kitchen Aid. Mix your spices, plus 1/3 cup of water into the ground meat. All of the measurements are flexible based on your preference. You want to test the sausage before you use it because it's always easy to add more of any ingredient.

Photo by Chris Rausch

After peeling the eggs run them under water or dip them in milk and roll them in flour.

Wrap the sausage around the egg, using just enough to form a thin, but even jacket around the whole egg. I would recommend about 1/4" thick. 

Photo by Chris Rausch

Roll the whole thing in bread crumbs and then roll around on a cutting board to help even out the coating and compact the bread crumbs. 

Photo by Chris Rausch

Fry in canola oil at 357˚F for around 5min, or until golden brown. Be sure to rotate so it cooks evenly.

Slice and serve with hot sauce and a light summer fruit salad.

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Photo by Robin Riebman

As soon as we finished eating breakfast I coerced Chris into clearing away the mess in the kitchen with the promise of baked fruit. Nothing motivates Chris like a pie type device. The mention of the word sends him in to a tourrets like haze where all he constantly babbles "Bake a pie. Eat a Pie. Bake a Pie. Eat a Pie...".

I had some overripe South Carolina peaches and about a quarter of a bag of local bing cherries from Carter Mountain Orchards in Charlottesville, Virginia, that were beginning to shrivel. I did fully intend to make a pie, but then I realized I'd have to par bake the crust and all hope was lost. A pie was not to be. That's just too much work.

Photo by Robin Riebman

If you haven't figured it out yet, I am no baker. I don't know how to follow a recipe, and I'm impatient. Since I am aware this is not proper behavior for a baker, I make no attempts at recipes which require strict adherence. In this case, I researched a few pie/crumble/crisp recipes on my favorite dessert blogs and decided to wing it.

I was certain that the bubbling and oozing would indicate perfection, and if all else failed, I could go get ice cream and serve the crumbles a la mode.

As it turns out, crisps are pretty easy. And if you are a normal human being who needs structure check out Sprouted Kitchen or Honey & Jam for fantastic recipes.

Photo by Chris Rausch


Preheat oven to 350˚F

2 Chopped Ripe Peaches
1/2 Cup Pitted Cherries
1 Tsp. Fresh Mint
1/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar
1Tsp Ground Cinnamon
Dusting of Fresh Nutmeg
1/2 Tbsp Flour
Pinch Salt

1/4 Cup Rolled Oats
1/4 Cup Flour
1/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar
3 Tbsp Chopped Walnuts
1/4 Cup Crumbled Ginger Snap Cookies

2 Tbsp. Chilled Cubed Butter
2 Tbsp Milk

Just mix topping ingredients in one bowl, and filling in another.

Photo by Robin Riebman
Grease 1 medium sized tart pan, or two small ones, or really whatever device you want to cook the crumbles in. Don't put them in a glass dish or the filling will burn. Split filling between two dishes, split topping between two dishes, and sprinkle over tops. Cube 2tbsp of chilled butter and sprinkle 1tbsp over each tart.

Photo by Chris Rausch

Bake 10min until top begins to get crispy, watch the nuts don't burn. If they start to burn, place a piece of foil gently over the crisps. In the last 5-10minutes pour 1 tbsp milk over each dish, to help the crisp adhere to itself, and help it brown. Allow to cool before eating.

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Photo by Chris Rausch

Sprouted Kitchen isn't just for dessert. While I cooked the crisp, Chris pondered dinner. He promptly decided to fix up some Summer Corn Soup with Shrimp, since apparently he has had his eyes on the recipe for about two months. Chris does follow the recipes, and he always comes out victorious (he really likes that I am sharing this fact with you).  So, while I enjoyed my time at bikram he destroyed the kitchen, yet again.

This was a darn tasty soup, even though I don't like corn (gasp!). I think the sweet potato was a creative addition and its tame sweetness is the perfect partner for the corn. Next time, I'd suggest grilling the corn, just because I prefer that flavor, and it would add a little more depth to the soup.

Chris noted that he used 5 ears of corn instead of 4, sweet potato instead of a Yukon gold, only 1 tsp of oregano, 1 tsp of cayenne (no red pepper flakes), and no sour cream.  Also, he only used basil and no we picked some chives from the garden, instead of scallions for the shrimp mix.  Otherwise he followed the recipe exactly. I for one didn't miss the sour cream and was happy to have a soup sans dairy. Particularly on a hot day, dairy isn't my thing.


4 Ears Corn
3 1/2 Cups Vegetable Stock (good quality)
1 Tbsp. Butter
1 Medium Yellow Onion, Sliced Thin
1 Large Sweet Potato
1 Tsp. Fresh Ground Nutmeg
1 tsp. Cayenne
1 Tsp. Oregano to taste
Salt/Pepper to taste

1 lb. Shrimp
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Large Avocado
1 Poblano Chile
Juice of 1/2 Lime
1/4 Cup Finely Chopped Basil
Chives (optional)

1. Melt the butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and saute to coat. Cook until the onions just start to turn light brown. Peel the potato and cut into cubes, add it to the onion. Cut the kernels of corn off the cob with a sharp knife, add them to the soup pot. Add the broth, spices and a few grinds of fresh pepper and allow everything to simmer to cook the corn and potatoes through.
2. If using raw shrimp, toss them in the olive oil and a grind of fresh pepper, and put on a baking pan. Cut the poblano or pasilla chile in half length wise, and place it skin side up on the pan as well. Bake on the upper rack for about 5 minutes for shrimp to cook through. Remove the shrimp and set aside, put the pepper back in until the skin blisters (about 5 more minutes). While waiting, peel the skin and tails from the shrimp and cut into 1” pieces. Remove the pepper and put it in a ziploc bag to cool, this will make the skin easy to peel off.
3. Check on the soup to make sure potato and corn are cooked through. Using an immersion blender or a regular blender, blend the soup to create a puree. I like to leave it a bit chunky, this is up to you.
4. In a seperate bowl, combine the shrimp pieces, lime juice, chopped herbs and scallions if using them. Peel and cut the avocado into small cubes, add to the bowl. Rub the skin off the roasted chile, cut into chunks. Toss gently together.
5. Taste the soup for seasonings and adjust as you prefer. Serve each portion of soup with a big scoop of the shrimp and avocado mix on top.

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1 comment:

Madame Fromage said...

Holy crow, what a great blog! And what a brilliant title -- the narcissism of sausage. You people are brilliant. Loved reading around and discovering your beautiful photos and prose. Cheers from a new fan.