Tuesday, November 8, 2011

New toy

I don't mind having kitchen toys if I use them.  I thought my pasta maker might become one of those unused toys, but I've made lots of pasta with it.  Especially since I have yet to see gluten free lasagna on any store shelf. 

This current new toy cost more than I think I will use though, so I only bought one quarter of it.   Rosa and two other deer hunters will own the other three quarters.

I don't know though.  Today's little experiment was really exciting.  I know it's odd to get excited about squeezing raw meat and seasonings into pig intestines, but it was awesome.  And I don't aspire to normality.

I had defrosted some chicken for last night, but last night's supper went a little differently than planned.  Yvon had a meeting I'd forgotten about and, while I escorted one child to piano lessons, there was no one to cook supper at home.  Tuna from a can dumped into my pre-made salad sufficed and satisfied most food groups and hungry tummies in a rush. 

Anyway, the Power Fist box sat in our hallway for over a week taunting me.  "Try me, try me!" it whispered every day.  Fine.  Raw chicken that had to be used, casings in the fridge waiting for a bigger sausage-making day to happen, some pork fat waiting for the same.  It looked like I had everything I needed. 

Although I had borrowed the KitchenAid attachments to grind the fat and meat, I wanted to try it with my own tools if possible.  My ancient cast iron meat grinder worked just fine.  It's maybe coarser than the KitchenAid grinder, but I don't mind that. 

The last time we made sausages, we used the KitchenAid attachment which injected a lot of air in the casings and required two people with constant vigilance.  I can't say I enjoyed the stuffing part of the process.  However, the Power Fist didn't break one casing, I had only a couple of air bubbles to pop, and I did it easily by myself while twisting the links.  I thought maybe I'd have to wait until the kids came home to help, but it wasn't hard to manage.

Before I forget, here's the recipe I used.  You can do it yourself without putting it into casings.  It's a tasty mixture made into patties too.  I ended up with enough stuck in the sausage tube to have a bit for lunch.  

Rosemary Chicken Sausages

2 lbs chicken             (I used deboned thighs)
1/2 lb pork fat           (dirt cheap from your favourite butcher)
1/2 cup dried apples
3 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley
1 tsp pepper
1/2 Tbsp salt          
1 Tbsp chopped dry rosemary
1 cup powdered skim milk
Bit of ice water (maybe 1/4 cup?)

Grind the meat and fat together.  Mix in the rest of the ingredients, except the water.  Re-grind the mixture.  Using your stand mixer or by hand, knead the whole mess together, adding water to make it a soft, stringy consistency.  Fry a small patty to see if you're happy with the seasonings.  I was.

Rinse the casing in cold water and gently feed it onto the sausage stuffer tube.  Tie a knot in the casing.  Load up the sausage press and slowly start to fill the casing.  The first one is where most of the air went, so I popped the first sausage with a sharp knife to let it escape.  Apparently a natural casing self-heals, so you aren't left with a hole-y sausage.  Keep going, holding back the casing so it doesn't feed too fast.  Knot the end, pop any holes and twist your links. 

I don't know if any of you will ever make sausage, but if you do and have questions, I can go into more detail one-on-one.  I know almost all of you on a phone-call basis. 

Next time I'll plan ahead and have some dried apricots to include like the original recipe included.  Or maybe cranberries would be good.  The sweetness of the apples is good, but there wasn't enough of it to really notice. 

Maybe I'll use the sausage stuffer more often.  For reference sake, it took about 1 1/2 hours to make it, although making more would not have added too much time.  A lot of the time was setting up and reading the manual, searching for a recipe, and cleaning up the tools after.  My next sausage venture will be 15 pounds of pork sausage with a friend.  I can't wait to do it again!

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