Friday, May 27, 2011

How to eat 2.5lbs of sausage

After you make two-and-a-half pounds of fresh garlic sausage, what are you supposed to do with it all?

The answer for us, at least, was to spread it out over a couple weeks and several meals; I tried to do something a little different with it each time:

Orecchiette and broccoli with sausage pecorino cream sauce
Orecchiette with broccoli and sausage Pecorino cream sauce

Tomato-y lentils with sausage and zucchini noodles
Tomato-y lentils and sausage with zucchini "noodles"

Sausage and kale stew
Sausage and kale soup

Sausage-stuffed potatoes
Sausage-stuffed potatoes

Sausage, spinach, tomato risotto
Spinach tomato sausage risotto

We did get tired of the flavor of this particular sausage by the end, and it was potent enough that the other flavors comprising whatever dish it was in couldn't quite cover it up... Nevertheless, it was fun coming up with different recipes in which to use the sausage, and I'm looking forward to being able to try making another kind!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

French green lentils with homemade sausage, kale and red wine

French green lentils with homemade sausage, kale and red wine

The Charcutepalooza challenge for May was grinding. I had actually purchased the grinding attachment for my Kitchen Aid early, in anticipation of just such a challenge (plus, I really enjoy sausage, so I figured it would be worth the investment).

Not that I expected otherwise, but making fresh sausage was pretty much a breeze. Following Michael Ruhlman's master recipe for fresh garlic sausage, I got to go from this:

Sausage ingredients

Sausage mise-en-placeReady for grinding
Grindified!Ground sausage + red wine this!

Homemade sausage

I must report that this project was not an entirely unmitigated success. After the first several minutes, the meat and seasoning mixture was exiting the extruder in a much more paste-like form than I anticipated, despite my efforts to keep everything cold (though failure to do so was probably a factor). When I went to clean the grinder, I discovered that tough meat sinews had been blocking the grinding plate and clogging up the blade, forcing the meat out smaller and smaller holes, thereby creating the paste-y consistency.

Luckily, the flavor was unaffected. The sausage was a bit too salty, but that's really only an issue if we're eating it on its own. My plans for the sausage mainly involve using it as a component in various tasty dishes, like the one below.

Once we work our way through the remaining two pounds of garlic sausage, I'm excited to try new flavor combinations!

French green lentils with homemade sausage, kale and red wine

When I think of a dish that is hearty and healthy, something like this is what comes to mind. Add to that that fact that it's a one-pot meal, and what we've got here is a real winner. It was largely inspired by the fact that I had the lentils on hand and half a bunch of lacinato kale that needed to be used up, and I decided to use the same red wine that I used in the sausage--the bottle was open and not yet empty.

French green lentils with homemade sausage, kale and red wine

French green lentils with sausage, kale, and red wine

Serves 2-3

1/2-1 cup of loose sausage (about two links, casings removed)
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp fennel seeds, lightly crushed
pinch red pepper flakes
1 cup French green (Puy) lentils
1/4 cup red wine
1/2 bunch lacinato kale, tough ribs removed, then roughly chopped
Splash of cider vinegar
  1. In a pot over medium heat, fry the sausage in lumps until browned and cooked through. Remove from the pot and set aside, leaving any grease in the pan.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, fennel seeds, and pepper flakes to the pot (as my sausage was not very fatty, I needed to add some olive oil). Saute until fragrant, a few minutes.
  3. Add the lentils and stir around to coat, then add the red wine and 1 3/4 cups water.
  4. Bring to a boil, then cover, lower the heat to medium-low, and simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed and the lentils are getting tender (you may need to add more water).
  5. Once the lentils are nearly done, add the sausage and kale. Stir to incorporate, then cover and cook until the liquid is absorbed and the kale is tender.
  6. Add the vinegar. Taste, and season with salt and pepper. Serve.