Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sausage stuffing

That fine-looking 5-lb-capacity sausage stuffer had been staring me in the face for too long. Despite the long winter, we hadn't yet attempted to transform our ground pork into the delicious thing we call sausage. But the time had come... spring was here, the snow was melting, a good friend was in town to join in the festivities, and we had planned an over-the-top stuffed leg-of-lamb dinner for the weekend that called for Mexican-style chorizo.

So 11 pounds of ground pork went through the processor and we mixed up 4 flavorful sausage stuffings: a classic Sicilian-style sausage with fennel seeds; a garlic sausage; a luganega sausage that included freshly grated orange and lemon zest in it; and, of course, the chorizo, which had ancho chile pepper, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cloves, pepper, bay leaf, nutmeg, cinnamon, paprika, cayenne, garlic and salt in it. We got our hands dirty, deep in pork fat and spices. We mastered those natural pig intestine casings (how cool to see them expand under the faucet water as we rinsed them of their salt preservative). We figured out the timing and pressure on the sausage stuffer. And we froze about 50 sausages for the future.

Best of all, we had a delicious dinner in front of the fire, trying each kind, and really appreciating the art of sausage making.

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