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Charcutepalooza June: Stuffing sausages!

This month’s Charcutepalooza challenge forced Ethan to move to Toronto just so he could help out ;) And thank goodness because it really does take three people to stuff a sausage.

Seriously. Throughout the whole time (hours!) that Ethan, Mr Neil and I were stuffing sausages, we were wondering how we would have done this alone. I know for a fact that my sausages would have been a total disaster had I tried this by myself.  For one, I didn’t have to deal (very much) with the horrible casings. Ethan procured them, packed them in salt and he rinsed them when it was time to get stuffing…
Thank goodness. They were kind of gross and smelly.

He also led the way preparing the first lot of casings to be stuffed. Me, I was making a lovely crème anglaise in the kitchen and surrounded by a lovely cloud of vanilla. Mr Neil was staining the front porch. So it looks better in photos (ahem!). Thanks Ethan.

And off we went.  With three sets of hands (one to put the meat in the Kitchen Aid, one to guide the meat through the casing and one to hold the finished sausages) we were good to go after a couple of odd bod first attempts. Note: even if your first few attempts are a bit bizarrely shaped, they will still cook up looking normal.

We kind of got in our groove with the chorizo batch – also, the pork was much much easier to stuff than the chicken. The chicken (probably not as cold as it could have been) was gummy and messy and thoroughly unpleasant on my end.  The pork we ended up rolling into meatball-sized chunks and that seemed to feed through the stuffer much much easier..

But look:

We made Ruhlman’s chicken, basil and tomato sausages and the chorizo sausages from Charcuterie. Stuck to the recipe, except I added a whack more red chili flakes to the chorizo. We found last month’s merguez to be a little flimsy on the spice…

I have to admit, when things really work out the way they are supposed to, I get very excited. I was ecstatic that these looked “like real sausages”…

Yes, we threw a little homemade bacon into the barbecue mix too!

And the taste?

Oh my. So, so good.

Others found the chicken sausage a little salty for their liking – so did I – but I am perplexed as to where that salt came from – there’s only a tiny little bit of salt in the mix. Perhaps from the pork fat?

The chorizo stole the show – spicy (but not too overpowering) and smokey, these were noticeably less fatty than commercial chorizo (you know that pool of red fat that sometimes congregates at the bottom of the plate of chorizo? Well ours didn’t have any!).

(even Cleo approved!)

The bottom line? I loved making sausages for the simple reason that I knew what was going into them. One animal per batch of sausage – those are my kinda snags.  Did I feel great satisfaction from the lengthy process to make them (grinding one day, stuffing the next)? Of course!  Would I make them again? For myself? Probably not. For a party? Maybe. With friends for a sausage party? Definitely!


Because you know what? Sausages taste better with friends :) (thanks Ethan for taking one for the blog this month. Normally it’s Mr Neil doing silly things ;))

The “official signup” for Charcutepalooza is over (see who signed up here) but you can still join in the fun – purchase Charcuterie either on Amazon, Amazon.ca or enjoy free worldwide shipping at The Book Depository and cook along with us!

And, you know, should you wish to purchase a meat grinding attachment for your Kitchen Aid, you can find one here.  Just, you know, remember to use the blade instead of leaving it in the box. And the sausage stuffer is a bargain at under $10…

For all your Charcutepalooza needs, check out Chefs Catalog, with free standard shipping on orders of $49 and more until July 31!

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64 Responses to Charcutepalooza June: Stuffing sausages!

  1. baobabs June 15, 2011 at 06:04 #

    OMG yum!!! Fond memories of cotechino in Beijing! I snuck into the kitchen of Sureno to watch the chefs make sausages. the ones you made loook super awesome!! thanks for sharing!

  2. Mr. Neil June 15, 2011 at 07:53 #

    Well now, there were two matches on the drinks front for this meal.

    As we had a beautiful summer salad brought by Lynne to accompany the meal, and we were dining al fresco on our new patio, some rose seemed in order. The latest batch of Ontario rose releases are mostly bland of the heavy-fruit variety: what North America was traditionally known for, and more common in warm climates. (Not as sweet as “White Zinfandel”, but still more cocktail than wine.) I served up Tawse Sketches of Niagara rose, which on the other hand is a classic dry rose, well executed: gloriously crisp, enabling a nice acid cut through the fat and grease of the sausages and bacon.

    For the beer drinkers, I produced a Schlenkerla Marzen Smokebeer. Not for the faint of heart, this dark brown nectar surprises most with its strong aromas of, well, campfire! It’s lighter on the palate than that would lead you to believe, and is an obvious match for the barbie – ribs would be ideal. I love the quote on coasters in Germany: “Even if the brew tastes somewhat strange at the first swallow, do not stop, because soon you will realize that your thirst will not decrease and your pleasure will visibly increase.” :-)

    All in all, a delightful day on the new patio with good food, drink and friends.

  3. Celia June 15, 2011 at 08:23 #

    Yessss! A grand Charcutepalooza post – fun, adorable, and delicious! And with friends! :-) Those sausages look super-juicy…

    Also…@Mr. Neil: I’m totally intrigued by that Smokebeer. I had Sly Fox’s Rauchbier recently and am totally into smokey brews. Go ELTW team!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite June 19, 2011 at 20:09 #

      Thanks Celia – means a lot coming from someone with a SUPER adorable video on her Charcutepalooza post!

  4. Paula June 15, 2011 at 08:31 #

    I think I’m jealous that Ethan moved to Toronto instead of Ottawa! He’d only be an hour away from me if he had.
    How fun that you all got to spend a lovely day together stuffing sausages and then having a great grilled dinner! They look wonderful and I’m sure the dinner conversation was an animated recollection of all the day’s events. Great job everyone.

    P.S. A little disappointed that Mr. Neil’s newly stained front porch didn’t garner a photo in this post :)

    • Mr. Neil June 15, 2011 at 09:03 #

      Patience…

      I banned all from the porch until Monday, so it could properly dry. Alas as we were threatened with rain, I had to put the table (also stained) back onto porch, at which point my dusty footprints remained on the tacky surface. Sigh.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite June 19, 2011 at 20:08 #

      LOL re the porch – it wasn’t ready. And yes, sausage stuffing requires many friends to help and eat!

  5. Dan June 15, 2011 at 08:58 #

    Those sausages look amazing Mardi! Connie from Top Chef would be proud of you. :) Ethan looks so happy too, lol. Next, I think you should make some home-made sauerkraut to top any leftover sausages!

  6. Winnie June 15, 2011 at 09:12 #

    Mardi this is so awesome!!!! Your sausages all look freaking awesome and it’s so nice to see Ethan there with you all! Great photos, btw. REALLY great.

  7. The Yummy Mummy June 15, 2011 at 09:14 #

    You know what just occurred to me while reading your post? That you really HAVE to make sausages with other people. You have to invite friends over. It really does create community and friendships and shared experiences. It really does taste better with friends! (See Ethan, the blog name works!)

    Sure the sausages look amazing (great job!), but what I took away from your excellent post is how fun it was to do it all together. That’s really what it’s all about, not just Charcutepalooza but cooking in general. Love that, Mardi.

    Kim

    PS: Am I the only one who thinks the second picture from the bottom looks like something from a snuff film? Just sayin’… :)

    PPS: And in the first picture? You all have very nice asses. Also, just sayin’… :)

  8. carole June 15, 2011 at 09:25 #

    those are amazing! Bravo!
    Do you think that the chorizo filling would okay to make and then not stuff into casings? Maybe to brown up and use in tacos (my favourite filling is a chorizo/potato thing and i take it out of the casing for that anyway) or even fry like breakfast patties?

  9. penny aka jeroxie June 15, 2011 at 10:15 #

    Looks like so much fun! I wish I could join in the fun and making sausages. Brrrr…. so cold in Melbourne!

  10. Adriana June 15, 2011 at 10:47 #

    This post made me smile so much! The sausages look fantastic and it comes through that you all had a blast while making them. Kim captured perfectly what I wanted to say in her comment.

  11. Kate@Diethood June 15, 2011 at 10:48 #

    That is impressive! I used to get teased about these sorts of things when I came to the States (smoking/curing meat in our garage, making moonshine and vino, stuffing sausages, making pepper jam, etc). :)
    Stuffing sausages is one of those things I grew up with… we do it every October, right before the cold – it’s a cultural tradition ….and it does take a few of us to do it.

  12. Ethan June 15, 2011 at 10:50 #

    If Mardi made this project look like fun, it’s because it was! Even the cleaning of the casings was enjoyable once I got them under running water and the smell of vanilla wafted over to me from the creme anglaise.
    I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to sausage making 101 than having to do it with Mardi and Neil.

  13. Lynda - TasteFood June 15, 2011 at 11:12 #

    How fun – now I want to move to Toronto! And your sausages look great – they really are meant to be shared with friends.

  14. Cecilia June 15, 2011 at 11:29 #

    Mardi, gorgeous post! I’m so glad you had two more pairs of hands helping. Looks like it was so much fun! Well worth the effort, right? And you made two kinds! Definitely want to try the chorizo recipe in Charcuterie now.

  15. Adora's Box June 15, 2011 at 12:56 #

    Awesome sausages! I would zoom in on the chorizos were I there. I didn’t realize it was hard labor to stuff sausages. Well, what do I know? I just eat them.

  16. Lynn June 15, 2011 at 14:20 #

    Mardi,
    I love your photos – the side by side shots of the process were a great idea, and your sausages look wonderful. I am with you – it is so worth it to know where the meat is coming from, and so much easier with extra hands. Next time, I’m having a sausage making party.

  17. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts June 15, 2011 at 14:24 #

    How fun! These all look amazing! I love that you made so many different kinds to try!

  18. Vicki @ WITK June 15, 2011 at 14:24 #

    I’m so impressed with you and your homemade sausages! They look so professional! Someday I’ll give this a try, maybe when I own a grill and a backyard :)

  19. Melissa@EyesBigger June 15, 2011 at 14:31 #

    I love, love, love the first photo – what a fun shot of you three! And i think the sausages turned out looking amazing. Good job guys – I just wish I’d been there :)

  20. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction June 15, 2011 at 17:11 #

    Wow… How fun that you got to hang out and make sausage with Ethan! Looks like you all had a blast. And, those sausages look mighty good!

  21. Sherilyn @ Wholepromise June 15, 2011 at 22:42 #

    Passing this post straight onto my husband who has recently purchased the meat grinder and sausage making attachment for the kitchenaid. He will be impressed. Great work.

  22. Esi June 16, 2011 at 01:46 #

    These sound wonderful! I need to try my hand at making my own sausage.

  23. Jen s. June 16, 2011 at 10:07 #

    Impressive. This is a whole different level of coolness in the kitchen.

  24. A Canadian Foodie June 16, 2011 at 12:04 #

    So much fun! We have to try the chorizo! The merguez we made (Ruhlman’s, too) was deadly delish – and I don’t like lamb sausage! But, when we put it through the grinder again on a finer grind as it was going into the sheep casings and we thought a finer grind would be more suitable. That texture change completely affected the flavour, and I didn’t enjoy them at all after that. But, I will make them again and not grind so finely. We have made only three from his book so far, and others from Vanja’s culture. Love making homemade sausage. There is NO going back.
    :)
    Valerie

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite June 19, 2011 at 20:03 #

      I think merguez don’t need to be so finely ground – we need to try casing those ones – we so enjoyed the meat last month!

  25. Dorothy June 16, 2011 at 12:33 #

    This looks super fun, if not a lot time intensive! Have you ever seen the Julia Childs episode where she makes sausage and goes through all the different types of sausage stuffers? Hilarious!

  26. Scott_D June 16, 2011 at 12:59 #

    Nice shots!

    I know, I know about those casings. I put on some NPR podcast and concentrated on that, not thinking about the casings’ origins while I prepped them. Don’t know how I’m going to handle that beef bung that is in my fridge for this month’s Mortadella…..

    I’m also envious of the help. I did it all by myself and was ready to scream a few times.

  27. Vanessa June 17, 2011 at 00:32 #

    Mmmhh! Homemade chorizo… I die.

  28. Mosaica June 17, 2011 at 11:49 #

    Gorgeous Mardi :-) The food looks delectable, and the company looks pretty damn yummy too! I love those process shots; I think I’d really love them as a hand-made flip-book. How fun would that be?!

  29. Kimmy @ Lighter and Local June 18, 2011 at 21:20 #

    So we conquered the sausage casings! I have to say I would have enjoyed this more if I had partners in crime. Doing it myself, it was quite a mess, but looking back on it, it so wasn’t as bad as I thought while I was in the process of making it! Onward to emulsification!

  30. jade June 20, 2011 at 07:53 #

    I would love to do this- for the exact reason you said… knowing what was inside them! I always wondered how they stuffed them- cool post!

  31. Jason Phelps June 20, 2011 at 18:05 #

    Way cool! I’ve never seen it done in person, but have enjoyed homemade ones before. They really are incredible.

    Jason

  32. ravenouscouple June 26, 2011 at 12:19 #

    great post. a sausage fest is definitely fun way to go, why hog all the fun to yourself?

  33. Aggie July 14, 2011 at 15:10 #

    Fuuuuun!! Love this post. The sausage looks pretty delicious and man did I get deja vu! My grandpa used to make Italian sausage at home all the time when I was a kid and I was his assistant. :) Love all the photos!

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