Sunday, 7 February 2016

HFF - History Detective- Sausages

3. History Detective  For this challenge, you get to be the detective! Either use clues from multiple recipes to make a composite recipe, or choose a very vague recipe and investigate how it was made. 

This challenge was a true challenge.  The vague recipe/composite recipe idea gave me much to ponder.   In the end, I chose a vague recipe from A Cook's Own Book, 1832, Boston, while my recipe ended up a composite of a bunch of different recipes.

I made pork sausages.    There were recipes for sausages using different meats, including mixes of assorted meats.  Hanna Glasse also mentions in a recipe for pork sausages that beef makes good sausages as well, (The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy,1805).   However beef is crazy expensive right now and pork goes on sale regularly, if you aren't fussy about which cut you use.     There are similarities in many of the recipes, the main one being 2 parts meat to 1 part fat.   Many recipes use sage, salt and pepper, but cloves, nutmeg, lemon thyme, thyme, rosemary are all spices and herbs suggested.
Pork was on sale this week and I bought a 2.5 kilo piece of pork loin for $8.55.   The next item to locate was a length of sausage casing.   That was less difficult than I expected when the only butcher in town gave me a little pile of casings to play with.

Pork loin was probably a bit to lean for this experiment, but I used it anyway.  I chopped into strips and some into chunks to see which ran through the grinder most easily.  The strips of meat were the easiest to use.    Yes, I am thankful for my electric mixer, with fancy attachments.

I had enough meat to try two different flavours.  The first was salt, pepper, sage and rosemary.  The second was parsley, thyme,lemon peel, nutmeg, salt and pepper.  I used fresh sage and rosemary because we were going to eat that sausage right away and I prefer the flavour of the fresh sage to the flavour of the dried herb.

I  used the hand grinder to stuff the casings.  Sliding the casings onto the sausage tube was certainly a job to bring out the sense of humour of a 12 year old in whoever walked by.  I started filling the hopper and cranking out the sausage into the casing but it was slow going.   In the end, I needed help and needed to relocate the grinder, which put it at a better height, more stable but facing an awkward direction.  With hubby cranking and me filling, we got most of one batch of sausage stuffed into the casing, but it was really slow going and when arms started getting rubbery, I was on my own.

   I ended up taking the stuffing tube off the grinder and pushing the rest of this batch and the second batch by hand.  If I had a wooden dowel or spoon which fit, that would have been a lot easier, but I had to use my thumbs.   Because of this, it took much more time than it should have.  It ended up taking about 3.5 hours from set up to clean up.

The link sausages were the two person effort and the single sausage coil is the one I did by myself.

Ingredients -
#1 - sage, rosemary, salt, pepper
#2 - parsley, thyme, nutmeg, lemon peel, salt, pepper.

I added herbs and spices, mixed it in and then cooked up a bit to see if I liked the flavour.  In the end I used  1 tsp salt (I hate overly salted foods), 1/2 tsp pepper, 1 heaping tbsn sage, 1 heaping tbsn rosemary for the first sausage and the second was 1 tsp salt,1/2 tsp pepper, 1 tsp nutmeg, 2 tbsn parsley/thyme/lemon peel blend.
Your tastes may vary, play with the flavours to make the taste you like.

We put one meal worth of sausage on the bbq for dinner and 3 meals of sausage packets when into the freezer.   It was absolutely delicious.   Enough so that it was suggested that I get the stuffing attachment sooner rather than later, so that I can do this again.   With the right equipment, it is really easy to do and if you don't want to stuff the casings, patties or rolls of meat are perfectly period.   

The recipe was very successful.  I like to think the accuracy was good, with the exception of using electric appliances and a gas bbq.   The cost for 2.5 kg of sausages was $8.55 for the meat and $2 for the sage.  The casings were free.  Everything else was already in my cupboard.  I will do this again and again, although I will insist that the nice butcher sell me the casings next time.

There is a PDF on the resource page (tab at top), of various sausage recipes,including the sources that I looked researched to decide on the flavourings and methods.