Tag Archives: sausage

Tandoori Chicken Sausage

First, I want to apologize for my long delay between posts. February was an exciting month, but also a very full one. I just started an awesome new job, and have found that a lot of my mental energy has been consumed with planning, learning, and working. I also traveled to Orange County for almost a week to celebrate my grandparents’ 70th wedding anniversary. Our family gathered together from all over the west coast to celebrate my grandparents amazing marriage and longevity (they are 94 and 96). The highlight of the week for me was spending time with my adorable niece Evie, who is 3 1/2, and nephew James, who is 10 months old (and their parents, of course). They live in Portland, OR, so I don’t get to see them very often. Now I’m back home, and looking forward to getting back into my kitchen on a more regular basis.

So I’m back with a pretty involved project. Years ago, when I bought my KitchenAid Mixer, I also purchased a meat grinder and a sausage stuffer attachment. I’m embarrassed to say that I put them into a plastic tub and tucked them into my pantry. 4 years later, I’ve finally gotten motivated to pull them out and make sausage. To be honest, what motivated me was the opportunity to test this recipe for the Food52 website. They have regular competitions on the website to submit original recipes on a theme, and ask the other website members to test out the top contenders. I offered to test this one, so dug out my meat grinder and followed the recipe to a tee! I was impressed with the ease of grinding the meat and stuffing the sausage, especially with me being a newbie.

This recipe was pretty complex, and took two days to complete. To be honest, I think if I made it a second time, I might take a few shortcuts to get to a very similar flavor. So what I’m going to do is share what I did, but also share some time-savers I’d suggest if you’d like to get to a very similar result with a lot less effort and time. The key element of this recipe is the tandoori spice paste. It is thoroughly delicious! The paste gives the meat a richness and depth that really elevates it to a special-occasion dish. So instead of dicing your meat into pieces, then grinding it in the grinder, then stuffing it, you can create a similar flavor by mixing the paste into some pre-ground meat and cooking it as loose sausage meat or patties.

Tandoori Chicken Sausage

Makes 5 lbs of sausage

For the seasoning paste

2 tbsp olive oil or canola oil

4 bay leaves

1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces

2 cardamon pods, crushed

5 cloves

2 onions, grated

2 tomatoes, grated

1/2 tablespoon turmeric

1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons yogurt

7 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons grated ginger

2 serrano chiles, seeded and chopped

1 tablespoon garam masala

3 tablespoons paprika

1 lime, juiced

For the Sausage (sausage grinding and stuffing procedure)

3.5 pounds chicken thigh meat, diced into small pieces

1.5 pounds pork back fat, diced into small pieces

40 grams of kosher salt

1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro

1 cup ice cold water

10 feet of hog casings, soaked to re-hydrate

For the Sausage (simple loose sausage procedure)

3 pounds ground chicken, not lean

2 pounds ground pork or un-seasoned fresh pork sausage (adds fat to make texture more like sausage)

40 grams of kosher salt

1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro

The first step in the recipe is to cook the spices on the stove to make the masala. Heat some olive oil in a pot over medium heat and add the bay leaves, cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, and cloves. Allow the aromas to fill your kitchen and for the spices to toast a little. Add the grated onion and tomatoes. Season with salt and cook until nicely brown and caramelized, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add the turmeric and cayenne pepper and cook for another minute. Add the yogurt, garlic, ginger, serrano chiles, paprika, lime juice and garam masala. Cook the masala until it is completely dry and there is no visible moisture. This is key to ensuring your sausage becomes the correct texture. The finished masala should look like a seasoning paste. Take the masala off the heat and let cool to room temperature. Remove all of the whole spices at this point (cloves, cinnamon, bay, and cardamom).

For the sausage grinding and stuffing technique:

If you add hot masala to the chicken, the chicken will cook, so make sure the masala is extremely cold before adding it to the diced chicken and pork fat. Add cilantro and the salt to the chicken masala and let sit in the fridge overnight so everything gets really, really cold. I’d recommend putting it into the freezer for a couple of hours before you grind it, which helps the texture to keep from getting too sticky.

Put the chicken mixture through the small die on a meat grinder. Once all is ground, put the mixture in the bowl of your kitchen aid and start the mixture with the paddle attachment. Slowly add in the water until the mixture becomes very sticky, about 1 minute.

Put the hog casings on the tube of your sausage stuffer and stuff into one huge link. Then, twist the casing to create 6 inch links. You can also save some loose sausage meat and use it to make sausage patties, as you can see below. The loose meat freezes well in quart-sized ziploc bags.

Cook the sausages to 160 degrees either by grilling or roasting.

For the loose sausage method:

Remove the paste from the fridge, add in the salt and cilantro, and run it in a food processor for a minute, just to break down any remaining chunks.  Mix the paste into the ground chicken and pork, stirring to combine thoroughly. You can then form the meat into patties or cook as loose sausage meat to use in recipes like frittatas.

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Filed under Main Dishes, Uniquely Homemade

Dark Days Challenge–Sausage, Kale and Cranberry Bean Sauté

I follow a lot of blogs…probably too many (I’d rather not calculate, but it’s probably more than 100). One that I enjoy is Not Dabbling in Normal. It’s a group of 10 bloggers who share stories about their attempts to cook and live in more traditional (and therefore “Not Normal”) ways. They are hosting a challenge where fellow bloggers are asked to cook at least one meal per week of SOLE food (sustainable, organic, local, ethical) . The goals is to make meals using only foods from less than 150 miles away, with the exception of spices, chocolate, coffee and oils.

As I plotted my first post, I decided to add the additional challenge of only using things I already had in my house (or maybe I just hadn’t had a chance to go shopping with the challenge in mind…). In any case, I raided the freezer and my garden, and was able to create a fantastic, entirely local, one-dish meal.

I began with some proscuttio. And yes, it is local! I made it myself this summer, with pork belly from a local pig. A fellow vendor was doing a pork butchery demo at the San Francisco Underground Market, using a small local pig. After he finished, I bought the two bellies from him, and used one to cure bacon and one for prosciutto. I froze segments of the finished prosciutto, and have been doling them out throughout the fall. I thinly sliced pieces of prosciutto, and sauteed them until crispy, then removed to drain on a paper towel. One benefit of starting with the prosciutto was that the pan was nicely greased for the next addition, the sausage. Definitely don’t drain off the fat, as you’ll use it as a cooking medium for the rest of the components (no non-local oil needed)!

The Bratwurst sausages were purchased from Riverdog Farm, located outside of Sacramento in Guinda, about 99 miles from me. They primarily specialize in vegetables, but several times a year, they have pork available by the box. I bought a 20 lb. mixed box of pork this summer using the Bay Area Meat CSA. It’s not really a single CSA–it’s more of a message board that connects Bay Area residents with nearby farmers, organized by our local Slow Food chapter. Farmers post about meat and eggs they have for sale, and groups can coordinate to purchase in bulk to save time and money. Over the last few years, I’ve gotten a half a Berkshire-Tamworth heritage pig and 1/10 of a grassfed cow using the board, among other things. It’s been a great way to support local farmers who are raising animals in natural ways, and to get to know more local foodies as well!

The rest was easy. After the sausage finished cooking, I removed it to rest, and added in 2 diced medium onions. They were about as local as you get, coming from my stash grown this summer in my garden. I added diced garlic, also from my garden stash–waiting until the onions were already softened. Garlic burns easily, so I always add it later than the onions.

Then came kale! Kale grows like a weed in my garden, and I usually have it year-round. The plants I have growing now are actually a year old. We had such a cool summer here in Oakland that they never bolted. So they are about 3 feet tall, basically spindly sticks with a pouf of green leaves at the top. But they are still going strong, so I keep eating kale. I picked about 6 large leaves, and tore the leaves into chunks, tossing them into the pan. You definitely don’t want to add the rib, which is really tough, unlike chard. I like tearing it, as it is easy to leave the spine behind.

Sauté just until the kale wilts, then add the beans. I used the Cranberry beans I had purchased fresh at the farmer’s market this summer and froze, but any firm pre-cooked bean–like cannellini–should work well (even from a can, if you’re not trying to make a SOLE meal!). I took them out of the freezer to thaw the day before, so they were cool but not frozen.

While the beans warmed up, I cut the cooled sausage into slices. After the beans were ready, I added the sausage back into the pan to mingle with the other ingredients. I finished by deglazing with some white wine (I used a good Napa chardonnay–thankfully, only 46 miles away). I felt like it was still lacking something, so I raided the garden for some herbs, finding sage and chives that I added at the end, for some fresh flavor. I also diced the cooked prosciutto and sprinkled it on the top of the bowl, so it stayed crispy.

Sausage, Kale and Cranberry Bean Sauté 

 (serves 3)                                                             SOLE Factor

3 pork sausages (about .75 lbs)                   99 miles, organic

2 cups cooked Cranberry Beans                  Farmer’s Market purchase, organic

2 oz thinly sliced Prosciutto (or Bacon)   Farmer’s Market purchase, sustainable

2 medium onions (or one large) diced      Grown organically in my garden

3 cloves garlic, minced                                    Grown organically in my garden

1 bunch (about 6-8 leaves) kale, torn        Grown organically in my garden

1/2 cup white wine                                            46 miles–not organic or biodynamic

6 sage leaves, diced                                           Grown organically in my garden

2 tbsp diced chives                                            Grown organically in my garden

Dig in and enjoy your local meal! This was a really easy meal, but definitely not a combination I would have tried had I not been scouring my house for SOLE ingredients. I really enjoyed this process, and am looking forward to the inspiration it is sure to provide in the months to come!

To the new folks coming by due to the challenge, thanks for visiting my blog–I hope you come back and visit throughout the Dark Days challenge and beyond.

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Filed under Dark Days, Main Dishes