The final chapter of the “venison scrap transformation” story proved to include a bit of a plot twist. I wanted to make a fresh sausage with jerk spices and wanted to mimic the flavors of oxtail stew in a sausage. My flaw here was in the conception phase as it may not be possible to get the flavors developed by stewing a cut rich in collagen for hours in stock, aromatics and chili into sausages cooked for mere minutes. On the flip side, what sprung from this attempt was a sausage which was both unique and delicious. It was not an encased form of the Caribbean dish, but it proved to provide insights on the benefits of tasty mistakes. Continue reading
In round two of turning venison scrap from my father into something more edible, I made a dangerous choice – a sausage of great familiarity. Summer Sausage. It is easy to cook without context when the only question is “Does it taste good?” I guess easy is relative, because it seems easy in comparison to when you are cooking something familiar and add “Does it taste right?” to “Does it taste good?” Venison summer sausage is, when combined with Ritz crackers and cheese, the most popular pre-dinner, post-lunch food in Wisconsin. When given venison scrap, how could i have ignored the opportunity to stock the pre-dinner, post-lunch larder for the year, or more likely, the remainder of April?
Every now and again I get venison from my father. He is generous with the venison he hunts with his cousins and while the hunting aspects have never taken with me, I have become comfortable cooking venison. As I have grown more comfortable preparing venison in different ways, I have tried to repay his generosity with giving some of the venison back, in the form of sausage, ham, etc. After cleaning out his freezer, he found nearly eight pounds of venison scrap and asked if I could do something new with it that he might like. Continue reading
Missing my Irish breakfast on or around St. Patrick’s day was a mistake. Diverting from my daily oatmeal for a plate full of sausages, rashers, and eggs requires a good excuse and St. Patrick’s day is a great excuse. I had even acquired a bit of black pudding from the Butcher and Larder for this very purpose. I missed my chance for a full breakfast and I can own that, but I still had the blood sausage and a hankering for a fry up.
Remember when pork belly was an off cut? Those days are gone. Long gone. While it is good for butchers and good for hog farmers (and really good for diners) how the belly and other former off cuts have moved closer to the mainstream, it is not so great for home bacon makers. However, our local market purchased a few acorn-fed Tamworth hogs and while the chops and ribs flew off the shelf, the belly was not even put out for sale. Moving to the burbs means living in the safe-zone much of the time, food wise, and the belly has yet to reach full market saturation here. When I asked if they had the bellies from the hog, they commented “yes” and “what are going to do with them?”. I mentioned bacon making and it got their attention enough to wrap a big belly and give me a price that I had a hard time believing. Continue reading
It is the time of year where I remind myself by reminding you how this is not a recipe blog. The most noteworthy thing about our dinners is how positively uninteresting they are. Protein, green vegetable, non-green vegetable, and pickles/condiments. This year, the annual reminder that I am not an interesting recipe provider comes after tinkering with our weekly roasted chicken.
Time after time, I noticed the copious schmaltz at the bottom of our cast iron pan after roasting the chicken and wondered how to best keep the fat with the chicken. It is incredibly tasty but, while it is useful when reserved and reused, why not use it to make the bird better, so I stuffed absorbent pumpernickel crumbs under the skin. Continue reading
In preparing for a dinner party, I started by making a batch of linguica. A fresh sausage smoked like Andouille, but with the flavors similar to Spanish chorizo, linguica is delicious and versatile. Great in beans, with vegetables, and on a bun, this sausage of Portuguese origin deserves more recognition. Continue reading
Usually when I make sausage, I do so thinking of flavors I like together and keep the circle relatively closed. In this case, I made sausage thinking about how I was planning to use them, in a cassoulet, and how I wanted the sausages to season the cassoulet. There are plenty of great flavor combinations in sausages, but I really wanted to add the punchy flavors of bay and peppercorns to the super-rich cassoulet along with the pork drippings themselves and how better to transfer the flavors than by attaching them to pork fat? Continue reading
After another blowout New Year’s Eve dinner at the Butcher & Larder, I was handed a large item wrapped in butcher paper to take home. We had decided to grab a ride home from a car service for smart reasons and the car was waiting, so I said my thank yous and good byes and ran outside. When we arrived home, I was tired enough to simply throw the package in the fridge and run off to bed. Continue reading