Actually, I say both! Today I made both Mexican Chorizo and Portuguese Chouriço, as well as a batch of forcemeat for tasty old-fashioned crepinettes de porc. It was a big sausage day. I made about five pounds of each, and most of it is now in the freezer. The new freezer..
A few days ago when I went to retrieve some pork shoulder & fatback for this sausagepalooza, I found the freezer had just failed; I lost almost all the dear veggies I’d put up there, and around 50 or 60 pounds of lovely pork, beautiful little lamb kidneys, lovely plump lamb hearts, oh, it was awful!
However, I was able to salvage a good amount of still-frozen meat, and the upside is that I have more freezer space now, woo hoo!
I’d originally planned to visit a wonderful bisavo (great-grandma) near Fall River, Massachusetts to have a hands-on mano a mano Portuguese sausage schooling, but couldn’t arrange it in time for the May Charcutepalooza challenge, so instead I looked for guidance from Hank Shaw over at Hunter Angler Gardener Cook and from Messrs. Polcyn & Ruhlman, authors of Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing , as well as a phone call to a Portuguese pal. My chouriço seasoning is almost identical to Hank’s linguiça seasoning, only I used marjoram instead of oregano, and I didn’t smoke the sausage. My chorizo seasoning is, again, almost identical to Polcyn & Ruhlman’s recipe, with a few tweaks in deference to my larder. In neither case did I use pink salt, since these would be frozen.
I mixed the seasonings and spices (though not the wines, liquors, and vinegars) with the roughly chopped 1-inch to 2-inch chunks of meat and fatback in two large ziplock bags and let them ruminate in the ‘fridge overnight.
Thankfully today was overcast and cool; the temperature at my sausage-making station stayed between 64 and 66 degrees, and the cool temperatures made life a lot easier. I did use a large bowl of ice to keep various bowls of meat extra cool, but if it had been warm and sunny, it would have complicated matters.
Once the meat was ground, I added in the required liquids to each batch and mixed it with the paddle attachment of my mixer until the texture was nice and sticky:
One of the reasons I’ve been looking so forward to this challenge is because I’d have the chance to use the hog casings which I harvested and prepared myself early last winter. That’s right folks: I had pulled the intestines out of the gut pile on a day we’d dispatched some local pigs, flushed them with a garden hose, taken them home and prepped them, and they’ve been waiting in a little plastic tub, buried in salt, just for this moment. You can read all about that, if you’re the stalwart type, in this post.
Look how beautiful they are:
Once they had soaked for half an hour or so and were rinsed, I mounted the casings on the stuffer horn:
Making sausage, particularly when you’re making more than one type, involves a lot of stages, and lots of disassembling, washing, and reassembling of stuffer and mixer parts. If you haven’t made sausage before, and you want to have fun and not be overwhelmed, it might be a good idea to just make one type, and make a single batch. I was committed to three batches though, which is honestly a lot of work. I had meat that I needed to use, and I really wanted to have a good variety in the freezer for quick and tasty suppers this spring as gardening & farming & market life gets busy.
Mom & her sweetie came down around mid-day, and they puttered while I sausaged, and it was nice having company. Plus, Carl shuffled some of my media bits & cables around, a huge job, and now it all looks so neat. Thanks!
Soon I had the chouriço and chorizo finished, partly in links, and partly in neat little packages of uncased sausage to use in exciting future dinners.
Lastly I made the forcemeat for the crepinettes de porc –I looked at a few recipes (from Jane Grigson and the NYT), and decided to make ones with sage and peccorino and red wine, and the little morsel that I test-fried tasted delicious, and when I wrap them in caul fat and fry them and eat them with roast potatoes and a salad and lots of parsley, well, that’ll be real fine, I expect.
I made a tangy and savory tomato sauce with a bit of savory, onion, and garlic:
I added a bit of fried chouriço, tossed it with some fancy fat rigatoni, and shaved lots of pecorino over it all, and it was a very yummy supper for mom & Carl & me, alongside a salad of fresh spring greens dressed with a dijon-maple vinaigrette (a happy accident when I couldn’t find the damned honey).
I love sausage. And I love mom & Carl for coming down and keeping me company while I sausaged!