Yesterday I hinted at a new "project" Lance and I have undertaken...
And if you haven't guessed, we made sausage for the first time ever! I'm not a big sausage fan, but Lance definitely is, and after he bought some Boudin Blanc from Pike's Place a few weeks ago, he has been mopey and moody that he can't get this Cajun treat at a moment's notice.
Despite my years of suggesting that he should attempt making sausage, knowing that that would be something my husband would enjoy, he finally decided to give this a shot after talking about it at work. He always does that to me.
We have a KitchenAid mixer and meat grinder, but we couldn't find the sausage attachment anywhere around here. Lance went ahead and ordered that, some casings, and a cookbook, and after much anticipation, we were finally able to make it this past week.
As I said, I'm not much of a sausage person, so I was utterly surprised at how much fun it was to make! Yes, its kind of gross too... but I just had to get over the "ick" factor while playing with the hog casings. It is what it is.
The recipe we used for our first attempt at sausage was from the cookbook Home Sausage Making, which Lance ordered off Amazon. He asked his mom for a recipe too, and the two recipes were extremely similar, though hers includes pork liver. Let me tell you, pork liver cannot be found anywhere around here (to my delight), but the cookbook doesn't call for it. Lance's dad said that a lot of times these days, boudin doesn't include liver anymore, so I'm not sure what the whole deal with that is. I just know I'm not a liver fan, so hurray for me!
What makes this sausage stand out from others is that boudin is used with cooked pork and rice. To sum up the two-man process:
Soak and rinse out your casings
Boil your meat until tender (reserve the broth!)
Sauté your uncooked rice with butter and seasonings
Then cook your rice with the reserved pork broth (we just used our rice cooker <3 )
Grind your cooked pork
Add the cooked rice to the meat and season. Remember, the meat is already cooked, so taste at will to make sure the seasoning is right for your taste. We didn't use nearly as much cayenne as called for, knowing Lance Jr would be eating this, but added tons of Tony Chachere's, our favorite seasoning.
And mix (I was conveniently the camera man, hehe)
Tie off one end of the casing, and fit the open end to your sausage maker, and proceed to make sausage! This part is the two-man job - one person stuffs the meat into the grinder, the other person manipulates the casing. I obviously was not in a position to take pictures after that :)
Although we had a blast making this, I still need some practice in how to manipulate the casing and make the sausage the right way.
I thought the boudin tasted alright - but I'm not a sausage person. Lance and Lance Jr, however, LOVED IT! The recipe says for you to boil or steam the sausage, but we are a huge fan of grilling stuff, which is what we did. Lance thought this was probably the best boudin he's ever had (seriously!), and we have to limit how much Lance Jr eats - he would eat every cooked piece until he exploded if you let him. The roast I bought was 6 pounds, so we doubled the recipe, and I'd guess we had about three dozen 6-8 inch sausages. Considering we paid $10 for a pound of sausage at Pike Place, and the roast cost me $8 for six pounds, I'd say that was quite a savings. And much better tasting (according to the boys)
Cajun Boudin Blanc
Makes about 4 pounds
3 pounds boneless pork butt, cut into 2-inch chunks (include some fat)
1 tablespoon kosher or coarse salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (medium grind)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 teaspoon fresh
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cup long-grain white rice
1 large onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped scallions
9 feet small hog casing
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1. Bring a large kettle of water to a boil. In a large saucepan, combine the pork, 1 teaspoon of the salt, the black pepper, thyme, and bay leaves, cover with the boiling water, and simmer for about 2 hours, until the pork falls apart.
2. With a slotted spoon, remove the meat and refrigerate it. Strain and reserve the broth.
3. In a heavy saucepan, melt the butter, add the rice, onion, and scallions, and sauté for about five minutes, until the rice looks translucent. Add2 1/2 cups of the reserved broth and cook the rice, covered, over low heat until it is tender, about 15 minutes. Reserve any leftover broth.
4. Prepare the casing.
5. Grind the pork through the coarse disk of a meat grinder into a large bowl.
6. Mix the pork with the cooked rice mixture, the remaining 2 teaspoons of salt, and the parsley, cayenne, and crushed red pepper. If the mixture seems dry, add enough reserved broth or water to make it very moist.
7. Stuff the mixture into the prepared casing and prick air pockets. Twist off into 20-inch links or leave as one long rope. Refrigerate, covered, for up to 3 days if you are not ready to cook them.
8. To cook, heat links in simmering water for 215 minutes, or coil them into the basket of a steamer and steam, covered, for 15 minutes. Cut the links apart with a sharp knife and serve hot.