Sausages, Weiners, Boudins, Salcicce
Earlier in the week through the twitterverse I received a message from Katherine Marland who owns and runs Kathers Kitchen. Katherine is part of the team now running courses at Humble by Nature, the message was an invite to attend a course on sausage making. As anyone who knows me will tell you if it involves pork or curing or chacuterie then the invite will only need asking once, to find out that the course was being taught by Graham Waddington who is the owner of Native Breeds was fantastic.
The timing of this invite could not of been better timed, I had just finished one contract and was on a week off before starting a new contract next week. Add to this that it was a day before my birthday and it was a fantastic present.
As readers of the blog will know I had met Kather before when Ffion made bread with her, bread being my nemesis and the fact that since that day mine and Ffions bread making has gone from strength to strength we decided to make a loaf of bread for me to take on the day as a small gift.
I got to the farm a little early and was met by Graham who runs all the courses at Humble Farm and was taken to the barn where the course was to be run, tea and coffee was already on the go for the attendees of the course along with some delicious honey biscuits made by Kather who does all the cooking for the courses. Over the next half hour or so the other course students arrived and over coffee and tea we were all introduced to each other and talked about what we were expecting from the course.
On the introduction notes to the course listed on the sausages that we would make was the Austrian smoked sausage also known as a Frankfurter and the ubiquitous “hot dog” this sausage is often vilified as cheap and often nasty fast food but a good Austrian sausage or weiner is something to enjoy. Having lived in Germany for several years when in the Army I had some great Frankfurters not the cheap tinned or bottled supermarket hot dogs we are used to here. The method for making these kind of sausages is an emulsion, 60% lean meat, 20% back fat, 20% frozen water and seasoning’s, the secret is having the meat as cold as possible Graham had the meat part frozen having placed it in the freezer for an hour or two prior to us making the sausages, the meat and ice are blended and then the fat added bit by bit to create a silky smooth paste. I could go into far more detail on the whys and hows of the process but will keep it for another post. The sausages we made were to be part of our lunch so we all hoped that we had done ok in the making of the Austrian sausage, after we had made the emulsion and then cased them they were placed in a smoker ready to be done in time for lunch.
The second sausage we were introduced to was an Italian fennel salcicce, these kind of sausages are made right across Europe and are predominantly a cooking sausage, the richness of flavours means a little goes a long way, just like a Toulouse sausage in the famous cassoulet a little goes a long way the flavours imparting themselves onto what ever they are cooked with butter beans in the case of cassoulet.
That was the morning done and we were all ready for lunch, well on a sausage making course what else for lunch but a selection of sausages along with a salad some amazing sauerkraut, mayonnaise, frittata and a fantastic bread role for the Austrian smoked sausages we had made earlier in the day. Lunch seemed to last an age with everyone enjonying the food and talking, to top of lunch a dessert of bread and butter pudding with fruits and syrup was presented to us along with more coffee and tea, I think people would of happily sat talking over what we had done that morning.
The afternoon session started with my all time favourite sausage chorizo, there are so many types of this amazing Spanish sausage from hot spicy to sweet smoked every region and town having there own versions, dry salami type to cooking sausages each having its own merits, you can not beat a snacking chorizo salami and for a rich and unctuous risotto a cooking chorizo crumbled into the dish is an amazing addition.
The final part of the day was making a boudin blanc as we were told every French butcher will have a different version some say you must add chicken others that it must be veal, again it is an emulsified sausage this time the frozen water replaced with milk we used an unpasturised milk along with the lean meat and back fat adding white pepper and other spices an some breadcrumbs to help with the binding process. I can now say I have a new addition to my favourite sausages or pudding if you like to add to my boudin noir addiction.
The day was rounded off with more of Kathers fantastic cooking with millionaires shortbread a coffee and everyone enthusing on what a great day it had been, all learning new things and taking away knowledge that to make a fantastic sausage is not some dark art but a skill that our grandparents used all the time, communities used to grow a few pigs among them and it really is amazing how much sausage can be made from just 2kg of meat, many of the sausages we made today used veal, this meat must be used more if you drink or eat dairy then you should make a conscious effort to source and eat good veal, this is not the meat that was shown in such a bad lite in the 80′s but a fantastic meat that we should all be enjoying.
I was invited to attend this course but would happily attend more of Humble by Nature courses. I consider myself extremely lucky that through my food blog and love for good food I have now learnt various aspects of charcuterie and sausage making by two of the UK’s leading experts on the subject, if you are in anyway interested in making your own sausages attend the course you will not be disappointed.