The latest choice for a foodie-book from the Cook the Books Club was Heat by Bill Buford. I enjoyed reading the book when it came out and just re-read some sections which describe the work in a tuscan butchery.

Making sausage has been on my to-do list since I had read Ratio and Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman, so now was the perfect time to try. To avoid the hassle of filling the ground meat into casings, I wanted to make some cevapcici-like fingerlings and wrap them into caulk fat. Sounded like a good enough plan, but unfortunately I ran into diffculties from the get-go. First, the nozzle of the (new and not-that-cheap) hand-cranked meat grinder was so low, I couldn't use an ice bath but had to catch the meat in a glass casserole. Then the suction cup on the bottom of the meat grinder gave in, which made grinding meat really hard and very time-consuming work. Due to the slow going the fat and meat (predictably) warmed up and began to clog the die. After going through maybe 200 gram of the 1.25 kg total (I used a half-batch of the recipe given below.) I decided to form the ground meat into a fingerling, skip the wrapping in caulk fat and just fry it. The Bratwurst had a nice and hearty taste, but I didn't want to slog on going through all that meat with the half-dead grinder. So I diced some onions and minced a garlic clove to make a bolognese-style stew with the diced meat.

Bolognese-style Goulash Pörkölt

It has been said somewhere, that a food blogger has to take on many varied roles from dish washer to cook to fotographer to food stylist and so on. Among those many tasks also may come the role of Chief of First-Aid Operations. In that role you may want to use a quite moment to ponder one or two questions.

Do you have a First-Aid Kit of some description which has not yet seen its Use-By date?
Is said kit in a place and a state of packaging where you are very, very confident to be able to put it to its intended use with one hand tied to your back?

Just saying.

Fresh Bratwurst

Adapted from Ratio by Michael Ruhlman


4 pounds pork shoulder, diced
1 pound pork backfat, diced
1.25 ounces kosher salt
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp ground nutmeg
1 Tbsp ground ginger
1/4 cup chopped marjoram
1/2 cup white wine, chilled

caul fat (optional)


Mix together all the ingredients except the white wine. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours.
Grind through a small die into a bowl set in ice water. Using a silicone spatula, fold in the wine until fully incorporated. Take off a small sample of the mixture, press it into patty-shape and fry it in a pan. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Divide the mixture into patties or fingerling shapes, wrap in caul fat if using and fry in small batches without overcrowding the pan.


Jim said...

Wursten steht bei mir fürs nächste Jahr auch auf der Tagesordnung. Ich bin schon sehr gespannt und werde vorher besser mal alle nötigen Utensilien testen.
In Sachen Erste Hilfe kann ich auf eine kompetente Fachkraft zurückgreifen, die bisher Got sei Dank bei jedem Attentat auf mich selbst anwesend war und mich versorgte.
Wo ist hier der Übersetzungsknopf?

Rachel said...

Oh dear, so sorry to hear about your need for first aid in the kitchen, but your end result looks magnificent. I myself keep an aloe plant on my kitchen windowsill (moved outside in the summer) for the small burns one gets while cooking.

Bravo on trying your own charcuterie!

foodjunkie.eu said...

I hate it when expensive equipment lets me down. The final result looks good though, so at least your ingredients didn't go to waste!

Andreas said...

Jim, Übersetzungskopf hat's leider keinen. ;)
Bei Fragen (oder auch zum Erfahrungsaustausch) einfach fragen. Du hast ja meine mail-Adresse.

cantbelieveweate said...

A couple of hints to help with your charcuterie... Partially freeze your meat and fat. Not so that it's icy, but so that it's almost icy. It will go through the die better without gunking things up. I had the same problem. I put the hand crank away for the Apocalypse, and bought a grinder for my Kitchen Aid. It got no better. That was a much happier experience. Still chill the meat in the freezer. I can't wait to try your recipe! We love bratwurst!
Sorry to hear you needed first aid...Saw Michael Symon use duct tape once...that's always in the back of my mind now. Great post!

Jeanne said...

Good advice regarding the first aid kit. I am definitely impressed with your ambition, and the bratwurst sounds fantastic. How disappointing that the not-so-cheap grinder didn't hold up.

Claudia said...

Good advice on the First Aid kit, but I hope it doesn't mean you got some of your finger in that sausage. Anyway, a good effort.

Cook of the House said...

I keep meaning to put a first aid kit in my kitchen because I am often slicing and burning my appendages. The Brats look great!

Simona said...

I am sure a lot of us will be checking our First-Aid situation after reading your words of wisdom. I admire your goal. The enterprise is quite intimidating.

Debinhawaii said...

Yikes! I put a first aid kit in my kitchen when I took off the top of mu finger with a mandoline. ;-) Ouch!
Your sausage looks delicious--sorry it was such a pain to make but kudos to you for attempting it! ;-)

Elle said...

Wonderful idea making your own bratwurst and the finished dish, while not what you had been going for, looks great! Too bad about that grinder...and hope you didn't loose a finger. I do keep first aid supplies close at hand...especially bandages and burn ointment...in the kitchen. Just read that honey on a burn is even better and I always have honey handy in a squirt bottle.
Happy New Years Andreas! XO Elle