Friday, December 9, 2011

Fresh Wine Sausage and Potato Salad

Traditional Czech Christmas and Easter Meal

Fresh wine sausage actually falls into two categories on my blog: Charcutepalooza and Christmas. Traditionally, this sausage was served before or after Christmas or Easter and was always accompanied by potato salad and mustard and sometimes with freshly grated horseradish. It is a fairly light sausage, as far as sausages go, and is pleasantly tangy with lemon peel and white wine. In some regions of Northern Bohemia it was made with a mix of pork and veal while in other regions pork was the only meat used. I made lean version using 2 parts veal and 1 part pork. As is the case with any fresh or cured sausage one tool that really makes it easy, and I do consider it indispensable, is stand mixer with paddle. Of course, you can use bowl and stiff wooden spoon like our grand-parents, but it is a lot of work to beat the meat and spice mixture into a sticky forcemeat while adding wine at the same time. Even though I have not tried it since I have 8 quart Blakeslee stand mixer, I guess that you could use a food processor fitted with a dough blade to do the mixing. The wine has to be completely absorbed by the meat. Since I got my new vertical sausage stuffer I am definitely on a sausage kick but this sausage, just like any fresh sausage, can be formed into patties or short round sausages, dredged in flour and cooked in a frying pan or baked/roasted in the oven. For such a delicious sausage there are very few ingredients. One ingredient that has to be measured carefully is salt. Always weigh the salt, do not go by table spoon or tea spoon measurements, not all kosher salts (and always use kosher salt) are created equal. I did some tests and one cup of one brand differed from another brand by as much as 30% in weight, and that is a lot of difference! Generally, for sausages the ratio of meat to salt is 10 grams of salt for every 450 grams (1 pound) of meat. Another ingredient that is absolutely critical in this sausage is lemon zest. It is better to use rather more than less, after all it is the lemon zest that gives this sausage such a refreshing taste. One more thing. I never buy ground meat, ever. I have to know what is in my meat and when you buy store bought ground meat it is anybody’s guess as to what kind of crap is in it. Just check number of recalls of ground meat products due to e-coli contamination and other problems. To me it is worth the extra effort to grind my own meat. 

1 lb. veal shoulder
1/2 pork but
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
15 grams Kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground white pepper
Lemon zest from 1 lemon
White wine, about 1/2 cup
Sheep casings and skewers (if used)
Flour for coating
Oil for shallow frying

 Remove all sinew from veal and pork. Mix salt, pepper, nutmeg and lemon zest in small bowl. Cut the meat into 1” cubes and rub the spice mixture into the meat. Place in re-sealable bag, flatten the bag while removing as much air as possible and refrigerate overnight.
Next day place the bag with meat in the freezer for half an hour or until the meat starts to get hard. When thin crust develops on the surface of the meat, grind it using die plate with 1/4” or 3/8” holes. Place the ground meat in stand mixer bowl fitted with paddle or food processor with steel dough blade (I think that plastic dough blade would brake), turn the machine on and start adding the chilled wine. Stop when grind starts to look sticky and develops little shine. Meat is now ready for stuffing into sheep casings forming coils that will fit frying pan or formed into patties or sausages. Place bamboo skewer from one end of the sausage coil, through the centre where the other end is and out opposite side. The skewer will hold the coil together and makes it much easier to handle. To cook the sausage, preheat frying pan with about 1/4” of vegetable oil, coat or dust the sausage or patties with flour to give it nice crust and fry till it is golden brown, 3–5 minutes. Turn sausage over and cook another 3-5 minutes. Serve with mustard and Potato Salad.

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