Keep Fit – Eat Meat Every Day

This past weekend I ventured over the Williamsburg bridge for brunch at Marlow & Sons. My friend and I shared a couple dishes that included an amazing boudin sausage—possibly my favorite part of the meal (and yes, I did have bacon). Afterwards we stopped into Marlow & Daughters to check out the butcher shop where this wonderful sausage came from. Scott Bridi, manager and charcutier (and dining partner), was kind enough to give us a tour. See all photos here.
The place was packed and meat case close to empty. Scott was busy cranking out lamb sausages. Eventually there was a lull & the meat case was replenished before the shot above was taken. I was then introduced to the various charcuterie available—smoked meats, fresh sausages, patés, terrines. There is a lot of thought and care in the preparation of these items. Wine and fresh herbs are often used “to create the balance of a well composed dish,” according to Bridi. We of course had to see for ourselves… we sampled duck rillettes, pork rillettes, a Sunset Park taco-inspired pig head terrine, and sweet sopressata. Like the boudin at brunch, I could certainly eat any of these as a meal by itself. Another wonderful thing about the prepared foods is that it gives the shop an opportunity to make use of the whole animal.
Marlow & Daughters does whole animal butchering and they source their animals very locally. Their beef is from 3 farms in upstate NY. Pork comes from EcoFriendly Foods in VA as well as farms upstate including Flying Pigs. The lamb is from Elysian Fields Farm in PA. Duck and rabbit are from a farm in New Paltz. Meat isn’t all that they get locally. Fresh veggies come from Guy Jones’ upstate farm and their beans come from Cayuga Pure Organics in Ithaca. A number of groceries are sourced even closer to home: popsicles from Brooklyn Flea regulars People’s Pops, Williamsburg’s own Mast Brothers Chocolate, and Marlow & Sons’ house-made ice cream, granola, marmalade and hazelnut butter (to name a few).
This is truly your local neighborhood butcher shop… and if it’s not exactly local to you, it’s worth it to go out of your way. These guys aren’t just chopping up meat. They can tell you what cut to use and the best way to prepare it. There is a flexibility and a trust between the staff of M&D and their customers. Talk to Scott, TJ or Andrew who can offer suggestions on easy, delicious dishes based on what’s available. Coming from the kitchens of Gramercy Tavern, craft, and Momofuku—these guys know how to fucking cook. So take advantage of that knowledge when planning your next meal. And don’t forget:
P.S.M&D will soon be selling barbecue packages… Get your grills ready! (Talking to you, Rosa.) If you can’t grill, their eponymous pork sausage will be available at Summer Stage this year.

Originally posted 2010-04-27 11:22:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Feijoada

We host a dinner party periodically which is actually just a book club to which my wife belongs. Typically those types of groups are simply drinking clubs, but this one adds food and actual books. About a week before book club, I realized my original plan of serving cassoulet had been done before. By me. Last winter. It seems as when the weather grows cold, I cook beans – large pots of beans with sausages and off cuts.

Actually I should have never been surprised. Beans and meats are fantastic and this weather has forced my hand. Only, I am not a repeater. Knowing fabada is a not-so-distant cousin to cassoulet, I figured there must be more cousins. I just needed to look.

Then I remembered a Brazilian dish, feijoada, which is very similar to cassoulet only made with black beans and features carne seca (which in its place I used beef jerky). I felt like I had struck gold until I searched for recipes. I looked in Alex Atala’s new book. Nothing. In fact, Atala’s goal is to push past the iconic feijoada and churrasca of Brazil.  I looked online. There were tons of recipes and none developed any consensus with the others, so I did what I thought was reasonable. I made an approximation of cassoulet using the building blocks of feijoada adding some ingredients which might be a tad more Brazilian.

One thing I remember being difficult about fabada was losing bits of the pork tails, bones included, in the dish. If I am the only one eating, I can work around the bones, but if I am serving others, I like to keep their teeth intact, so along with the larger pieces of jerky, I wrapped the pork tails in cheesecloth. Once they cooked long enough, I removed the cheesecloth, chopped the tails and beef jerky and added them back. Before adding them back, I thickened the liquid by mashing a cup of the cooked beans and added them back to the mix.

Next, I wanted to have some flavors from the sugar cane liquor from Brazil, Cachaça, so I cooked the onions and garlic, added them to the beans, then deglazed the pan with the liquor and spooned the aromatically fortified liquor the beans. To me, this was a fun touch.

When finished the feijoada was strongly meaty, as anticipated, and was both smokey from the tails and linguiça and prominently beefy from the jerky. The beans retained their texture and, while most photos showed the liquid strained off, I really liked the bean juice. It was thick and carried hints of sweetness from the orange and cachaça. I wish I could have found a little farofa to add as a garnish, but the bright green garnishes of cilantro and green onion would have to suffice.

There are differences between cassoulet and feijoada that I did not anticipate. First, apparently feijoada is served with rice. Second, this batch  felt lighter than most cassoulet. There are no scoops of lard here, but you still get the clean meat flavors. I like the richness of cassoulet, but I really love the way the feijoada doesn’t kill the rest of the day. Now is a good time to stock up on ideas for meat and beans and I am all ears.

Feijoada

1 1/2 pounds smoked pig tails or necks
1 1/2 pounds Linguiça
1/2 pound real beef jerky, not shrink wrapped is a good start
1 pound dried black beans
1 quart ham stock
3 bay leaves
1 serrano chili
1/2 orange
Water
2 onions, sliced
1 head garlic, minced
1 tablespoon lard
2 tablespoons Cachaça
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
6 green onion, sliced

Step one: In a glass or earthenware dish, cover black beans with water by 4″ and soak overnight. Drain.

Step two: Tie jerky and smoked pork tails in cheese cloth and add to a large stock pot with beans, ham stock and enough water to cover by 2″.

Step three: Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, and cook for 3-4 hours.

Step four: Remove bag of meat. Chop and remove bones.  Remove 1 cup of beans, mash into a paste. Add back to beans.

Step five: Sweat onions and garlic. Add to beans/meat with bay leaves. Deglaze onion/garlic pan with Cachaça and add to beans.

Step six: Add sausages, orange, serrano chilis. Simmer for an additional hour.

Step sever: Remove bay leaves, orange, and seranno chili. Salt to taste and eat in a bowl with rice (if you want, I skipped), green onions and cilantro.

Originally posted 2014-02-13 00:20:34. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Venison Summer Sausage

In round two of turning venison scrap from my father into something more edible, I made a dangerous choice – a sausage of great familiarity. Summer Sausage. It is easy to cook without context when the only question is “Does it taste good?” I guess easy is relative, because it seems easy in comparison to when you are cooking something familiar and add “Does it taste right?” to “Does it taste good?” Venison summer sausage is, when combined with Ritz crackers and cheese, the most popular pre-dinner, post-lunch food in Wisconsin. When given venison scrap, how could i have ignored the opportunity to stock the pre-dinner, post-lunch larder for the year, or more likely, the remainder of April?

I based the recipe on an earlier beef summer sausage I made. I also opted to keep the grind very coarse. This is somewhat in conflict with standard summer sausage, but I like the texture of the sausage better with a coarse grind despite liking the appearance better with the finer grind.

A finer grind gives the even and consistent red/white speckled sausage. The coarse grind gives a more irregular pattern, but keeps a more significant chew in the texture.

At every turn, I tried to keep the sausage traditional. Down to the fibrous casings. I typically prefer natural casings, but traditionally those casings are shunned for the synthetic casings.

With a short period for fermentation, there is a pleasant souring of the summer sausage. Once the casings have been soaked, stuffed, and set out to ferment, they dry overnight and then spend a little time over smoke. To maximize smoke time, I started the sausages over cold smoke. Cold smoking is not necessary, but if you take care to keep temps low in the beginning, the amount of smoke the sausages get before their temps reach 150 degrees is much higher.

After the sausages were dropped into a sink of ice and water to stop the cooking process, I chilled them. The next day, I sliced up the smaller sausage (the sausage I am keeping as a fabrication tax). The first thing I noticed was the texture was as I had hoped. There was no mushiness which can happen in the finely ground Wisconsin venison summer sausage.

The meaty and moderately gamey venison flavors were the most prevalent flavor with sweet smokiness. I smoked the sausages over chestnut hulls and corn cobs (mostly because I was cleaning out the freezer and they were there). The smoke coming from the corn cobs smelled amazing and I will save my summer cobs to smoke next fall. As I have noted in the past, I appreciate the gamier flavors of wild venison and really wanted to let those flavors come through.

The spices added subtle flavors, but these sausages were decidedly simple and I was happy for it. The contextless venison boudin from last week came with no measuring stick. A venison summer sausage comes with expectations and this sausage meets those and it is a relief more than anything.

Venison Summer Sausage

36 ounces venison, ground with large die
12 ounces pork back fat, ground with large die
1/4 cup ramp kraut juice
23 grams kosher salt
30 grams nonfat dry milk powder
20 grams dextrose
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 tablespoon chili flake
4 grams pink salt
3 grams black pepper, crushed
3 grams coriander seed, crushed
1 grams fennel seed, crushed
6 grams mustard seed, crushed

Step one: Combine all of the ingredients above in a cold mixing bowl and stir with a paddle attachment until a meatball-sized piece of meat sticks to your hand as it is suspended.

Step two: Stuff into fibrous casings which have been soaked in hot tap water for 30 minutes. Tie tightly and prick casings to remove air bubbles.

Step three: Hang in a warm room for 10-12 hours to ferment. Then store in the fridge until you smoke the sausages.

Step four: Start the sausage with cold smoke (as cold as possible) for 2 hours. Then increase heat until sausages reach 150 degrees internal temps. Shock in an ice bath.

Step five: Store in the fridge. Consume with cheese, crackers, and beer.

Originally posted 2014-04-10 23:21:42. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Lamb & Anchovy Sausage

There are perfect pairings – peas & carrots, chilis & mint, peanut butter & jelly, ham & everything – and then there is the combination of lamb and anchovy.  There is no Smuckers jar with alternating stripes of lamb and anchovy, but rest assured, there should be. The salty depth of the anchovy combined with the gaminess of the lamb work together to create an amazingly forward and deep savoriness (see lamb neck, as an example). When I was looking for a new sausage pairing, I saw a deli of salt-cured anchovies sitting next to a plate of lamb leg and it made me think “Why is there no standard lamb-anchovy sausage?”

As I was grinding the lamb, I looked down at the bowl where the anchovies were soaking and tossed the filets into the meat grinder. To add fat to the lamb leg and anchovy, I found some lamb bacon in the back of the freezer that would keep this sausage pork-free while increasing the fat content. In a pinch, bacon would work and, if back fat or pork belly are used, toss in a little more salt, but only a little. Then for balance, I added mint.

When the sausages were encased, I roasted them in the oven. The aroma from the sausages created quite a stir in our house (I did not expect the girls, ages 3 and 4, to be interested, but the 3 year old ate the gamey/funky sausage with glee). The flavors held true to the aroma as the sausages were exceedingly savory. The lamb and anchovy in tandem combine to be an absolute powerhouse. The mint adds a touch of brightness.

As I looked at my plate, the shredded carrot hash combined with the peas directly next to the lamb & anchovy sausage, it sparked the idea of food that goes so well together. Two mixed on a plate and, directly next to them, two more commingled inside a hog casing.

Lamb & Anchovy Sausage

1 pound lamb, shoulder or leg, ground
4 ounces lamb bacon, ground
4 filets from salt cured anchovies, ground
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons mint, minced
8 grams salt
Pinch of black pepper

Step one: Combine all ingredients and bind using a paddle attachment on a stand mixer, or if looking for adventure, by hand.

Step two: Stuff into sausage casings.

Step three: Roast or grill and consume

Originally posted 2013-12-19 00:05:20. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Chaurice

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The old chair. The old jeans. The old shoes.

These things are all good things. In times of transition, they may be the best things. With boxes filled with our lives stacked around a home  that will someday feel like our home, the feelings of familiar can be so much more exciting than the newness. Do not get me wrong, new is exciting and tinkering is one of my favorite things to do, but with everything around my life seeming new and unfamiliar, these broken in, and in some cases broken down, relics are my favorite.

The same has been holding true in the kitchen, or should I say in cooking. It is an important distinction for me as the kitchen is basically where I keep my stuff these days. Cooking happens in nearly every other room. I have a toaster oven in the living room, a ham hanging in the garage, 2 grills on the deck, and an impressive toy kitchen downstairs.  With all of this scatteredness, I feel compelled to eat and cook simple, familiar foods.

When I was peeling through an old magazine talking about simple pleasures of the South,  beans and rice appeared and it stuck. The act of making a simple dish slowly and being able to cook it on my lonely, functional burner was just what the doctor had ordered.

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This was not a fancy beans and rice dish with a bunch of steps and crazy ingredients. That was the opposite of what I was going for, this was simply sausage, aromatics, beans and rice. The sausage I chose was a less, maybe least, glamorous sausage from Louisiana, chaurice. Again, this was what I was looking for.

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Chaurice can be smoked, this isn’t. This is a fresh pork sausage with fresh vegetables included in the grind. It is spiced heavily with chilis – I used Calabrian pepper powder, cayenne, and smoked pimenton because I had them handy. The other ingredients were also easily found either in the box in our coat closet which serves as my pantry or in my garden. In less time than it took to find my measuring spoons, I had finished the chaurice from grinding to stuffing to twisting.

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I would regret not putting in a plug for the fresh bay leaf. I see people who have herb gardens with many different herbs, some of which are very obscure. I understand the draw. If you grow it, you can figure out how to use it. One herb that I do not see grown much is the laurel plant – the source of bay leaves. I planted one in a pot this year (so I can bring it in during the winter). The leaves are amazing. However much you like dried bay leaves, you will like the fresh version much, much more.

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After soaking sea island red peas overnight, and yes I do realize that they hail from the wrong side of the Gulf, but I do not care, I put the pressure cooker on the burner and went to work. Without the usual dance of enameled dutch oven flying from stove-top to oven to broiler, the red beans and rice ended up in our bowls.

My first small bowl had hot sauce, which was redundant, as the sausage provided enough heat without needing a supplement. The small chunks had some crispy edges, but finishing them in the pressure cooker gave them a lovely softness. There was not a whole lot to these sausages, but the kick of heat and texture combined with the porkiness infused into the bowl of beans and rice forced me to sit back and relax. And that was the whole point.

Chaurice
Adapted from The Picayune Creole Cook Book

600 grams pork shoulder, untrimmed and cut into strips
125 grams pork fat, cut into strips
1/2 large onion, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic
12 grams kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 cayenne
1/2 teaspoon smoked pimenton
2 allspice berries, freshly ground
2 sprigs fresh thyme, minced
4 sprigs parsley, minced
1 fresh bay leaf, minced

Step one: Grind pork shoulder, fat, onion and garlic through chilled grinder. Chill ground everything in fridge for 20-30 minutes.

Step two: Add remaining ingredients. Whip or mix thoroughly enough for a patty of sausage to stick to the palm of your hand when inverted.

Step three: Heat a spoonful of the sausage mixture. Taste and reason.

Step four: Stuff into casings, if desired. Otherwise, sausage can be used loose.

Originally posted 2013-06-24 23:21:11. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Chestnut and Concord Raisin Salami

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Growing up, we always had a garden and, alongside the garden, we also had an enormous mass of concord grape vines. When we were there in early October, there were pounds and pounds of concords bending the vine, so how could I resist bringing home a bunch? One of my first thoughts was making raisins with the concords, but the problem I found was the enormous number of seeds.

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After trying to manage the concord raisins by simply spitting the seeds (delicious but tedious), I took a step back and thought of what to do with these things. First, they were delicious – far more complex than regular concord grapes and sweeter than regular raisins. Second, they were dried – in my mind that would figure into how I used them. Finally, to get the seeds out, I would likely need to destroy the beauty of the raisins.

The last two thoughts took me directly to a dry cured sausage. Thoughts of classic fall flavors led to the addition of roasted chestnuts to the sausages. Chestnuts are one of those things you hear of in songs, but rarely in non-song life. Once you taste a good batch of chestnuts, you understand how they have taken such lofty song status. I find them to be a great pair with Midwestern, sweet fall grapes.

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With that thought, into the oven went the chestnuts. After peeling the roasted chestnuts, they were chopped and cooled. Once the chestnuts were cooled, they were added with the seeded concord grape raisins to ground pork along with baking spices. After binding the pork, raisins and chestnuts, I stuffed them into hog casings.

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For a day, the sausages waiting at room temp to ferment and then they went into the smoker. Given the add-ins discussed above, two obvious fuels for smoking were chestnut hulls and dried concord vines. After a few hours of cold smoke, these were hung up for a few weeks until they lost 30% of the hanging weight.

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The raisiny sweetness and the smoke are the most prominent flavors of this sausage. Initially I was worried about the chestnuts going rancid during the curing process (I was reassured by Travis Grimes and Rob Levitt), but they held up well. They feature less prominently flavor-wise, but their mellow sweetness comes through in the finish.

Chestnut and Concord Raisin Salami

1 1/2 pounds ground pork
1/4 cup concord grape raisins, seeded
9 chestnuts, roasted and chopped
14 grams salt
5 grams dextrose
3 grams curing salt #2
2 grams granulated garlic
2 allspice berries
2 coriander seeds
2 cloves
2 fennel seeds
A few rasps of nutmeg
1 tablespoon ramp kraut juice (to start fermentation)

Step one: Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix to bind.

Step two: Stuff into hog casings, making sure no air remains in casings.

Step three: Leave at room temp to ferment for 24 hours the cold smoke for 24 hours.

Step four: Hang at 55-60 degrees to dry for 3-4 weeks until 30% weight is lost through evaporation.

Originally posted 2013-11-05 00:39:19. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Duck and Black Trumpet Salumi

Duck is delicious. It has a rich and complex flavor. However, I have made duck sausages multiple times and never once liked them. Every time, the classic flavors I paired with them taste too sweet – maybe they are classics because their sweetness balance the richness of the duck, but either way, they are not suitable as sausage flavors. When I happened upon a stewing duck at a farmer’s market, I grabbed it and stuffed in the freezer.

Here’s the thing. I don’t like stewed duck. However, the sound of how these ducks were raised, running free and eating bugs and what not, so I could not pass it up. After a month, I thawed the bird and de-boned it and went to making a sausage that does not repulse me. Working hard to fill the complements with savoriness, I grabbed a bag of dried black trumpet mushrooms. Then I grabbed a handful of szechuan peppercorns, some lard, a few spoonfuls of shoyu and a bunch of the duck skin. With what I grabbed, I understood this was feeling a bit more like a dried sausage.

After grinding, binding, stuffing and fermenting, I dried the sausages over a cool few weeks this fall and pulled them after they lost 30% of their hanging weight. The fermenting period brought out the deep red of the duck and hanging to dry did nothing to dull it. The dried black trumpet mushroom had softened but provided a nice color contrast to the deep red.

The flavor was funkier than I expected, but definitely not sweet. The deep, savory flavors in the mushrooms along with the funkiness of the slightly fermented duck were the most forward flavors with the distinctive szechuan peppercorn flavor strong in the finish. There was no mouth numbing qualities typically associated with szechuan peppercorns (not knowing the science, the aging process may cause a tingly depreciation). The best part is I broke through a couple massive failures and made a duck sausage I like.

Duck and Black Trumpet Salumi

365 g duck flesh
50 g duck skin
40 g lardo (bacon or back fat will do)
10 g salt
10 g shoyu
5 g dried black trumpet mushrooms, crushed
3 g szechuan peppercorns, ground
1 clove garlic, grated
1 g Bactoferm
1/4 c Water

Step one: Put duck flesh and fat along with bacon in freezer for an hour and then grind using a fine grind die.

Step two: Add salt, shoyu, crushed dried mushrooms, peppercorns and garlic. Whip with a paddle attachment.

Step three: Dissolve bactoferm in water and add to mixture. Continue to whip with paddle attachment until bound.

Step four: Stuff into casings, poke with needle to eliminate air pockets and leave at 75-80 degrees F to ferment overnight.

Step five: Weigh and hang to dry until 30% of hang weight is lost.