I’ve been looking for a good recipe for chicken sausage and back in October, I made one that was devised by a friend and was flavoured with thyme, lemon and garlic having been inspired by Chef Thomas Keller’s famous recipe for chicken brine. I was so confident that it would be great that I even posted a ‘coming soon’ photo. After all, what’s not to like? They’re a classic combination. Well, somewhat embarrassingly, the family didn’t like it. I’m sure others will though and the recipe’s here for people who want to try it… …and I encourage you to do so.
But, for me, it was back to the drawing board. I had a play around with a couple of mixes using herbs and finally settled on making a chicken sausage with spring onion/scallion. I’ve been busy with other things so it’s taken until now to get the recipe to a stage where I feel it’s fit to share.
The recipe uses chicken thighs. In the early trials, I cooked the skin from the thighs until crisp and ground this with the meat. It was good and I’ll no doubt incorporate it in a sausage in the future but this time I’ve settled on a recipe that uses only the thigh meat and the fat that’s attached to it. This has the advantage of allowing me to use boneless skinless thighs which saves a lot of work.
*Reduce 225 gm homemade chicken stock to 90 gm by boiling it. At a push, use commercial stock making allowance for its salt content or water. Whichever you choose, ensure that it is cold.
Cut the chicken into pieces suitable for your mincer/grinder and weigh out the other ingredients. Mix the salt and spices together.
Mince/grind the chicken. I did this with a Kenwood chef mixer using the mincer attachment. I used the plate with 4.5mm holes. Had I used my larger mincer I would have made a coarser mix using a #6 plate.
Put the spices on top of the meat, then the rusk. Pour over the stock and mix it all well for a few minutes. You can use a food mixer (not a processor) like the Kenwood to do this if you want.
When it starts to get sticky add the spring onion (scallion) and mix it in.
Fill it into presoaked 24/26 sheep’s casings; it will take approx 3.4m of casing per kilogram of sausage. Link and put them into the fridge overnight to bloom.
Forgive the long title; I was going to title this ‘Fennel Lonzino’ and had actually typed that when I thought that it’s a bit of a liberty to do so when I’ve not got a clue as to whether the Italians use fennel in their lonzino.
I’d got in mind to make a more classic product with the simple flavours of pepper and garlic, which I understand to be a traditional lonzino. However, given that this is a piece of industrially produced meat and is likely to have less flavour than the meat I would usually use, I decided to go with the stronger flavour of fennel.
This cure calculator can be used for measured dry cures or equilibrium brine (wet) cures.
It is designed for the experienced curer – those who will know to adjust the meat weight for any bone. Those who realise that meat takes a very long time to reach equilibrium in an eq brine.
They will also be aware of curing safely and using a sufficiently strong brine to protect the meat whilst it is curing when using a brine cure.
The input to the form is in grams rather than lb and oz. This is for purely practical purposes; for example, 2.5% of 1000gm is far easier to calculate than 2.5% of 2lbs2oz. It also uses weight for all measurements; this is because the volumes of solids are variable.
I prefer to use a rough puff pastry rather than a shortcrust or shop-bought puff pastry but these could also be used. I make the pastry using this quick rough puff pastry recipe.
I’ve dropped a clanger by not taking a photo of the sheet of pastry after it’s rolled out but I roll it to approx 250mm (10″) by 400mm (16 “). Square the edge off that’s nearest you. I will make 2 long rolls from this that I’ll then divide each into 4 individual sausage rolls.
For approximately 100gm rolls use 170gm of sausage meat and roll pieces to form a long sausage to lay along the nearest edge. Then, lifting the pastry, roll it to just encase the meat. At this stage dampen the next inch or so of pastry with water (I think that water is better than egg wash for this) and roll the meat/pastry roll onto this. The roll can be cut away from the sheet at this stage.
I love a sausage roll but blimey, you kiss a few frogs before you find a prince! Too many are absolutely dire; the sausage meat is like meat paste and what is it with that pastry that’s neither short nor puff and is similar in texture to cardboard? I guess people tolerate it because they’re relatively cheap and they’re convenient.
As sausagemeat can be made without any fancy equipment they’re a great project for making at home. I would normally mince the pork myself to make these but to illustrate my point I’m using bought pork mince for these. You could get this from your butcher, or as in this case, the local supermarket. If it’s from your butcher ask for 80/20 visible lean. From the supermarket, buy the 20% fat pork mince, not the 5% fat one.
I assembled what I needed for the sausagemeat, most of the spices in the spice dabba won’t be used on this occasion but they do add a bit of colour to the photo!
The ingredients for each kilogram of pork mince are:
280gm Water 180gm Rusk 22gm Cornflour 18gm Salt 4gm Ground white pepper 2gm Ground black pepper 1.5gm Ground nutmeg 1.5gm Ground ginger 1.5gm Ground coriander 0.5gm Ground mace 3gm Rubbed sage
To make things easier, there is a calculator at the end of this post.
We have a small garden and grow tomatoes every summer. They taste so much better than shop-bought. We’ve got a few too many at the moment and as we’re out of bread it made sense to try and kill two birds with one stone. I was thinking along the lines of focaccia but then thought I’d have a play.
Mum and Dad celebrated their Diamond (60th) Wedding Anniversary in 2014. As well as sending them to a local restaurant for a meal, we decided to have an afternoon tea.
For me, afternoon tea is lots of small patisserie and cake items; oh, and some token sandwiches beforehand. I’m not one for scones and cream as part of ‘afternoon tea’; they’re for other occasions when they can be enjoyed on their own. Now, we’re not ‘The Savoy’, or even ‘The Great British Bake Off’, so I choose just a small selection of simple things: individual lemon meringue pies, fruit tarts, and meringues, along with cupcakes made by my daughter Hannah. The meringue uses up the egg whites left after the yolks have been used for the pastry and lemon meringue filling. Savouries were cucumber, egg, ham, and cheese sandwiches, some even had the crusts cut off!
‘Ere, how come when it’s lemon meringue it’s a pie, but when it’s fruit, it’s a tart?
Never mind, what I do know is that with pies or tarts, it’s all about the pastry – it needs to be strong enough not to fall apart but melt-in-the-mouth when you eat it. My method may not be the proper way but it works and results in a pastry case that’s more like shortbread than pastry.