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Get Stuffed June 20, 2012

Posted by Toy Lady in Cooking, Food, Homemade.
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A while ago,  I belonged to a message board that, as a running discussion, included a “What’s For Dinner” thread.

This discussion went on for years – every few days, someone would start a new thread, but it was always the same thing – a bunch of food-obsessed people describing their dinner plans.

One day, one of the participants, some guy who lived in London, I think, mentioned that he was just having pork and leek sausage.

Really?

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Sausage made of pork?  And leeks?  Got a recipe?

Sadly, no.  Apparently, pork and leek sausage isn’t something you MAKE – it’s something you pick up on the way home.

Or it is if you have a Tesco on your way home.

So of course, I did what any normal person would do – I searched the Internet for a recipe!
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After all, if it was truly worth eating, someone must have made it, right?  And even if the store-bought stuff wasn’t very good (which I doubt, given that I first heard of it on a serious food-lovers’ discussion board), well, someone out there must love it enough to recreate it in order to enjoy it at home whenever they wanted to.  I mean, just because you can easily purchase it, that’s no reason not to make it yourself, is it?

And do you know, Google had nothing!

Alas, the closest I could come to a recipe was a list of ingredients on yet ANOTHER message board – one that seems to be defunct now.

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Well, it was a place to start, anyway.

However, we did have to make adjustments – one of the ingredients was “rusk” and another was “seasoning.”

This could be a problem – I get that rusks are hard biscuit-y things – I think they’re something like zwieback.  But “seasoning, I blend my own” – when I have no idea what flavor profile we’re going for – could be a little tricky.

Let me just stop right here and say this.

If you DO know how to make Pork & Leek Sausage, or if you’ve ever had the actual real honest-to-goodness Tesco thing and I’m completely off the mark here, I don’t want to know about it.

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See, what we decided to go for was, well, a Pork and a Leek flavor profile.  And I have no idea if that’s “correct” or not, and I don’t even care.  So there.

This is some darned good sausage, and isn’t that the whole point?

So here’s what we did.

We started with a pork shoulder, and we boned and cubed it.

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Using the BIGGEST bowl we could find, we combined:

6.5 lb. cubed pork
14.75 oz. sliced fresh leeks
1/2 ounce freshly ground white pepper
1 ounce kosher salt
9 oz. seasoned croutons (see how I got around that rusk thing AND the seasoning thing?  Yeah.)
6 oz. water (next time, I think we’ll use dry white wine – either all 6 oz., of half wine and half water)

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Then we ran the mixture through the coarsest plate on the meat grinder.

Now if you’ve ever made sausage, you know that the next step is to “check for seasoning.”

What that means, basically, is to make yourself a mini-sausage patty, fry it up, and enjoy a little “slider.”  Only it’s not a slider because you’re on  a mission – you’re under pressure.  You need to make sure the entire batch of sausage is going to taste good.  This is NOT a recreational sausage patty!

Fear not, though, it was mighty good.

And so, once completely ground, we shoved the meat into the fridge for a few hours, in preparation for a second pass through the grinder.

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And, while Peeps was grinding, I rinsed the casings.

Now the idea of hog casings is kind of gross, I’ll give you that.  And the thought that they’re packed in salt and will keep nearly indefinitely is, well, we just don’t think about it.

But I will tell you this.  I grew up with “natural casings” (I guess that’s sort of a euphemism), and I’ve tried collagen casings.  The real thing really is better.

Though sausage patties are nice, too.

Well, to each his own, I guess.

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However, since Peeps received a sausage stuffer for Christmas a couple of years ago, well, we stuffed some sausage!  We kept out a bit unstuffed for risotto or soup or something, but most of it became links.

I will spare you the actual stuffing of the sausage – you take your casing and you thread it onto the feed tube, and you crank the sausage stuffer, and, well you stuff sausage.

Easy peasy.

And almost before we knew it, we had a couple of coils of actual sausage, which, though there is a bit of a learning curve there, it’s not all that hard to twist into links to fit whatever size roll you happen to prefer.

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And I’ll tell you – this is a lovely sausage – it’s mild and porky, with a sweet leek flavor – not too strong, but definitely there.

In fact, it was so good, we completely forgot to take any pictures of the finished, grilled sausage.

Twice, in fact.

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Comments

1. Kia @ A View From Here - June 20, 2012

Unfortunately the English aren’t as into their copycat recipes as you guys are. Let’s face it – most people in their 30′s wouldn’t have a clue about canning their own produce, not even pasta sauce. We’ve been taught to buy ready made everything (and I hate that).
That said Tesco Pork & Leek sausages are lovely, they are from their “Finest” range and are a higher meat content sausage than your average “cheap” sausage (oh by the way – we don’t even have sausage patties here!).
From reading your post I’d say you probably arrived at a good approximation – I say approximation because your home made, seasoned sausage was probably better..
Again seasoning is something that most English fail at – seasoning for most people is shaking some table salt on your dinner (before even tasting), maybe a little black pepper for the adventurous…
I’m not sure how coarse your leeks were but in the Tesco version there isn’t a great amount of leek and the pieces are probably around 2-3mm (at least they were last time I bought them).

Toy Lady - June 20, 2012

Aw, thanks for the encouragement, Kia! :) Someday, I’ll get over there and see for myself. . . ;)

As for the homemade stuff – you know, once you learn how to do these things, they’re very little extra work. Or rather, if they are, it’s enjoyable work, you know?

The problem, I think, is that there’s a generation of moms who were working and didn’t have (or take) time to teach their daughters these things, so now there’s a new (at least one) generation of young women who just have no idea how to do the basic things that our grandmothers and great-grandmothers did without thinking.

2. The Innkeeper's Daughter - June 20, 2012

Tucking this one away for future consideration, sounds good. Any thoughts on adding apples to this? And Kia is right about the seasoning for brits…I am sure you added a little punch for the better.

Toy Lady - June 20, 2012

Oh, I’d not hesitate to add apple – a nice tart variety, though that would definitely change the whole character of the sausage. But I LOVE LOVE LOVE pork and fruit together!

3. judy - June 21, 2012

Loved to read the stuff about stuffing! I can smell it cooking now and have my bun ready! You make it look and sound like fun for even those of us who will never do this but have the added knowledge now of HOW it all works. Thanks again.

Toy Lady - June 21, 2012

You know, Judy – we scaled it down the first time, and it was mighty good. And I’d imagine it would work well with pre-ground pork and chopped leeks. Or even maybe in a food processor (I haven’t tried that, but I’ve heard that people do for burgers).

PLUS this month’s Cook’s Illustrated has a FANTASTIC recipe for potato rolls. . . :D

4. Monday Musings: 07.16.2012 Edition « Dark Side of the Fridge - July 16, 2012

[...] We’ve got some bulk leek sausage in the freezer – it’s not stuffed into casings, and we thought it might be interesting [...]

5. Monday Musings: 08.27.2012 Edition « Dark Side of the Fridge - August 27, 2012

[...] The last (I think) of our pork and leek sausage is going on the grill this week – gosh we love that stuff!  Not sure what we’ll do [...]


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