Tying the Knot: Homemade Sausages
|Duck and Pork Sausages|
If you would have asked me 15 years ago whether or not I would consider making sausage, I would have laughed. Teetering on the edge of vegetarianism, for me sausage making was the very worst of culinary pastimes and the thought of participating in such a grizzly and violent activity was unimaginable.
It certainly didn't help matters that one afternoon, when I came home from work early, I found Mr. B in a blood spattered apron with the remains of a deer leg sticking out of the kitchen sink.
After thoroughly sanitizing the kitchen with bleach, Mr. B swore that I would never again come home to such a scene, but like the carnivore--and as it turns out--expert sausage maker that he is, he was just blowing smoke.
When you love someone, you try to overlook their slights and such was my course, but not long after the deer leg incident, I came home to an even more brutal sight--a pig's head in my refrigerator!
We were bound in matrimony, so there was nothing to do except devise a plan that would accommodate both my inability to emotionally process a kitchen scene straight out of a low budget horror flick and Mr. B's desire to pursue the sausage arts.
And so, therein was the secret to our road to a happy marriage--striking the sweet spot, or finding the harmonious balance between our ideas of acceptable kitchen activities. After all I surmised, the key to a long and happy marriage was accepting each others' faults (his) and finding a way to move on from one's indiscretions (his, again), and so, we (I) decided that on afternoons when Mr. B would take to sausage making, I would take in a matinee.
But then, as time went on and we racked up anniversary after anniversary, a funny thing happened--Mr. B grew too busy to make sausages and so he packed up his meat grinder and tucked his sausage maker into a box and shoved it into the depths of the cabinet, and I, well, I was left to stare blankly into the butcher's case at the pallid, lackluster--and thin--sausages. I didn't miss the bloody scenes or the overwhelmingly strong smell of bleach, but, secretly, I missed Mr. B's passionate and expert sausage making.
Years passed and the dust on his equipment grew formidably thick and then, a curious event occurred--I was tasked to write an article about--of all things--making sausages at home. Me. Sausage making. Then, like many a married woman, I was forced to stand before my husband and ask him to do something that for years I'd tried to get him to stop. It was, in essence, the classic tale of matrimony, but it was being played out in my own kitchen.
"So," I began, "would you consider helping me with a new article that I'm writing?" He looked at me, his eyes narrowing and I could tell that he knew I was going to ask him for help doing something that I'd already made him stop doing. "Such as..." he asked, and then, I could no longer hold back my panic and I spilled it all to him--the article--the expectations--the photographs--I needed HIM to make sausages for me. And just like that, without a single question or a bit of chiding or pointing out the irony, he nodded his head and wrote out a grocery list.
"But," he countered, "I have one stipulation..." Yes, yes, yes, I nodded vigorously; I would agree to anything. "You'll have to help me," he said.
If there was any hesitation in my voice, he didn't hear it. I merely nodded in agreement.
"You can either stuff or run the meat through the casings. Your choice. But, when we're finished, we'll work together to tie the knots. Deal?"
I nodded and then reached out to shake on it, but before I could fully extend my hand, a gesture of both agreement and truce, he reached out and swept me into his arms. He was happy, to be sure, finally, after all of these years, we'd be tying the knots together.
Mr. B's Melt in Your Mouth Duck Sausages
24 ounces of ground duck meat
8 ounces of ground pork (marbled with fat)
6 ounces of duck fat
2 tablespoons of Cognac
2 teaspoons of salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
2 tablespoons of cane sugar
1 teaspoon ground corriander
1 teaspoon of ground ginger
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon of ground star anise
1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1. Mix duck, pork, and duck fat together with the seasonings in a large bowl.
2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours to meld flavors.
3. Stuff mixture into casings.
4. Use immediately, or freeze.