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Sausage Making

Sausage Making

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Published by Sharad Bhutoria

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Published by: Sharad Bhutoria on Aug 04, 2010
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02/13/2013

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The Many Sausages
M
aking your own sausage will put you in a league with somefamous people who, even if they didn't actually make theirown, contributed to sausage's sometimes inglorious past.Although Homer didn't mention anything about Helen of Troy sending out for a sausage and pepperoni pizza, he did statein the
Odyssey
that when the Greeks and Trojans weren'tfighting they often enjoyed a few plump, well-turned sausagesgrilled over the campfire.Constantine, on the other hand, banned sausage shortly afterhe inherited the Roman Empire. It seems that he was embarrassed by the orgies at which sausage was often consumed. Hispuritanical sensibilities simply wouldn't stand for it. Of course healso banned skinnydipping in the public baths so you know thathe was just no fun at all.Our own history might have been different if (so the storygoes) Captain John Smith hadn't been so adept at roasting hishomemade Polish kielbasa over an open fire. It seems thatPocahontas loved that sausage and so she convinced daddy tospare Captain John's life. And they say the way to a
man's
heart... ? Anyway, with a name like Smith it was no easy featfor kielbasa to come to the rescue.
Sausage Varieties
To the best of my knowledge no one has ever catalogued all thevarious kinds of sausage in the world. The attempt would probably be futile since some sausage is made only in a small regionand some kinds of sausage don't exist anymore. The American Indians, for instance, made several kinds of dry or cured sausagefrom meat and berries but they never bothered to write downtheir recipes. To further complicate matters every sausagemaker has his own — very often secret — recipe for a particular kind of sausage. A generic term like "salami" refers todozens of different sausages, some no more alike than night andday.It is for these reasons that there really is no such thing as
 
"Italian sausage" or "Polish sausage" or any of the other dozensof ethnic varieties sold in most supermarkets. Certain
kinds
of sausages owe allegiance to various countries or regions but"Italian sausage" may be Italian to one person but pure bolognato another.By definition (mine), sausage is a mixture of ground meat lacedwith herbs and spices. That doesn't begin to describe the virtually limitless varieties of sausage.All sausages fall into one of two groups. Fresh sausages mustbe cooked before being eaten. They must be treated like otherfresh meat — kept cold when stored. Cured sausages arepreserved with certain ingredients such as salt and/or they havebeen dried to prevent spoilage. (See chapter five for a discussionof methods of preservation.) Cured sausages can be eaten as is orwith only enough cooking to heat them through.
Fresh Sausages
Let's take a look at the various kinds of sausages we'll be making. First the fresh ones ....
 Bockwurst 
is a German-style sausage made from veal or vealand pork. It is usually flavored with onions, parsley, and cloves.
 Bratwurst 
is another German-style sausage made from pork and veal. It looks like a fat hot dog and is delicately flavored withallspice, caraway and marjoram.
Country sausage
is one of the most common kinds of sausagefound in this country. It can be made into patties or small linksand is spiced predominantly with sage.
Frankfurter,
or your plain old-fashioned hot dog, is the most widelyconsumed sausage in the world, thanks primarily to the in-dustriousness of American meat packers. Americans consumed17
billion
hot dogs in 1979. Though the commercial variety frank sometimes deserves its lowly reputation, consisting as it does of mostly water and fat, the homemade variety belongs on the samepedestal as all the other homemade sausages because it is just aswholesome and delicious.
 Liverwurst 
is, next to the hot dog, the most famous of the German-style sausages.
Vienna
sausage consists primarily of pork and beef, but vealcan be added to give it a milder flavor. Onions, mace, and cori- -ander are the predominant flavors.
Cotechino
is an Italian-style sausage that is best made fromfresh, uncured ham. Nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves combine withParmesan cheese to give it its unique flavor.
 Luganega
is a very mild Italian-style sausage. It is unique inthat it is flavored with freshly grated orange and lemon zest.

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