I've mentioned this before, I think. I leave things to the last minute. It must be the clarity or firey nature that I know deadlines bring to me. It's why I work in news. I thrive on deadline. However, I must say, making sausages on a deadline and not the oh well, month, I had to do it. Probably not the smartest thing I've done. I will say it was fun, however.
It's the 15th of June, that means it's Charcutepalooza time. This month's challenge was to stuff sausage. I'll have to add I was skeptical here. Frankly, I find the casings disgusting. I hate touching them. I hate looking at them. Heck, there's a fabulous local market I can walk to where they make fantastic handmade sausages. Why in the name of all things good should I stuff my own?
I'll be honest. I rushed this thing. The sausage, a little more emulsified than I wanted. I chilled, I re-chilled, I'm telling you, chicken seemed a lot harder to keep from getting all sinewy than pork is. I probably should have used the pork fatback. I should have had my husband help me. I did it alone, and frankly, I'm pretty proud of it.
All these things aside.... the taste? Out of this world. Would I do it on a regular basis? No, definitely not. It makes a mess. A big, meaty, mess. However, if I were to spend a day making a huge batch and freezing a bunch, sure, I'd do that. Until then, I'm walking down the street and buying from my local market.
Spicy Garlic-Ginger Chicken Sausage
Makes: 6, 6-inch links
3 pounds boneless and skinless chicken thighs, cubed (1-inch pieces and include all fat, I'm not using fatback here)
1.5 tablespoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon chinese five spice powder
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons sriracha sauce
4 feet of hog casings, soaked in tepid water, and rinsed.
First, combine cubed chicken, salt, pepper, chinese five spice, garlic, and ginger in a large bowl (if you have a stainless steel one, use that, it'll keep a chill better). Cover with foil or plastic wrap and stick in the fridge overnight. Chill all the pieces to your grinding attachment and sausage stuffer at this point. (I'll be giving instructions here for the kitchen aid grinding and stuffing attachments).
If you don't have time to let the chicken sit overnight, stick it in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. I did this anyway. After the chicken sat in the seasoning overnight in the fridge, I put it in the freezer for a half-hour. It's much easier to grind the meat when it's nearly frozen.
While your chicken is in the freezer, set up the rest of your ingredients. Measure out the wine, vinegar, sesame oil and sriracha and place in small containers in your fridge. You want them chilled. Then, set up your station. Mrs. Wheelbarrow of Charcutepalooza fame does the best job of explaining how to do this.
Taking small portions of your chicken mixture, feed it through the grinder, making sure the meat and fat are cleanly passing through the blade and die. Once it's all ground together, place entire stand mixer bowl full of chicken into the freezer. Let's chill it again before we stuff the sausage.
According your sausage stuffer instructions, you will now stuff the sausage. The one thing I can say about this is to have an extra pair of hands around. Someone should be feeding the meat into the grinder, the other forming the sausages as they come out of the stuffer. Store in the fridge for 3-4 days, or freeze and enjoy up to a month or two.
Spicy Sausage and Bok Choy Noodles
Bok Choy/Sauce recipe from: Cooking Light
Bok choy and sauce:
1 large bok choy (about 1 1/3 pounds), cleaned, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup chopped sweet onions
1 tablespoon shredded or peeled fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup water
3/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons dry sherry
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 package instant rice noodles
6 links Spicy Garlic Ginger Sausage, grilled and sliced (you may sub any chicken sausage you'd like)
In the bottom of a large saucepan that has a steamer insert you can add later on, heat your vegetable oil up over medium-high heat. Once shimmering, add 1/4 cup onions, your ginger, and your garlic. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Put your streamer basket with bok choy in your pan.
Now combine water, chicken broth, soy sauce, sugar, crushed red pepper, and sherry. Pour over your bok choy and the steamer basket. Now, bring that mixture up to a boil, then down to a simmer. Cover and steam for 20 minutes.
While your bok choy is steaming, grill your sausage up to your preference and then slice it. Set aside and keep warm. Also during this time, prepare your rice noodles according to the package directions. Set aside as well and keep warm.
Once the bok choy is done steaming, remove the steamer basket from the pan. Add 2 teaspoons of cornstarch to the remaining sauce to thicken it up. Toss the bok choy, sausage, rice noodles, and sauce together in a large bowl. Serve immediately.