Monday, 15 June 2009

Cured Pork Sausages

NAME: _Swine Flu Sausages

1kg diced pork (around 1" (2-3cm) cubes)
packet tucino powder (See Notes)
2tbsp psyllum husk
1tsp salt
2tbsp EVOO
more olive oil for casings (See Method)
2 meters sausage casings (See Notes)
5 - 10 litres brine (See Notes)
1/2cup red wine (optional) or 1/2cup water

Take half the diced pork and sprinkle with the tucino powder. Put back in the freezer for a few hours.
Marinate the other half of the pork in half a litre of the chilled brine, put this in the freezer also.

After an hour or two, take out the brined pork, drain and put in a cooled bowl. Add the psyllum husk and mix it through, add the salt, and mince with the medium or fine disk of your mincer. Put back in the freezer for another 30 minutes. (While preparing the casings, anyway.)

Put the remaining brine back on the stove to simmer.

Soak the casings in warm water, use a funnel to fill then with water, which will also expand them. Now tip some olive oil down into the casing. This will allow it to slide easily up the filling funnel. Do this and tie the end of the casing. make a pinhole to allow initial air to escape.

My funnel fits the end of my mixer so at this point I use the coarse mince disk (8mm - 10mm holes) and put the funnel on. If you use some other stuffing method you may just want to coarsely mince the cured pork from the freezer at this stage and mix the two minces roughly together and fill the casing. At some stage here you need to knead the 1/2 cup of water or red wine into the mixture.

In my case, I mix the diced cured pork with the previously minced pork, and then mince the two together into the casing. Twist off lengths as the filling progresses, making sure the casings are not overfilled, especially the collagen casings. Once the casing is all filled, plunge in the simmering brine. You can just scald them at this stage or (my preferred method) let them simmer until gently cooked through. Collagen casings will generally burst with prolonged simmering so I prefer hog casings, as the cooked sausages taste better and store better than scalded ones.

If you've simmered them through, they can be served right away with a german or dijon mustard. Or you can fry them to add crispiness and caramelisation, or boil them later when serving. Go nicely with sliced fried potatoes, sauerkraut, and crusty farm bread.

Meat - Put it in the freezer and let it go "crunchy" with frost. Cold is good. Cold is very good. Also, makes sure there's a percentage of fat in the meat, otherwise the sausages will be very dry.

Tucino powder - a Philipino curing powder used to cure meats, find it in many Asian food stores. You can use any other curing mixture, just don't go over the recommended quantities for the amount of meat you'll be curing. Tucino gives a nice red colour to the meat which shows up in the sausage.

Sausage casings - I went to see the very nice local butcher and got a stick of collagen casings included with my order of meat, you could use hog casings if you can get them.

Brine - around 1 cup of rock salt per 5 litres of water, add anything aromatic you fancy at this stage, bring to simmer, let it cool down to room temperature again, chill the portion you're going to marinate the pork in. (I threw in a few unpeeled but squashed cloves of garlic, you don't have to do anything but the salt.)

Psyllum husk - it's a fibre that gels nicely, and takes up the moisture of the sausages which is why you need a lot of oil and pork fat in the mince

These are best eaten right out of the brine, they have a good strong pork flavour, and frying them after simmering them is good value too. Also, if you used collagen casings and simmered, they may have burst, in which case the sausages will retain their shape due to the psyllum husk fibre. They can still be served skinless, fried skinless, or warmed up skinless as well. They just look more professional with skins on... %)

You can also add things to the basic mixture, but for herbs and seasonings it's best to add them to the brine you're going to marinate the pork in and simmer it for a while, then cool it right off and strain it before using it. One thing that I find is nice is a few tablespoonfuls of finely diced bacon, including the rasher fat. Add this just before filling the casing and roughly mix it in.

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