The past few Charcutepalooza challenges paralyzed me with fear and inaction, but the last one was the worst. I’m somewhat ideologically opposed to poultry sausage. There is a time and a place for chicken&mdash sausage should consist of moist and succulent pork. I hesitantly settled on Michael Ruhlman’s recipe for Chicken Sausage with Tomatoes and Basil. I had plenty of tomatoes and basil growing in my garden, so I didn’t need to run out and buy tons of special ingredients.
Charcutepalooza posts started appearing before I even started. Pictures of beautiful homemade sausages made with Kitchen Aid stuffer attachments intimidated me. I don’t own a Kitchen Aid, so I scoured the internet for sausage-making directions using a funnel. I dreaded facing the hog intestines and imagined them bursting under pressure and the gooey meat mixture spraying everywhere. Full of dread, I lounged on the couch for a few hours, checking stuff on the internet and attempting to psyche myself up.
Without directions, I decided to wing it. I rolled the casings on the funnel, plopped a handful of the meat mixture inside, and started passing it through into the casing. This isn’t an activity for people who are afraid to touch meat. Sometimes I had to get my hands in there and shove it through the funnel with my fingers. Air pockets also inevitably formed, but I tried to minimize them. Eventually I started to see a sausage forming!
But I discovered that casings are incredibly flexible and strong. I handled them delicately at first, and then I got more comfortable and started roughly tugging this way and that. They didn’t burst once. You’d think intestines would be an unusable part of the hog, but they make for a delicious treat when stuffed with some ground meat. It’s as if mother nature is urging us to make sausages.
So two or three hours after I started grinding the meat, I had ten beautiful sausages. I grilled some right away and froze the rest. The grilled sausages had a satisfying texture, flavor, and snap. I also added some to a fresh summer tomato sauce and served it over pasta. Ruhlman just might have converted me to poultry sausages.