June Charcutepalooza Challenge: Stuffing

This month, the Charcutepalooza challenge was to case sausage. Poultry sausage, to be precise.

Now all you dear readers know I love me some duck, so I figured what better bird to bind than that. Duck sausage, ground with pork fat and cased in flavor. I like the sound of that.

Duck Sausage

 

These duck sausages are very special indeed, prepared with love from the Pacific Northwest. And this is a special day, since yesterday I foraged my first morel mushroom! With the excitement of mushroom hunting still fresh in our minds, we utilized some beautiful Chanterelle mushrooms that were stashed in the freezer from the fall (thanks to my partner in crime). The addition of carmelized onions sauteed in Chantrelle butter and fresh Douglas Fir pine needles makes this a duck sausage a thing of beauty.

The meat was ground last night, the mushroom, onion and herb mix rough chopped and folded into the meat mixture. It’s been sitting overnight for the flavors to meld, and tonight, on the 15th of the month (surprise, surprise), we case the sausage, juuust in time for the June deadline.

I can’t wait to try these. Some of my favorite ingredients, made with my favorite man, these sausages truly embody the flavors and energy of the Pacific Northwest.

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The May Charcutepalooza Challenge- Grinding

Merguez or chorizo, merguez or chorizo…hmmm. How ’bout both?

This month, for the May Charcutepalooza challenge, we grind. The wonderful, balanced combination of meat and fat. Merguez, a North African inspired yet French influenced lamb sausage rich with red wine and roasted red peppers. Chorizo, of the Mexican variety and not Spanish, smoky and flavorful with Ancho chiles. With two wonderful things to choose from, we ended up making both. The Merguez was frozen (not before we sampled a bit- wonderful!) and will be cased later.

With the chorizo, we made simple tacos topped with an avocado-tomatillo salsa and home made 7 month old cheddar. A squeeze of lime, the pop of cilantro, these tacos were proof that great food doesn’t have to be complicated. A simple meal of hand made ingredients shared with friends is a great thing.

Hot Smoking: The April Charcutepalooza Challenge

This month, the Charcutepalooza challenge was hot smoking. A neurotic overachiever through and through, I opted to make the Tasso ham, and to also case and smoke Andouille sausage. 10 pounds of pork shoulder and seasoning, several bottles of wine, many long nights of cooking after 8 hour shifts in a kitchen, a lover as dedicated to food as me, and the sweet, spicy, smoky results are amazing. We smoked them both with hickory chips in a small Weber grill. The Tasso is a bit more cooked than we had hoped, but it still tastes great. The Andouille turned out damn near perfect. I give you Tasso Ham and Andouille sausage, our very own Southern-style goodness in the Pacific Northwest.

Duck, duck…duck!

As a child in grade school, I sat on the playground in circles with folks my own young age and waited, with eager anticipation, to be the chosen one. One after the next, they called it out. Duck! Duck! Duck! Duck!

Even at this fare early age when we wanted so badly to fit in, we each secretly wanted to be the unique “Goose!”, to be the one who was picked out of the circle, called something special. I even have some midwest friends of mine that insist that as children they played “duck- duck- grey duck” and not “duck- duck- goose”. I know, I think it’s weird as well. Yet the principle remains the same.

However, all games aside, this dinner set a new precedent. Exit childhood whimsy, of running in circles. No playground fancy could prepare one for the DUCK WELLINGTON.

An overindulgent feast of fowl, the duck wellington is a true thing of beauty. Layers of duck liver terrine, duck confit, and seared duck breast wrapped in puff pastry. Hours to make, minutes to enjoy sopped in sweet satiation. Step aside, geese and grey ducks. This game is for serious contenders only. I am pretty sure I’d chase someone in circles for more.

Duck Wellington