Saturday, July 3, 2010

On berries and sausages

It has certainly been a while since my last blog entry. A brutal work schedule for both Gerry and I has meant not as much time to pursue one of our passions, self sufficient living. With the start of decent weather and the official entry of summer we are back at it. This weekend has been one of berries, jams, and chorizo! The Cowichan Valley is a localvore paradise providing all we could ever want in the way of food, drink, and ideas.

Local strawberries and raspberries have been successfully made into jam....but today's experiment is our chorizo sausage. Gerry got the sausage stuffer attachment from his mom for Christmas and it has taken us this long to try it out.

Chorizo is an Argentinian dried sausage full of garlic, paprika and pepper. Drying the sausage concentrates the flavours and I have to thank Jocasta Innes for the recipe for this in her book "Notes from a Country Kitchen." I inherited this book from my dad and it is my favourite cookbook--in the depths of winter when nothing is growing and all is grey.

We purchased 4 lbs of cheap pork (nice and fatty) and 2 lbs of beef, ground them up through the Kitchenaid, made a marinade of red wine, garlic, salt, paprika, peppercorns, nutmeg and cloves. Mixing all this together it sits overnight in the fridge. Next day, soak some beef casings in water, changing twice to get rid of the salt and make the casing pliable.

Filling the casings is easy with the Kitchenaid. Once filled, tie them off in approximately 2 ft sections and hang in a warm place for a week to begin drying. After the first week, move to a cool dark place and use as necessary. The longer it hangs, the more potent the spices, and the drier the sausage. Might need some liquid when cooking if it gets really dry.

This is a fabulous tasting sausage.