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Think Beyond the Link You donrs"t have to be an expert cook or have a fancy kitchen to make sausage at home. If you simply think beyond the link, yours"ll find a whole world of sausage possibilities. Patties, meatballs, fish balls, veg balls, meat loaf-these are all sausages without casings that are every bit as savory and satisfying as their linked cousins. And, since they do not require special equipment, they are a snap to make at home. InSausage, Victoria Wise shares more than 75 recipes for easy-to-make, no-casing-required pork, beef, lamb, poultry, seafood, and even vegetarian sausages, including innovative recipes that turn them into sophisticated meals. An inviting and wonderfully diverse collection from all around the globe, this compendium features European classics, American mainstays, Asian favorites, Middle Eastern inspirations, and sausages African in origin. You will find dishes for every meal and occasion, such as Rustic Cornmeal Pancakes Dappled with American Breakfast Sausage and Slicked with Maple Syrup; Lunch Pie, aka Quiche, with Toulouse Sausage and Spinach; Vietnamese-Style Beef Sausage and Vegetable Spring Rolls with Mint Dipping Sauce; and Merguez and Apple Tagine over Couscous with Harissa. For those who like their sausage in traditional links, Wise offers expert direction for stuffing sausage into casings. Beautifully written and photographed,Sausageis the only book of its kind. Its array of inventive sausages and sausage-centric dishes are inspiration for both the new and the well-seasoned cook. Making sausage at home has never been so easy-nor the results so delicious.
Victoria Wise, once a doctoral student in philosophy, cooked the first meal at the famed Chez Panisse Restaurant in Berkeley, California, in 1971. In 1973, she opened Pig-by-the-Tail, a charcuterie that helped define Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto as the epicenter of culinary innovation and redefine the notion of “deli” in America. Twelve years later, she sold Pig-by-the-Tail to pursue her other passions—writing, gardening, and developing fresh home cooking recipes for her books—while she raised her son. She has written for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, Williams-Sonoma Taste, and Food & Wine and has published thirteen books on cooking and gardening. Her first book, American Charcuterie: Recipes from Pig-by-the-Tail, was nominated for the James Beard Cookbook of the Year award in 1986. Victoria resides in Oakland, California.
You don’t have to stock up on exotic ingredients to use the recipes in this book. On the contrary, nearly all the ingredients are familiar and readily available. Here’s what you’ll need for making the sausages and for cooking the dishes that include them. The first part covers store-bought ingredients, and the second describes homemade ones.
Use meats, preferably organic, with a moderate amount of fat. If purchasing ground meat, it should have at least 15 percent fat and no more than 20 percent. If it has more, the texture of the sausage will be too soft. How finely or coarsely the meat is ground is also important. In general, a medium grind is what you want. Lamb routinely comes in a medium grind. Beef does, too, except for so-called chili grind, which is too large to soften into a tender sausage. Ground pork is generally more problematic. It is often excessively trimmed of fat to suit the no-fat mindset that currently prevails, and is too finely ground for making sausages with sufficient texture. Amending pork that is too finely ground with minced fat solves the problem, which is how the recipes in this book return succulence and texture to finely ground lean pork. Or, of course, you can grind your own meat. See page 153 for information on which cuts to use.
Pork Back Fat Pork back fat, also called fatback, barding fat, and in German speck, is the fat that runs along a pig’s back. It is the preferred fat for sausages, both for its flavor and because it sets up well after cooking, providing succulence without flabbiness. It is not readily available in markets. But, if you purchase pork loin or pork butt untrimmed, you can trim them and stockpile the fat in the freezer to use in place of back fat for making sausages. However, that is a considerable chore for slow gain.
Leaf Lard Leaf lard, the delicious, hard fat from around the kidneys, is also suitable for sausages, though it, too, is hard to come by. It can sometimes be special ordered, or you might check with pork purveyors at farmers’ markets, who are typically devoted to pasture raising, humanely slaughtering, and using the whole hog.
Salt Pork To substitute for back fat or leaf lard, I use salt pork, the fat from the belly with striations of meat running through it. It is not as hard as back fat, but it is almost as satisfactory for sausages. Lean pork belly is used for bacon, the meat bands being what is wanted. For sausages, it is the opposite: the fat is the prize, so choose pieces that have the most fat. There are several brands of salt pork on the market, usually sold in vacuum-wrapped blocks of about 6 ounces. Some come still crusted in salt; some come basically desalted. The former needs to be rinsed several times and then blanched in boiling water for 5 minutes to leech out the salt. The latter is ready to go, with the proviso that you must be judicious when adding salt to the recipe. That’s an easy call: cook a small sample of the sausage mixture, taste it, and continue from there. In recipes that call for salt pork, I have included a line that reminds you to test for saltiness before you add more salt.
The most facile way to mince salt pork without a meat grinder is to freeze it partially, enough so that a knife blade glides through it without mashing it. Then use a chef’s knife or food processor, first cutting it into small pieces, to chop it as finely as possible.
Oils I almost always use extra virgin olive oil. Some years ago, this seemed rather fancy and imprudent for everyday use. That was then. Nowadays, many, many extra virgin olive oils are available. They range from not so expensive to quite pricy. For cooking, I use a medium-priced extra virgin oil. Lesser grades are not worth the money you pay for the wo
Excerpted from Sausage: Recipes for Making and Cooking with Homemade Sausage by Victoria Wise All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.