Braai (South African word for barbecue) season has officially begun in the UK. Brave souls across the land stoically perform their task of incinerating meat through the summer rain, hail and chilly winds.
Learning to make sausage has coincided nicely with the advent of braai season but now that I’ve started making my own sausage I have become quite protective of it and won’t allow anyone else near it. I don’t want my hours of toil and labour to be ruined because of fiery flare ups on the grill or plain old neglect.
I have been to more than one braai where the sausage is on one side a carbonised carapace whilst the other is still raw. Worst of all is that most people simply laugh it off as de rigueur. Burned bangers are the definitive British barbecue.
Since last month’s grinding challenge for Charcutepalooza I have dived head first into the world of sausage making. I’ve made mini British pork bangers,
the Chorizo from last month’s challenge
And for this month’s challenge I decided to make chicken sausage by adapting a recipe for croquettes from Claudia Roden’s Book of Jewish food. It originates from the community of Baghdadi Jews who settled in Burma in the mid 19thC but subsequently fled to India after the Japanese occupation. Now that’s what I call a melting pot of culture!
Given that the meat for the croquettes is ground I decided to take it one step further and case them. Using a recipe from Ruhlman and Polcyn’s Charcuterie as a guide I made the necessary adjustments for making sausage, leaving out the flour and egg in the original recipe and replacing it with pork back fat. I was winging it a little but they turned out well.
I also added lemongrass and garlic, but think the sausage would be better without the garlic so next time around I would make a few changes. (This recipe I’m giving includes those adjustments, but I haven’t had time to re-test it as I am on holiday, so I’m adding a disclaimer until I do)!
I encountered some problems with overstuffing and the sausages burst when I cooked them. I think this is because the sausage meat with chicken is much softer than pork. I also had problems with the links – they kept unwinding. These things need to be remembered for next time but I suppose that’s why making sausage is an art.
Although I don’t consider myself squeamish, I still find dealing with intestines a little bit gross.
My friend Andy dubbed this the ‘Horror Nozzle’ after I made him spool the casings the first time we made sausages.
These herbs go into the mix
along with the coriander that I almost forgot to add in
and then bashed into submission with mortar and pestle
The chicken is marinated in the herbs
and then ground into rather unsavoury looking green mincemeat
After stuffing I poached the sausages.
and then grilled them until nicely caramelised.
Burmese-Baghdadi-Indian-Jewish chicken sausage by an Anglo-African with guidance from a couple of Americans
6-8 spring onions, finely chopped
2 stalks of fresh lemongrass chopped/bashed up
2 or 3 fresh green chillies seeded and finely chopped
6 tablespoons (36g) coriander leaves chopped
12cm piece of fresh ginger peeled and grated
3g black pepper
120ml chilled rice wine vinegar
1500g chicken cut into cubes
675g pork back fat (or chicken fat)
3 meters hog casings rinsed clean and soaked in warm water for 30 minutes
Bash or blend the spring onions, chillies, coriander, ginger, pepper and salt to a paste with a mortar and pestle or blender.
Marinate the chicken and fat in this mixture for a couple of hours, then put in the freezer until half frozen. Mix it a couple of times so that it freezes evenly (the outside freezes first).
When ready grind the mixture through a small die, making sure to keep everything very cold.
After grinding use a standing mixer or spoon and blend the sausage for a minute (the primary bind). Then add the rice wine and mix for another minute or so until it is more paste-like and the texture is uniform.
Fry a small patty of sausage as a taste-test and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Stuff the sausage into the casings and twist into links 12-15cm long.
Cook the sausages by gently grilling them on a low heat until cooked through. I poached them first (for about 12 minutes) to cook them and finished them off on the grill.