Umami Recipes
Umami Recipes

First Attempt

NORTHERN THAI-STYLE HERBAL SAUSAGE

MAKES ABOUT 2 POUNDS OF

servings

-

total time

Ingredients

PASTE

2 ounces unpeeled garlic cloves

11/2 ounces unpeeled Asian shallots

1 (1-ounce) piece peeled fresh or frozen (not defrosted) galangal, cut against the grain into 1/4-inch-thick slices

1 (14-gram) piece peeled fresh or frozen (not defrosted) yellow turmeric root, cut against the grain into 1/4-inch-thick slices

14 grams stemmed dried Mexican puya chiles (about 8), slit open and seeded

11/3 ounces thinly sliced lemongrass (tender parts only), from about 6 large stalks

18 grams cilantro roots, thinly sliced

2 grams finely grated zest from fresh or defrosted frozen kaffir lime

SAUSAGE

1 pound boneless pork shoulder, cut into approximately 11/2-inch chunks

1 pound skinless pork belly, cut into approximately 11/2-inch chunks

1/2 cup very coarsely chopped cilantro (thin stems and leaves), lightly packed

1/4 cup Thai fish sauce

1 generous tablespoon very thinly sliced fresh or frozen kaffir lime leaves (stems removed if thick)

11/2 teaspoons mild Indian curry powder

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

About 6 feet natural sausage casings, about 1 inch in diameter (available at good butcher shops), defrosted in water if frozen or soaked for 5 minutes if salted

Directions

MAKE THE PASTE

Prepare gil, preferably charcoal, or grill pan to cook over medium heat (see page 124). Skewer the garlic and shallots separately (if you're grilling). Cook the gati, sallots, galangal, and turmeric, turning them over once or twice, until the galangal and turmeric are cooked through and look dry on both sides (don't let them char or brown), about 5 minutes, and until the gali and shallots' skin is charred in spots, and they are bly of but still hold their shape, 15 to 20 minutes.

Transfer the grilled items to a plate as they're finished and let them cool to room temperature. Roughly chop the galangal and turmeric and peel the garlic and shallots.

Firmly pound the dried chiles in the mortar, scraping the mortar and stirring the mixture once or twice, until you have a fairly fine powder, about 5 minutes.

One by one, pound in the lemongrass, then the cilantro roots, then the galangal and turmeric, then the garlic, and then the shallots to a fairly smooth, slightly fibrous paste, fully pounding each ingredient before moving on to the next, 2 to 3 minutes per ingredient. Finally, pound in the kaffir lime zest until it's well incorporated, about 30 seconds.

You'll have a generous ½ cup of paste. You can use it right away, or store the paste in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

MAKE THE SAUSAGE MIXTURE

Put the pork shoulder, belly, and the meat grinder (or meat grinder attachment) in the freezer just until the edges of the meat are frozen. Grind the meat once through a grinder plate with ½/2-inch holes and add it to a large mixing bowl.

Add all of the seasoning paste, cilantro, fish sauce, kaffir lime leaf, curry powder, and black pepper to the bowl and mix gently but well with your hands for no more than a minute or so. Overworking the mixture will give the sausage too dense a texture. (At this point, you'll want to fry up a generous teaspoon of the mixture and taste it to check the seasoning. Once the mixture is in the casing, you won't be able to adjust the seasoning. If you'd like, mix in some toasted-chile powder, page 270, or fish sauce to adjust the seasoning.)

MAKE THE SAUSAGE

Rinse the casings well under running water, then rinse the insides by putting one end around the mouth of a faucet and letting the water run through for a few minutes. This will also show you whether the casing is

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broken. Find an unbroken length of about 4½/2 feet for your sausage. Discard the broken parts. That's why you bought so many feet of casings.

If you have a sausage maker, good for you. If not, you can stuff the casings with the help of a "sausage-stuffer" funnel or regular funnel. First, tie a tight knot at one end of the casing and gather as much of the casing as you can onto the funnel. Insert the narrow end of the funnel into the open end of the casing. Push the meat a few tablespoons at a time through the funnel and into the casing. Whenever you have a good 6 inches or so of meat in the casing, stop for a moment, hold the open end of the casing with one hand and use the other hand to gently but firmly force the meat toward the knotted end. Your first time will take a while, though the process will get easier as you go.

When you've used all of the meat mixture, use a toothpick or bamboo skewer to prick the casings near any air bubbles you spot. Then slowly run one hand along the sausage from opening end to knotted end, to ensure the meat is as evenly distributed as possible and to eliminate any remaining pockets of air. Lay the sausage on a large plate in one big coil and use the knife tip to prick the casing every inch or so on the top of the coil so the sausage won't burst when you grill it.

Let the sausage sit in the fridge for at least a few hours or as long as overnight. At this point, you can freeze some or all of the sausage for up to 3 months.

Fully defrost it in the fridge before proceeding.

STEAM, THEN GRILL THE SAUSAGE

Pour about 3 inches of water into a wide aluminum Chinese steamer it should be wide enough to fit the plate with a few inches to spare), insert the steamer layer, cover, and bring the water to a boil over high heat.

Add the sausage directly to the steamer basket, cover the steamer, and cook just until the sausage is firm and springy to the touch, though still not fully cooked in the center, 6 to 10 minutes.

Prepare a grill, preferably charcoal, to cook over medium heat (see page 124). Or preheat a very large grill pan or griddle over medium heat. Cook, carefully turning the coil over once, until both sides are light brown with dark brown patches and the sausage is cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. The sausage won't be bursting with juice like a European sausage.

Let the sausage cool until it's just warm (call it "Thai room temperature"), then cut it into approximately

12-inch-thick slices and serve

MAKES ABOUT 2 POUNDS OF

servings

-

total time
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