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Brunch May Never be the Same

Brunch is our favorite meal.  I would say breakfast, but, really only one of us in this family is up early enough to actually cook a breakfast and he has yet to learn how to cook.  Well, he might be able to manage scrambled eggs, but french toast, bacon, and coffee?  Not yet.  We’ll work on that.  In the meantime, every Sunday, after we come home from church we make a nice big brunch.

We always have eggs in some form and a carb.  The carb varies from week to week depending on my mood.  Sometimes, we have pancakes or waffles, other times if we have leftover bread there will be french toast, and if I am feeling really lazy, I make toast. Occasionally, when in an ambitious mood, I will make some boiled potatoes the night before and we’ll have hash and biscuits.  The husband is in charge of the eggs and the meat, which is almost always bacon.  Until last week.

Last week, we made our own breakfast sausage.  Yes, yes, we did.

We had to make some space in the big freezer for a big order of beef from the butcher, so I dragged out a very large piece of pork that we had in there from our last order.

This unsmoked, raw ham was probably about 10 pounds, with the bone.  I had the husband cut it up into chunks (throwing the bone back in the freezer for stock later), which he added to a tray full of seasonings that I had already prepared.  In the mix was garlic, chopped sage, lots of grated ginger, and a lot of dried apples from our fall adventure.

All this went into our food grinder, which comes out probably only once every five years.  It was a bit messy and I was glad I had the foresight to wear an apron!

After about 45 minutes, it was all ground and I poured in some hard pear cider and mixed it up.  We cooked a little to make sure it tasted ok.  It was a bit salty and the flavors did not seem blended yet, but we were not worried.   Ok, maybe I was worried a little.   The mix was really lean because we had not added any extra fat.  I hoped that everything would mellow out and blend together nicely as it aged because  that was sure a LOT of work to go through to not have some awesome sausage at the end.  We had about 9 pounds of sausage when we were all done and everything got packed into freezer bags and stowed into the freezer.

Yesterday, we took out the first one and sliced it up.

Then, I pan fried them in a little oil.

It was good; a little on the salty side, but tasty.  The flavors had melded nicely with its rest in the freezer.  The ginger gives it kind of an asian flavor and the dried apples made it subtly sweet.  Because the meat was so lean, it did not have a trace of greasiness, and it was a little firmer than other sausages.  Still, for a first try at making our own sausage, we are pretty pleased with it.  Next time, I will try to add some pork belly to give it some more fat.  The husband mentioned that this would be really good in a stuffing/dressing for Thanksgiving.  I think he’s right, but I’m not sure we will have any left by then!

p.s.  I used the breakfast sausage recipe from the book Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman.   I have had this book for awhile now and this is the first thing I have made with it.   I added the dried apples and substituted pear cider for the water called for in the recipe.