It is possible I’ve lost my mind. For Christmas, I asked for a Kitchen Aid food grinder attachment for my mixer. You see, I have this irrational fear of ground meat from the store. I don’t care if it’s organic, irradiated, soaked in bleach or blessed by monks. If I can’t see the facility where it was ground and swab the equipment for bacteria, I am not going to eat it. Okay. I do buy ground meat from time to time, but I am wracked with guilt over it.
My Christmas wish came true!
I have used the grinder three times. The first time, I ground chicken for Steamed Chinese Buns. the second time I made turkey burgers. Boy were they good! Virtually no fat at all, yet still moist and delicious. I added low sodium soy sauce, ginger and scallions. Very tasty.
Today I upped my game and went big. I made sausage. With the help of Julia Childs “The Way to Cook,” I was able to find a simple primer on preparing sausage. It was quite easy!
2 1/2 lbs fresh meat of your choice, trimmed of grizzle only and cut into 1 inch strips
1 TBSP sea salt
1 tsp ground fennel seed
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 tsp Herb de Provence ( a combination of Thyme, Basil, Fennel and Lavender)
1/2 tsp salt
I decided to use my mortar and pestle to combine the herbs. I never get to use it and I thought it would be nice to really crush the herbs to get some of the oils out. I have to admit that was fun!
Next, I ground the meat. Follow the instructions on the grinder. It’s very easy and will take about 5 minutes from assembly of the grinder to disassembly after the meat is ground. I am very lucky to have an extra Kitchen Aid bowl. I ground the meat right into it and then put it on the mixer and added the spices.
Mix everything well. Obviously you can’t taste the raw meat. If you need to taste it to see about the spices, most sausage making pros recommend that you saute a bit and taste it. I used the eyeball approach. Once it was mixed, I didn’t see a lot of spices throughout so I added some more. I didn’t add the same amount as in the original mix. It was about half of that.
It’s recommended that you refrigerate the meat for a day before you cook it so that all the flavors can really soak in. I can tell you that it smells fantastic!
What comes next? I have about 2 1/2 lbs of sausage. I will use some in Lentil Soup. I also have a recipe from a friend in Montana for an Italian soup with white beans and pasta, and I will use some in Spinach and Sausage soup.
The Lentil Soup is posted. Consider the others teasers. I want you to come back for more.
Incidentally, when I was a child, we had a hand crank meat grinder that I remember using only to make chopped liver. It clamped to the table. I can remember the smells of the onions as they went through the grinder. There were no lovely sweet onions available then so I would grind away while tears ran down my face. Occasionally, I would put on swimming goggles to try to stop the pain. Good times.
The sky is the limit with this. You can add veggies and cheese and other spices. Please tell me what you try!