Who chooses to spend a heat wave hovering over the stove and oven? We do. With the bounty of summer, it’s been hard not to despite the heat. We’ve been testing out all sorts of goodies straight from the garden and our lovely farmer friends. So it has been hot, but it’s also been delicious.
We are downright giddy, as our California farmers have been bringing in more heirloom and wild varieties off their land. When food comes to us this fresh we do very little to it: a few herbs, a little sea salt, definitely some spice and then get out of the way.
Don’t worry we’ve managed to keep cool between cooking sessions with a micro batch soda or fermented beverage. In fact, on some days our Test Kitchen can be more accurately referred to as a Test Soda Jerk with bottles of cream soda, chili watermelon, mulberry and classic grape floating around to taste. But with all the experimenting, we haven’t had a minute to spare and share what we’ve been up to in quite a while.
If we can be forgiven for our absence, I propose we make up over spicy chorizo. I’ve always believed that there is no shorter link between friends than a good sausage.
This is a spicy chorizo. Makes 12-14 links approximately 5 inches long.
What you need:
4 lbs pork butt
10-15 whole dried chili peppers
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup water
3 garlic cloves, minced
1.5 Tbs sea salt
4 Tbs paprika
1 Tbs Cayenne
What you need to do:
Prepare your spice mixture. Start with the dried whole chile peppers. Split lengthwise and remove the seeds. (Avoid touching your eyes!) Bring 1 cup water to a boil, add the whole seeded peppers and allow to soak off the heat for 2-3 hours. Place peppers, along with remaining spices into a food processor. Puree and set aside to cool.
While you make sausage, you need to keep meat as cold as possible to get the best texture and prevent foodborne illness. This can easily be accomplished by popping you pork butt into the freezer for 30-60 mins before you cube and grind it. Prepare your pork butt by chopping into 1/2 inch cubes. If pork warms up during this process, pop back in the freezer. Alternatively, you can also place the bowl with your cubed meat and the bowl that will contain the ground meat in shallow baking pans and fill with an ice bath. This will ensure the meat stays cold for the entire grind. Prepare your grinder, whether hand or attachment, set to a coarse grind and steadily load meat into the grinder.
Combine cooled spice puree with ground pork. Mix throughly with a wooden spoon, cover with a dish towel and place in fridge for 1 hour to allow flavor to deepen. At this point you can grab a handful and make a spice pork patty if you like or you can proceed to linking your sausages.
To link sausage, return to your grinder to stuff your sausage. Prepare hog casing and stuffer by placing a little olive oil on the spout before scrunching hog casing on. Tie a knot at the end of the scrunched hog casing and slowly feed ground meat mixture into the sausage stuffer holding hog casing as it fills. This is the slowest part of making sausage, casings should be allowed to fill slowly so sausage width is even.
Once all meat is through the stuffer, tie off the end of the hog casing. Twist stuffed hog casings every few inches to form links. Use butchers twine to reenforce the links with a series of slip knots . The easiest way to do this is to load a chop stick with butchers twine, the chopstick serves as “needle” for your twine. Twirl a good amount of butchers twine onto the end of a chopstick and tie the other end of the twine to one end of the stuffed sausage. Let twine off your chopstick the length of the pre-twisted link. Pin twine in place with a finger from your other hand, while you guide your chopstick under and over the stuffed hog casing to meet it. Tie a simple slip knot where the twist separates one link from another. Repeat until you have a chain of chorizo links.
Chorizo can now be enjoyed fresh by placing in the fridge or frozen by wrapping in a layers of butcher paper, plastic wrap and tin foil. Chorizo can also be hung to dry in a cool airy spot for 2-3 days and then enjoyed.
Note: This is a spicy chorizo. While the liquid added should not be played with, the spices can be halved or doubled to taste. The entire recipe can also be doubled easily.
Note: A hand grinder will take a little more muscle, but I have found them to be faster than the KitchenAid and won’t warm the meat up as much. They are also quiet cheap, but be sure to get one that mounts securely.
And now…A Big Pig We Love. Enjoy.