A while back, my friend, John Ed, and I made a batch of Andouille sausage. We used a recipe from an excellent book, Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing, Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn, W.W. Norton and Co., New York and London, 2005. We wound up with more than we had anticipated, so I put some of it in the freezer. The other night when I woke at 3 AM and couldn’t get back to sleep, I decided to reorganize the freezer. (What else is there to do at three in the morning?) I came across the Andouille and thought a bowl of gumbo would be good during the changing fall season.
I wasn’t sure, though, how the sausage would taste after those many month of storage, so I made a quicky throw-together meal to try it out. The meal turned out better than I expected, and the Andouille was in good shape. Next on the schedule, then, is chicken and Andouille gumbo.
For making the sausage, you should have a stand mixer which can be fitted with a meat grinder/sausage stuffer attachment. You will also need some sausage-making supplies including “pink salt” (DQ Curing Salt, aka DC Curing Salt, aka Prague Powder #1, aka Insta-Cure, aka Modern Cure.) Whatever the name, the salt is a mixture of regular salt and 6.25% sodium nitrite. The sodium nitrite prevents bacterial growth, especially the organism that cause botulism. You will also need sausage casings, preferably medium natural hog. If you live in a big city you can probably find those things in a local meat-packing or butcher supply house. If you can’t find them, you can get them on-line from Butcher and Packer
The quick dish is basically tomato sauce and cooked spaghetti, but the flavorings from the Andouille season the mixture beautifully. Few dishes to wash, and you can get back to whatever you are doing.
5 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into chunks
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon pink salt *(see above)
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon ground mace
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
- 3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 cup yellow onions, diced
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 10 feet of medium hog casings , rinsed free of preservative salt and soaked for 30 minutes
- In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and chill until ready to grind.
- Using the meat grinder attachment of your stand mixer, fitted with the small die, grind the mixture into the mixer bowl that has been set in a larger bowl filled with chopped ice.
- On medium speed, using the paddle beater, mix the ground meat mixture for about 1 minute until it becomes sticky.
- Correct seasoning by frying a small piece of the ground meat in a small skillet, tasting it, and adjusting seasonings as needed to suit your taste.
- Change the meat grinder so that it has the sausage stuffing horn attached.
- Thread the hog casing onto the stuffing horn, and working slowly but smoothly, fill the hog casing with sausage mixture.
- Twist the filled casing into 6-inch links.
- Hand the sausage string on a hook or stick and let dry for 2 hours at room temperature.
- Smoke the sausages in a Bradley stove-top smoker or in a charcoal grill with damp wood chips added. Internal temperature should reach 150°F (65°C)
- When the sausages are smoked, cool in an ice bath, and then refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.
Sausage and Mushrooms with Quick Tomato Sauce
- 3 smoked Andouille sausages
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ yellow onion, diced
- 4 medium crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 41.5 ounce can, tomato sauce
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup cut dry spaghetti
- In a heavy-bottomed medium pot, brown the sausages and set aside.
- In the same pot, cook the onions and mushrooms, being careful not to burn. Return the sausage to the pot.
- Stir in the tomato sauce and minced garlic. Simmer for 15 minutes.
- Stir in the cut spaghetti, and cook at a slow boil until the spaghetti is tender, about 10 minutes.
- Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve while still hot.