Just before our daughter was born I went on a bit of a cooking spree. We had some close friends who were due a few days before we were and just over a week ago they surprised us with the news that their son was born.
Given that it was their second child, and second son at that, there was nothing they really needed that we could have bought them for the baby. Instead, we came bearing the gift of a home cooked meal.
When our son was born the best thing people did for us was bring food over because more often than not we were so preoccupied with attending to his needs that we neglected our own. The meals that we received were a godsend and we figured this was the best way to both help our friends and welcome their child into the world.
As I was shopping for the ingredients for a super sized meatball and lasagna dinner for them, I figured it was just as easy to double down and freeze some for us. Considering our daughter was born only 10 days later I feel like an absolute genius.
Late last week I was reading the blog of food author Michael Ruhlman, a favorite of mine, and he had a video post on how to make sausage.
While I wouldn’t consider myself an expert by any means, I feel am a seasoned sausage maker. My cold smoked barbecue sausage is easily my favorite cased creation. It takes nearly two days to create a batch, but when they grill up with that beautiful mahogany color it makes it all worth while.
Still, I’m always up to see if I can learn any new tricks, and as I was watching his video the sausage recipe he included in the post caught my eye – Chicken Sausage with Basil and Tomatoes.
All of a sudden inspiration struck and evil plans immediately began constructing themselves in my head. I decided that I would cash in some of my contest winnings and experiment with a chicken sausage recipe based on my prize winning dish.
With the exception of a German weisswurst I made for Christmas a few years back I have only ever used pork as the base for my sausages. Since I haven’t made any sausage in a few months I was intrigued by the possibilities of using chicken.
I set out to build my base ingredient list and decided that instead of using chicken skin or substituting pork back fat that I would use pancetta, which would also replace the proscuitto in the braciole di pollo recipe. Next I eliminated the bread crumbs because they made no sense to include and I substituted ricotta salata (you could characterize it as Italian feta) for the fontina cheese.
After procuring all the ingredients, I cubed the meat (the chicken and the pancetta) and seasoned it with salt, fresh ground black pepper and finely minced garlic overnight. Father’s Day afternoon I mixed in the remaining ingredients I had planned and ground it up.
With all the ingredients mixed together and ground, I cooked up a quick patty to test my seasoning and to ensure my concept was as good in practice as it appeared to be in theory.
The seasoning was perfect and the results were phenomenal.
About an hour after we had the sausage cased and packaged up for storage my wife started to go into labor. A little more than five hours later we welcomed our sweet baby girl into the world.
Now that we are home with her I’m a little more than relieved that the “what’s for dinner” question won’t be an issue for a week or two. Also, I’m pretty confident that chicken sausage will be making its way into my sausage making rotation.
If you are interested in the recipe, shoot on over to peaches en risotto for Braciole di Pollo – The Sausage*
*yeah, I know, I need a better name