Posts Tagged ‘Sausage’

We Did the Mash

May 19th, 2009

Mother’s day was last week and what better way to treat your moms than by cooking them a delicious dinner? The Mother’s Day menu consisted of shrimp scampi (a perennially favorite with both mothers) and bacon wrapped scallops as appetizers with a rib-eye roast, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, and a garden salad as the main course. Desert would be some pastries from Fortunato Brothers and a simple fruit salad with melon, strawberries, and mangos.

It was a fairly straight forward meal to accomplish, so I decided to try a quick experiment. Instead of peeling potatoes, I thawed and removed the skins from my frozen mashed potato sausages. While reheating them on the stove, I added some cream and salt. They started off soupy and unappetizing, but by the time they were ready to serve, they were the right consistency.

As I mentioned before, they didn’t make for good sausages, so how would they be as mashed? Both mom’s enjoyed them, going back for seconds and thirds. My mother knew the history of these dubious spuds, while my mother-in-law did not. So, when my mother-in-law asked what was in them, Mom pointed out that turning the question around would be more appropriate: “What were they in?”

It was a Mother’s Day Smash.

Author: Josh Categories: Story Tags: , ,

Bangers and Mash?

April 7th, 2009

I figured my first post should be about a complete and utter failed experiment from last week. There are several reason why I think my mistake is a good jumping off point, most prominent is that I want to make it clear from day one that I don’t really know what I’m doing and that I don’t claim to. Also, people enjoy hearing about other’s misfortunes and – as I have found – mine in particular.

Last Christmas my sister bought me the meat grinder attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer along with Home Sausage Making by Peery and Reavis (she knows what her brother likes).  After a successful first experiment with making venison sausage (more about this later), I was eager to stuff anything I could find into some casings. While talking about this on Thursday with a friend, we started joking about making a non-meat sausage entirely out of potatoes. The general ideas was to make mashed potatoes, throw in the traditional baked potato toppings – chives, sour cream, cheddar – and stuff it into 12 feet of hog intestine. The more I thought about this, the better it sounded. I mean, it’s basically a baked potato with all the fixings that I could keep in the freezer and heat at a moment’s notice. A perfect mid-week snack! Not to mention the fact that it would look great on a platter next to a traditional sausage. My own form of bangers and mash.

When the weekend rolled around I was prepped mentally, but my kitchen was not. First I had to go to the market. I picked up a 10lbs bag of Idaho potatoes, a bunch of chives, two large containers of sour cream, and two blocks of cheddar cheese. Upon getting home, I washed the spuds and threw about five pounds into the oven (at 350o). I feel the baking gives them a pleasant earthy taste you don’t get with boiling. While they were going (about an hour), I started prep on the casings. I took 3 six foot long segments out of my freezer and dropped them into a bowl of water to start cleaning off the salt. Then I went to work shredding the cheese and chopping the chives. I had wanted to add egg yolks to the mix to help bind it together, so I separated 4 eggs. The whites would later be turned into meringue cookies.With everything prepped and my kitchen cleaned, it was time to take the potatoes out of the oven. So far so good.

This is when things start going bad for me, although slowly at first. The baked Idahos turned out to be more difficult to peal than I had anticipated. I had made Yukon Golds recently and the skins would just about fall right off. Meanwhile the Idahos clung tenaciously to their skins. This trivial five minute task wound up taking 30 – 45 minutes instead. Now that I finally had all the basic ingredients, I mixed them all together, adding my seasonings. I was behind schedule, but things were coming together. A quick trip to the freezer for my mashed potatoes to firm them up before being stuffed allowed me some time to do another quick clean-up of the kitchen and give the casings another thorough rinsing.

My Kitchen Aid was all prepped and ready to go for the first batch of sausage so I took the potatoes out of the freezer and started feeding them through. In mere moments, I would see my first potato sausage. Oh the excitement. Then the harsh sting of reality started to set in. After stuffing about three feet of casings I began to realize that this wasn’t going as smoothly as the meat sausage. Because the potatoes were so dense, air pockets were constantly being introduced into the sausage. In general the density was making it hard to force the mixture through the narrow tube of the sausage stuffer, slowing down the progress and making a mess of my kitchen. But at this point I was still very hopeful for the end product. It was beginning to actually look like sausage.

Working the potato through the narrow tube proved more difficult than anticipated

But I was able to get some sausages out of it

I wound up with about 10 – 20 feet of sausage in three separate casings. Now it was time to start twisting off actual links. The density came back to haunt me. I had over packed the sausages and the casings started to tear and in most cases explode while twisting the sausages. I was forced to cut holes and let out some of the extra potato. By now I was getting pretty frustrated with my endeavor. It had already taken about five hours in contrast with the two I had expected. Now this was slowing me down even further. But after all of that work, I had honest to goodness potato sausage. As much work as it took, it could be worth it when dinner time rolled around.

About two dozen completed sausages

Speaking of which, after all of that work I was starting to get pretty hungry, so I heated up a pan and dropped in some venison sausages next to a few links of my recent creation and let them cook for a bit with the lid on. After a few minutes of cooking, I noticed another problem. Despite the problematic density of the potatoes, they were not firm enough to keep the casings from shriveling up around them. By the time they were cooked throughout, a good deal of the potato had leaked out the side, leaving a shriveled casing around the middle of the “sausage”.

How will it taste?

Ok, so it didn’t look very good. Nothing like I had envisioned actually. But that wasn’t going to stop my ever present optimism from trying them. I took my first bite; my heart sank. They tasted like dense mashed potatoes wrapped in pig’s intestine. I had failed to take into account the fact that the casings had a distinct taste. You never really notice it when eating regular sausage because it blends in with and is overpowered by the taste of the meat. With potatoes on the other hand it just tastes very off. Hopefully all is not lost. I still froze the remaining sausages with the intention of using them as individually portioned frozen mashed potatoes. Hopefully they’ll taste ok thawed and pealed.

Author: Josh Categories: Story Tags: ,