I am still in awe of all the fantastic things that J & Miss R are creating in their kitchen.
Monday afternoon I joined them to help continue on with the sausage-making to use up the leftover casings so they wouldn’t go to waste.
The usual routine for whenever I get together with Miss R & Lil’E=MC^2 is to have some lunch together, either bought or made and then continue on with whatever the plan is for the day.
Instead of me buying something for lunch this time around, we had homemade reuben sandwiches. WOW. This is starting to become a bit of a repetitive observation and realization: I don’t mind reubens, but they’re certainly not the first sandwich I would choose to eat if given a choice of an assorted selection. The recent discovery of a homemade reuben? WOW. No contest, it’s a hands down a winner in my books.
Homemade Reuben Sandwich
I keep saying this, but homemade anything has absolutely nothing on store-bought stuff! I’ve never considered the idea of making my own pastrami, mainly because I don’t eat nearly as many sandwiches as I used to, but wow this is pretty fantastic in my opinion. Not only is it a fun experiment, but you know exactly what’s going into the final product. Admittedly, J & Miss R still used pink salt in the making of the pastrami, which isn’t their first choice of ingredients, but until they get comfortable with the process of curing their own meats, the easiest & safest way to avoid botulism (and any other kind of scary critters)would be to just get over it and use the pink salt.
I still find it kind of interesting how much awe you can instill in people when you tell them you made something from scratch that you would ordinarily buy from the grocery store without a second thought. Some things more than others certainly deserve more applauding, and I would say the homemade pastrami definitely deserves to be on that list.
As for the sausage-making, I’m still pretty chuffed about being able to help and come away with a small bag of each batch. This week we made garlic sausages and Italian sausages. The garlic sausage was relatively mild, but it had a really nice texture. The Italian sausage was a surprisingly “slap you in the face with fennel and chili peppers” specimen. Again, I am not generally a fan of Italian sausage but homemade, it was quite tasty. Garlic sausage on the other hand, one of my favourites.
The Italian sausages we made had whole fennel seeds in them, and admittedly, it does add a really nice textural component to the sausages but I find fennel in general to be one of my least favourite spices. The heat of the chili pepper was a nice surprise though from what I can recall. When we taste-tested the Italian sausages before stuffing them into casings, I found it was a tasty morsel but I don’t know that I would be able to eat a whole sausage on its own. The flavours would be far too over-powering for me. I am looking forward to using the Italian sausages, I just don’t know which recipe I should use them in quite yet.
I have to admit, even only having made sausages twice now, I think we’re getting a pretty good hang of the process. We did discover on Monday that if you’re going to just straight up stuff the casings, you need to remove the die from the stuffing machine. On Friday, when we made the brats and hunter sausage, we used the die & the blade — which thinking about it in hindsight, is probably what made the sausages so incredibly dense. It wasn’t as noticeable when the brats were first cooked, but when they were reheated, they were pretty dense. Miss R made the same comment about the hunter sausages being really dense (and kind of dry from over smoking) when they had smoked them, too. The recipe instructions said to do it that way, but it seemed to be a little too much to me. When we made the Italian sausages, you just straight up stuff the casings, which makes for a bit lighter sausage.
I need a little more practice in making equal-sized sausages and I think I did a pretty good job this time around. Making sure to knot only the beginning of the casing and leaving the end undone (and a decent length!) until all the sausages are twisted off is the key to not breaking the casings. Sausage-making is fun! Especially when you do it as a group together.
It’s a pity I don’t have any pics of the sausages from either day. I should probably email Miss R and ask her to send me a few.