This month’s challenge built on the skills we learned last month in sausage grinding, asking us to stuff that sausage into casings. I choose the poultry category and started racking my brain. I do want to try Michael Ruhlman’s professed favorite from the book, Chicken Sausage with Basil & Tomatoes, but I wanted to also try and create something of my own. It took me several days to think to look at my favorite chicken recipes for inspiration. When I finally did, one jumped out as the exact dish I’d try to re-create in a sausage: Moroccan Chicken. The recipe I follow to make the dish is from The New Basics, a cookbook that has gotten a lot of use since I got it in 1989 or so.

I looked at a few more online recipes for Moroccan Chicken for further inspiration. I tweaked the ingredient list from the original recipe a few ways and forged ahead. I started out with some nice organic chicken thighs and good long list of other ingredients. Making the filling was easy, grinding everything together. Stuffing was another story. I had several problems, including having trouble putting the casing onto the stuffer, air bubbles, burst sausages, but I learned several things.

1) Put the stuffer onto the Kitchenaid before trying to put the casings on. For some odd reason it’s easier, I guess because it’s more stable.
2) Don’t tie the end off or you’ll end up with air bubbles.
3) When you twist up the links, give it more twists than you might think. Mine seem to come undone when cooking.
4) Don’t overstuff, they’ll burst both when stuffing and when cooking
5) Blanch for a few minutes in boiling water or beer to keep them from bursting when frying or grilling.
6) Prick the sausages all over to help prevent bursting too.
7) Get someone to help you when the stuffing part comes. It really does take more than two hands. It’s not impossible to do, but it gets frustrating by yourself.

So, how did they turn out? The flavor is spot on. They’re delicious on aIMG_0295 toasted bun with a little mayonnaise and chutney. It’s like the dish, in a sausage. Just as tasty. My one disappointment is with the texture. The recipe probably needs something more as a binder. The sausages don’t hold together if you wanted to cut them open to grill. The filling tends to fall apart. If anyone has suggestions on how to modify the recipe to fix that, I’d love to hear them.

Moroccan Chicken Sausages

2 lbs. 12 ounces chicken thighs
1/4 lb. pork fat
1/4 cup diced apricots
1/4 cup diced dates
1 Tbl. almond flour
1 red onion diced
1/2 cup chopped almonds
about 1 cup mixed black & green olives, pitted & diced
1 Tbl. honey
4 cloves garlic chopped
2 tsp. chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tbl. chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. turmeric
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. ginger powder
3/4 tsp. cumin
3/4 tsp. paprika
3/4 tsp. black pepper

1/4 c dry white wine chilled
1/4 c ice water (optional)

hog casings

Soak hog casing in cold water for at least 30 minutes. Rinse several times before using.

Put meat grinder parts into the freezer. Cut the thighs into chunks and put into the freezer while preparing the rest.

Toss diced apricots & dates with the almond flour. This keeps them from clumping together.

Measure and chop the remaining items. When ready, remove the meat from the freezer and toss everything but the wine together. Grind through the large holes on the grinder into a bowl that’s sitting in ice. After grinding, mix with the paddle of a stand mixer, adding in the chilled wine. You may add a little additional ice water to get it to bind correctly.

Cook a small piece and check the seasoning. Adjust as you see fit.

Chill the meat in the fridge until thoroughly cold again, up to overnight to allow the flavors to meld.

Stuff into hog casings and twist into links.

IMG_9857

Recipes in:Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing
By Michael Ruhlman & Brian Polcyn.

These comments are from the previous commenting system.CATHYwow. i love that recipe!

i might omit the almond flour, and add more liquid?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011 – 08:35 AM

MARDI

Excellent tips!  And your coil of sausages is lovely!!! Well done!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011 – 01:01 PM