I don’t win stuff. I’m not one of those good karma guys that fills out the raffle ticket and wins the vacation of a lifetime. It just never happens…well, rarely happens. I did win a Chicago’s Greatest Hits Album when I was 14. And, I almost always got the brownies at the church Cake Walk… and I did win the Grand Prize at last year’s Project Red New Year’s Eve Celebration in NYC… (but that was airfare and tickets to some freakishly loud techno concert…..and a year’s supply of red sneakers….. I gave it back…. I’m 50 for Pete’s sake!)
So when I won the Marx Foods raffle for a nine (yes, 9) pound box of assorted sausage, I was suitably stoked.
I love a good sausage. I especially love a well-made sausage. And, the game meat sausages from Marx Foods have not disappointed me. What I got in the package was:
Venison Sausage with Merlot & Blueberries
Buffalo Sausage with Chipotle Chilies
Duck Sausage with Foie Gras & Sauterne Wine
Duck Sausage with Orange Liquor
Rabbit Sausage with White Wine
Wild Boar Sausage with Cranberries & Shiraz
Smoked Duck Sausage with Apple Brandy
Elk with Pear & Port Wine
Wild Boar with Roasted Garlic & Marsala
Venison with Red Wine & Demi Glace
Now, I could take them out of their natural casings, work them up into some interesting culinary creation, and blab about it here…for weeks… (did I tell you it was NINE pounds of sausage?) but I’m not….
Excellent sausage is simply cooked. The sausage maker put a considerable amount of talent, expertise and love in making those wieners – the best thing you can do is handle them properly and showcase the flavor.
Additionally, I believe that – unless your cooking a hot dog…. or a red hot… or a polish sausage – sausages do not belong on a grill. All you’re going to taste is grill..
To properly cook any sausage, you should:
- Keep the meat chilled until ready for use
- Heat a pot with a steamer basket, or a bamboo steamer
- Place the sausages in the basket for 10 to 15 minutes – or until the casings tighten up and the sausages begin to plump
- Transfer the links to a skillet with about 1 tablespoon of butter and pan fry until the casing is crisp and a golden brown.
This insures two things, 1) that the sausage is cooked thoroughly, and 2) it allows enough time for the seasonings inside the casing to mix with the fat and permeate through the meat.
The 1st sausage we tried was Pheasant with Cognac. It was a wonderfully flavorful sausage made with pheasant, chicken and pork. The gaminess of the pheasant came through even with the filler meats. I paired it with duchess potatoes and balsamic sauteed cabbage.
Tonight we tested the Duck with Fois Gras. I made oven roasted potatoes and a hot interpretation of pickled beets… it was again… excellent – really super wieners.
Since there really isn’t that much else to say about sausage, I’ll talk about the sides.
Oven Roasted Potatoes
3 Medium Yukon Gold Potatoes
3 Tablespoons Butter
1/4 Cup Chicken Stock
Coarse Ground Black Pepper
1 9″ Baking Pan
1 Sharp Knife
- Preheat the oven to 350
- Peel the Potatoes and cut in half – length-wise
- With a sharp knife, cut 4 evenly spaced slices on one side of the potato – going about 3/4 of the width
- Turn the potato around and repeat the cuts, this time spacing the slices between the ones you made on the other side
- Smear 1/2 tablespoon of butter on each potato half and sprinkle with salt and pepper
- Lightly oil the pan and place the halves
- Pour the chicken stock in the pan around the potatoes
- Bake uncovered for 45 minutes (check the potatoes at 20 minutes and brush some of the melted butter in the pan over the tops)
- Peel and slice the beets
- Cut the beets into julienne – about 1/4″
- Place the beet, garlic salt and pepper into a zipper bag and microwave for 3 minutes
- Place the beets, sugar vinegar and oil in a bowl and let sit until the sausages are cooked
- Transfer the beets and liquid to the sausage pan and saute until all the liquid is evaporated
- Toss with radish slices and serve.