Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images
What could be better in the fall or winter months than a meal built around homemade sausages. We love them, and I decided to make different type. Looking over many receipts, I found several rather interesting ones.
lcanian sausage is a true old-world sausage and can be found in literature in the 4th century. Ten surviving cookbooks of the Greco-Roman world survive under the name of Apicius and are the works of several authors. One receipt included in this work is lcanian sausage which is the forerunner of the Greek Loukaniko. Loukaniko may have originated in Italy, however, it became popular in Portugal in addition to Greece and a few other countries.
Loukaniko is comprised of pork and lamb and a laundry list of spices, wine, and grated orange. It was often served as a mezze (appetizer). I also came across a receipt for Saulcisses en Potage in Lancelot de Casteau, Ouverture de Cuisine, 1585. This was a “Tourney Dish” of sausages with apples, onion, cinnamon and nutmeg eaten at the mock battles during the Middle Ages. I thought this would be great to do together. In addition, I found a German venison receipt from the manuscript of Sabina Welser, 1553. It was edited by Hugo Stopp and published as Das Kochbuch der Sabina , 1980.This was timely, as I was given venison by a friend.
I made the two types of sausages,(receipt below) and I took each receipt and divided it in half. one half I added pink curing salt; these sausage would be cold-smoked. After the four different types of sausage were stuffed into their casings, they went into the refrigerator to sit overnight.
The next day I got out the Cameron’s Original Stove top Smoker and hickory chips. Once this started to smoke, the two different sausages with the curing salt went in and stayed for 4 hours on a low heat. I was careful to keep the two sausage separate so I’d be able to know which was which. After two days, and help from Allan, my sausage making was complete; now to share them.
For the first night we had our neighbors in. We always like to have them taste test things for us. The menu would be Loukaniko with pottage, Emmer flour Flat Bread. sautéed Brussels sprouts with New Hampshire elixir (maple syrup), and sautéed apples, onions, garlic and cabbage slaw. Now Allan dislikes Brussels sprouts, so I needed to do something a bit different so they would be not be as bitter as he recalls. I was hoping the maple syrup would do the trick.
The first thing I had to prepare for the dinner was the dough for the flat bread. Emmer flour is a rich and nutty, ancient, wholegrain flour, and I thought I would try it to see if I liked it. After they were flattened I put them between strips of plastic wrap and stored them in the refrigerator.
The Saulcisses en Potage does not have cabbage, however, my Russian heritage was screaming put it in! Also I remembered similar receipt from Hannah Glass that I have made. So I incorporated them together. As a result I made a slaw with cabbage and carrots to be added to the apples, onions and garlic all to be sautéed in butter, spiced with nutmeg, cinnamon, a tad of sugar, and a bit of dry white wine. This also sat in the refrigerator ready to go.
Allan built the perfect fire, the neighbors arrived and we all enjoying appetizers, which included the smoked Loukaniko. The cooled smoking made the sausage firm and enhanced the flavoring of the spices and orange zest. Served with crackers and cheese. All in all a thumbs-up for sure.
When the coals in the fireplace were ready, it was time to get cooking. The sausage went on the gridiron first. The pottage and Brussels sprouts went into three-legged pans to sauté. Last but not least the flat bread went on the hanging griddle.
When everything was done and put on the table we just dug in, so, sorry no pictures. We took the flat bread and use it as a roll adding the sausage and the pottage on top. OMG!!! It was an epicurean delight, if I have to say so myself. A distinct flavor of lamb in the sausage then a subtle hint of the leeks and garlic hit with the zesty orange and herbs all exploding on your palate, glorified by the pottage all wrapped in a soft and fragrant flat bread. The Brussels sprouts being sautéed in oil and butter with the addition of syrup had a nice brown and sweet nutty finish, And all did try them. The meal was a success.
A few days later we had our friends, who gave us the venison, over for dinner. On this occasion we sampled the cold-smoked venison sausage as an appetizer. To accompany the grilled venison sausage, I chose to serve sautéed wild mushrooms and oven roasted vegetables. Once again I use the fireplace to cook almost everything. (I put the roasted vegetables in the oven).
The venison sausage had just enough of a noticeable gamy taste, with a hint of the clove and the tart taste of the juniper berries was spot on. This time I wanted to try the three-legged griddle to cook the flat bread. It cooked better, I think, as they browned better than on the hanging griddle. We tried the sausage and mushroom in the flat bread and it was good, however my choice would be the sausage with pottage. Again thumbs-up on this one. And what can you say about, farm-fresh, roasted vegetables except yum!
I was happy with the turnout of all the sausages and the wonderful sides that accompanied them. We were able to share this with friends by the hearth with a good glass of wine and beer and an evening of wonderful conversation.
May you have many warm and happy winter days cooking,
“…no one is born a great cook, one learns by doing.”
― Julia Child, My Life in France
PS. Its nice to have the blog working again. Thank you all for putting up with all the tests. And keep your fingers crossed. Next blog will be two meals of Rabbit.
1 pounds pork shoulder, cubed
3 pound boneless leg of lamb, trimmed of silver skin and cubed
1 pound pork fatback, cubed
3 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 whole leeks, trimmed of dark leaves and finely chopped
3 tablespoons minced garlic (about 9 medium cloves)
2 tablespoons freshly grated orange zest from about 3 oranges
1 tablespoon coriander seeds, toasted and finely ground
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano (preferably Greek)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/3 cup red wine, chilled
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, chilled
Lancelot de Casteau, Ouverture de cuisine, 1585
SAUSAGES IN POTTAGE.
Sausages in Pottage. Take sausages, & fry them in butter, then take four or five peeled apples & cut into small quarters, & four or five onions cut into rings, & fry them in butter, & put all of them into a pot with the sausages, & put therein nutmeg, cinnamon, with red or white wine, sugar, & let them then all stew.
The Art of Cookery Made Plain & Easy, Hannah Glasse (1796)
Take half a pound of sausages, and six apples, slice four about as thick as a crown, cut the other two in quarters, fry them with the sausages of a fine light brown, lay the sausages in the middle of the dish, and the apples round. Garnish with the quartered apples. Stewed cabbage and sausages fried is a good dish.
Das Kuchbuch der Sabina Welserin
TO MAKE VENISON SAUSAGE
1 lb. ground venison 6-8 oz. bacon 1 tsp. salt 1 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. mace 1/2 tsp. cloves 1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. grains of paradise 1/2 tsp. cubebs pinch ground saffron
1 oz. water casing
To this recipe I added 1/2 tsp of juniper berries ground
Did you know that during the Middle Ages the word “venison” referred to any wild animal with edible flesh?