Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Spicy Pork Sausage Sandwiches

Every year, the Savage Boleks host a Super Bowl party; and, for our seventh such party -- Savage Boleks Super Bowl Party VII -- we decided to prepare a recipe from each of the cities or states represented by the two teams playing in the big game.  Super Bowl XLVIII was a contest between Seattle and Denver.  The obvious choice for Seattle is a salmon burger, and, I found a recipe for Salmon Burgers from Pike's Place Market.  The only question was what would me make that represents Denver or the State of Colorado.

I did some research for sandwiches or snacks that are quintessential Denver or Colorado.  My efforts produced of videos of people eating fried Rocky Mountain oysters.  Needless to say, I don't have access to those "oysters" and, even if I did, I do not think I would have had guests willing to eat them.  Bottom line, I had very little to go with. 

In such a case, where I have nothing, I have my "last resort."  It is a book called Sunday Night Football Cookbook.  This cookbook has recipes for each of the teams.  There are some recipes from players, like Fred Taylor's Shrimp Gumbo and Shawne Merriman's Shepard Pie.  However, for the most part, the recipes are provided by chefs who have restaurants in the host cities.  Denver was represented by two recipes: (1) Spicy Pork Sausages with Mustard and Horseradish; and, Warm Bittersweet-Chocolate Cupcakes.  Given I don't bake, the process of elimination was fairly easy.

The sausage recipe comes from Chef Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson, who is the chef of Frasca Food and Wine in Denver.  A winner of the James Beard Foundation's award for the Best Chef Southwest, Chef Mackinnon-Patterson is inspired by the cuisine of Friuli, which is part of the region known as Friuli-Venezia Giuli.  The food and wine of this region has influences drawn not only from Italy, but also neighboring Austria and Slovenia.  Chef Mackinnon-Patterson's sausage recipe gives a nod to Friuli cuisine with its use of prosciutto, because Friuli is well known for Prosciutto San Danielle.  I decided to give a further nod to the region with respect to the wine.  While the recipe calls for 1/4 cup of a non-descript "white wine," I found a Chardonnay from Friuli, which seemed like the best wine to use given the source of the recipe.  

Finally, this relatively simple recipe calls for making the sausage into patties.  If you want a challenge, you can do what I did.  Apart from tripling the recipe for the party, I used a meat grinder to stuff the sausage in casings.  I had always wanted to use the old school meat grinder that was given to me as a present from my sister and brother in law.  This recipe provided the first opportunity for me to use the grinder and, coincidentally, the first time that I made sausage by hand. Fortunately, Clare's parents were in town and they provided some very invaluable assistance as we worked to make nearly ten pounds of handmade sausage.  I am very grateful for their help.  Without their assistance, the sausage would never have been completed in time for the party.

Recipe from Frasca Food & Wine, 
from the Sunday Night Football Cookbook, pg. 124
Serves 6-8

2 1/2 pounds of ground pork loin
12 ounces prosciutto or speck or combination, minced
1/4 cup of white wine
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
6 to 8 Kaiser rolls, split and toasted
Dijon-style mustard
Prepared horseradish

1.  Prepare the sausage.  In a large bowl, combine the pork, prosciutto, wine, salt, cracked pepper, red pepper flakes, and cheese.  Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  Form the pork mixture into 6 to 8 patties and arrange them on the prepared baking sheet.  Alternatively, you can buy some pork casings and stuff the sausages, which is what I did in this case.   Just soak the casings in water for 30 minutes to 1 hour and then rinse them very well.  I have an old school meat grinder, the cast iron kind that you crank by hand.  Follow the instructions for the meat grinder and stuff the sausage. 

2.  Bake or grill the sausage.  Bake the sausage patties for about 20 minutes until cooked through. You can also preheat a grill to about 350 degrees and cook the sausages for the same period of time, flipping the sausage once after about 10 minutes. 

3.  Plate the dish.  Serve hot on the rolls with mustard and horseradish.


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