Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Culinary school: What a grind

Charcuterie, the aspect of culinary arts devoted to prepared meats, was on the agenda today in Culinary Foundations III.

We made sausage and began curing bacon. The processes are fairly simple and straightforward -- and there's quite a bit of room for creativity in each with flavors from added aromatics, spices and herbs -- yet the machinery for grinding the sausage and the smoking of bacon are not home kitchen items, normally.

Chef allowed each station in the kitchen to prepare one or two sausage recipes. At my station, we went with fellow student Rob Parks' old family recipe of Swedish potato sausage and with an andouille recipe that Chef handed out. There's quite a contrast between the two, the Swedish being light in color and mildly savory, while the andouille has a darker hue and a sneaky little bit of heat that comes in the back of the mouth.

Both sausages will be stuffed in casings for links on Wednesday, and the bacon cure will be completed on Thursday, when we will smoke it.

(Photos: classmate Richard Johnson having a go at grinding our Swedish potato sausage; the potato mixture before grinding and after grinding.)

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