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Posts Tagged ‘sausage’

HOMEGROWN Life: Adventures in Sausage Making

Thursday, August 20th, 2015


HOMEGROWN-LIFE-LT-GREEN-150x150We’ve got so much rabbit and so very little freezer space right now, with more rabbits on the way. We needed to do something with all this rabbit and let’s face it, I’m getting a little tired of just braising it.

Rabbit’s a very lean meat and can be quite tough if it’s not cooked right, which usually means either cooked very quickly or cooked for a very long time at a low heat. Since Tom is rather squeamish about rare or even medium rare meat, we have to go with the long cook time.


However, there is another way you can prepare tough meat. Tough cuts from any animal whether it’s beef, pork or rabbit lend themselves very well to grinding.

the grind

Not really wanting to make rabbit burgers and being that the current Charcutepalooza challenge is stuffed sausages I decided that rabbit would be the meat of choice for this challenge.


But of course it wouldn’t just be rabbit. Because sausage needs 25-30% fat I needed to add pork fatback. But I didn’t stop there. My goal was a very flavorful sausage so it had to have asiago cheese and porcini mushrooms. But wait! It needed something more! Garlic! Yes garlic.

cheese and mushrooms

Unfortunately, Tom proclaimed that it smelled like a foot. He said the cheese smelled like a foot. The mushrooms smelled like a foot and now the fridge smells like a foot. Tom does NOT like stinky cheese, which, in my opinion, is quite a shame. I’m hoping this recipe works for him.

meat mixture

Unfortunately we’re out of fresh garlic, but we have some really good dried garlic. So here’s my recipe:

Rabbit Sausage with Porcinis, Asiago, and Garlic:



  • 2 Whole Rabbits (3-3 1/2 lbs each), de-boned and cut into 1/2″ chunks
  • 1 1/4 lb pork fatback, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 lb Asiago cheese, cut into chunks
  • 1.5 oz dried porcini mushrooms
  • 3 Tbs dried minced garlic
  • 3 Tbs Kosher salt
  • 10+ feet of pork casings (optional)


1. Rehydrate mushrooms in 2 cups hot (not boiling) water. Put mushrooms in water into fridge overnight to chill.

2. Drain mushrooms reserving 1 cup of liquid. Return liquid to fridge.

3. Combine everything but the liquid in a large bowl and put in freezer until very cold, just short of freezing solid. Also freeze the detachable parts of meat grinder that will be coming into contact with the meat.

4. Reassemble meat grinder and run meat mixture through and into a bowl set in ice (I use the bowl to our stand mixer). I use the smallest die that came with the grinder.

5. Using my stand mixer (mine is the smaller Kitchen Aid mixer so I have to do this in batches), I quickly mix half of the ground meat adding 1/2 of the reserved mushroom liquid to evenly distribute the spices. I repeat with the second half and then combine it all in one large bowl. Don’t over mix or you’ll end up with an emulsified sausage – mix just enough to distribute everything evenly.

6. Cook a small patty to check and adjust seasonings as needed. Return to the freezer to chill again.

7. You can choose to stop here and use it to make breakfast sausage or you can stuff it into casings.


I have to admit, or more like my husband has to admit, smelling like a foot can sometimes be a very good thing. The porcinis I feel are a bit overpowered by the garlic and asiago though, so I think next time I’ll save my money and omit them.

So what did we do with the sausages? We’ve added them to spaghetti sauce and lasagna. We’ve eaten them on homemade rolls with homemade sauerkraut and eaten them as snacks when out and about. I even add them to soup. Sometimes you don’t need a special recipe to use them because they are the special recipe.


Rachel-Dog-Island-Farm1Rachel’s friends in college used to call her a Renaissance woman. She was always doing something crafty, creative, or utilitarian. She still is. Instead of crafts, her focus these days has been farming as much of her urban quarter-acre as humanly possible. Along with her husband, she runs Dog Island Farm, in the San Francisco Bay Area. They raise chickens, goats, rabbits, dogs, cats, and a kid. They’re always keeping busy. If Rachel isn’t out in the yard, she’s in the kitchen making something from scratch. Homemade always tastes better!


HOMEGROWN Life: Waste Not, Want Not: Asking Why Scary Bits Get a Bad Wrap

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010






With Halloween steadily approaching, I figure now is as good a time as ever to write about our culture’s odd attitude toward offal.


Earlier this week, GOOD magazine posted a link to an informative graphic illustrating how sausage is made.  With disclaimers from GOOD of the image being “revolting” and “gross,” I clicked to view the picture closer because, already experienced in making sausage myself, I figured I could stomach the diagram (pun intended).  And true – Nary a gag reflex did it trigger.

Such is apparently not the case for the many who have retweeted and reposted links to the illustration saying such things as “disgusting” and “this is why I don’t eat meat.”

The picture depicts horrors such as [gasp] “head meat” and describes blood sausage as being nearly vampire-esque.

So, as someone who loves headcheese, I wonder: Why?  Why would an image that’s essentially a benign cartoon of a food item we’re all familiar with disgust people?  Head, feet, blood, brain, intestines… Isn’t it better to eat all the edible bits of an animal rather than to cast any aside as garbage?  Isn’t that what large populations of people in every other region of the world do?  They find the scary bits appetizing, even delicious.  Why don’t we?

If the thought of eating offal disgusts us, perhaps we Westernized carnivores should pause then and ask ourselves why we feel it is any more acceptable to eat a fast food burger, or a frozen chicken burrito, or our mother’s pork tenderloin.

The industrial food system is quick to overcrowd, torture, and otherwise deny intrinsic comforts to billions of animals – all because consumers are so accustomed to eating meat frequently, eating it cheaply, and only eating the bits that don’t freak them out. …but that doesn’t make popular animal parts any less gross.

This Halloween, I urge any of you timid carnivores to face your fears.  Order tripe soup or a cow’s head torta at your local Mexican restaurant.  Try the seared beef tongue at the town Japanese grill.  Dine-in at that fancy establishment down the block and become pleasantly surprised to learn that sweetbreads aren’t bread.  Be brave with your meals, for offal is an enjoyable edible you do not want to hide from, and we can’t afford to waste.

Yellow Tree Farm’s web site:

Danielle Leszcz, Yellowtree Farm

“I’m half of YellowTree Farm, an urban homestead that I founded with my husband in late 2008. Together, my husband and I grow vegetables and raise animals on less than 1/10 of an acre in St. Louis, Missouri. We speak publicly about urban farming, sew, and make our own toiletries.  I don’t have children. I have animals, which is kind of the same thing as being a parent, except I eat my babies.”

There’s a farm in every home – The Steel Fork

Friday, March 26th, 2010

These adorable pieces are made from recycled farm equipment and were discovered when new HOMEGROWNer KateGatski linked to The Steel Fork web site on her member page. Kate says:

We are passionate about food, farm and design. We raise a heritage breed of pigs and we raise a handful of milk cows. Our full-time work is creating metal sculptures using recycled farm machinery.

Kate and Ben practice a creative and sustainable life on their farm by selling items produced on the farm – what an inspiration! Welcome Kate and welcome to all who have found community and inspiration here. We’d love to hear about your creative life, too!

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