Southwestern Chicken Sausage

Makes: 20 sausages

The continuing Covid Crisis means dipping back into the more complex stuff like a naan bread Nat made on our Komado last week and learning how to make sushi.

Though making sausages from scratch remains one of our favourite weekend afternoon tricks and this past weekend, we made two crackers.

This sausage – a chicken sausage – was just wonderful.

If you don’t have a sausage making device or even a mincer, `you could just food process it all and pan-fry them up as patties.

Though if you have a KitchenAid, the mincing and sausage extensions are a lot of fun and sausage casings can be found at most good butchers.

We have had a lot of hit and miss when it comes to making our own sausages and the key observation from this recipe: polenta (or grits). They hold in the moisture, they give you texture, they make these sausages commercial grade.

Though add in the fun of making them, the freshness, owning the ingredients and the bragging rights… and you are onto a good thing.

Ingredients

1.4kg chicken thigh (meat and fat)
80gm polenta (or grits)
340ml chicken stock
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp chilli powder
200gm Jalapeño chillies
1 red capsicum
2 tbsp fresh coriander

Method

  1. Roast the Jalapeño chillies in the oven until charred; remove the charred skins and roughly chop.
  2. Cook the polenta in the chicken stock until soft. 40 minutes or so.
  3. Chop the chicken into 3cm pieces and combine with all the ingredients.
  4. Mince and stuff into sausage casings.

Big veal, pork and prosciutto meatballs with Parmesan polenta

Serves: 6

These are the best meatballs either Nat or I have ever had.

Not only that, there is an agreeable distance between these meatballs and whatever is in second place.

I am not kidding.

These made us so happy and I think there are a few things that contributed to the success.

The original recipe was from Gourmet Traveller though we made a number of tactical (and genius in my opinion!) changes, both to method and ingredients.

If you served these at a dinner party, everyone – everyone – would pin you down al la Paul Newman when his friends locked him in his garage and made him make a barrel of his famous salad dressing.

If you served this at your restaurant, people would say, “Oh, you have to go to Lucio’s and try his big meatballs. They are incredible. They are equal in genius to Paul Newman’s salad dressing and I think it’s because Lucio uses 75/25% veal and pork mince.”

Get started today, let your mince combine in the fridge for 48 hours and open your own Lucio’s for the night!

Ingredients

Sauce

800gm diced, canned tomatoes
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped mixed sage and oregano plus extra to serve
150ml red wine (leaving 600ml for you)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly cracked pepper
Torn mozzarella plus extra to serve

Polenta

1 cup milk plus extra as you go
1 cup chicken stock
2/3 cup polenta
50gm Parmesan, finely grated plus extra to serve
50gm butter, cubed and room temperature
Salt and freshly cracked pepper

Meatballs

750gm veal mince
250gm pork mince
160gm Parmesan, finely grated
120gm coarse fresh breadcrumbs
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 eggs
3 tbsp finely chopped mixed sage and oregano
8 thin prosciutto slices
2 tbsp olive oil

Method

  1. 24 – 48 hours before cooking, combine the meatball mixture except the prosciutto slices and olive oil. Mix well and refrigerate.
  2. Heat some olive oil in a large pan and sauté the onions for 8 minutes or until soft and starting to golden. Add the garlic and continue cooking for 5 minutes, ensuring the garlic doesn’t burn. Add the chopped herbs and cook for 30 seconds and then add the diced tomatoes and red wine. Simmer over a low heat for 40 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, commence the polenta: in a saucepan, bring the milk and stock to the point of scalding though not boiling. Slowly whisk in the polenta and keep whisking for 45 – 60 minutes, adding small amounts of milk as need be, until the polenta is no grainy and you have a thick polenta mixture.
  4. Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan and butter, checking for seasoning. Set aside.
  5. While the polenta is cooking, divide the mince into eight and roll into large meatballs. Wrap a piece of prosciutto around each.
  6. Heat olive oil over a medium-high heat and cook the meatballs on each side, making an effort to cook and caramelise the prosciutto: around 10 minutes. Transfer to the pan with the tomato mixture, turning occasionally until cooked through. 5 minutes before serving, drop some of the torn mozzarella into the sauce to melt.
  7. To serve, dollop some polenta onto your plates. Ladle a meatball on top with sauce. Sprinkle chopped herbs, grated Parmesan and torn mozzarella on top and serve.

Neil Perry’s Pan-fried Polenta

Serves 4

If you cook this and serve it with a roast or a braise, it will replace mash as your go-to side. Hands down, money on it.

It is a Neil Perry dish (tick) and it continues (as far as I know) to be served in Qantas First and Business Class (tick). It can be prepared beforehand (tick) and people’s eyes light up when they taste it (tick).

It’s creamy, it tastes great, it sops up all the juices on the plate and it can be reheated the next day.

Tick tick tick.

None of us cook enough polenta. This dish will resolve that for you.

Ingredients

2/3 cup (100g) polenta
1 1/2 cups (375ml) milk
1 cup (250ml) chicken stock
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup (50g) finely grated Parmesan
50g unsalted butter, chopped well
Freshly ground pepper
Extra virgin oil

Method

  1. Lightly grease a rectangular baking tin (or small baking dish as I did). Line the tin with baking paper.
  2. Bring the milk, stock and sea salt to scalding point (just below boiling point) in a large saucepan.
  3. Gradually shower the polenta into the milk mixture, stirring continuously with a whisk.
  4. Simmer, still stirring for about 40 minutes, or until the polenta is very thick and pulls cleanly away from the side of the pan.
  5. Remove from the heat, stir in the parmesean, butter, salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Spread the polenta immediately into the tin and allow to cool slightly. Cover and refrigerate for about 3 hours, or until firm.
  7. Run a sharp knife around the edges of the tin and gently turn out the polenta. Cut into eight slices thick.
  8. Quickly pan-fry the polenta slices in a little olive oil on both sides until lightly browned.