Just the other day, the KitchenAide mixer that I used with a grinding attachment finally gave up the ghost. Well, temporarily. This machine has been a workhorse for a long time - a gift from my in-laws some fourteen or fifteen years ago - supporting our family and a couple of small businesses from pizza shack to sausage house. It's now in pieces, resting and awaiting a new gear. Surprising what it looks like inside - more screws and pins holding it all together than gears and moving parts. But the motor seems strong and should last a while longer with the new part.
About that part. It's nothing fancy just a sacrificial gear - a part that is supposed to fail in order to protect all the rest. It's that yellow gear - a piece of hard plastic. It did its job and gave its life for the rest of the machine. At Amazon USofA it's less than US$10 (the whole assembly as pictured). In Amazon MX it's over US$40 (shipping, customs, etc.) and in Amazon CN it works out to about US$23 after shipping, customs and taxes. Unfortunately, I have no mule coming from the USofA anytime soon so, to save a few bucks I'll wait a month or so when a friend will return from Canada, part in hand. Meanwhile, I have a fine grinder on loan that will go through a kilo of meat rather quickly.
That was a minor digression - only two paragraphs. Now back to the links...
The lack of sausages was something I noticed on my very first trip to Belize. They, like Mexico, have all the fixings for great sausages but nobody was making any. To this day only a very few are in the business. I never got around to doing sausages in Belize - I was busy enough with the sourdough bread gig. But here in Mexico, the fresh bread is pretty good so there's little need to go into production**.
Absent a good oven, I haven't made any terrines lately and the glass top electric stove can't handle my large cast iron pans so I haven't even made rillettes or rillons since we moved!
Speaking of terrines, when I do a dish that is easy to make in bulk and can be frozen without consequence, I'll make a bunch. Spaghetti sauce fits the bill, as do terrines and, of course, lasagna. After we settled in to 38A I checked the contents of the freezer and found a container that looked like it needed to be reheated. So I popped it into the pizza oven and expected lasagna in 40 minutes.
After 20 minutes or so I realized dinner was not going to be lasagna. The decidedly non-lasagna odor gave away the fact this was a terrine - a pate de campagne - but instead of gently simmering in a water bath it was being hammered by pizza oven temps from all side. Smelled really good though. Going with the flow I left it to cook until the temperature was right and removed it. The outside was a bit overcooked. Crispy without being burnt, yes? Actually, not too bad since it was all wrapped in a layer of bacon. The inside however was delicious. That, some bread, and a glass of wine...who needs lasagna? Lesson learned - label everything!
(Digressed again, didn't I? Terribly bad habit...)
Each of the recipes I now use has been carefully tested and adjusted multiple times. My waistline so attests. That written, I never tire of good charcuterie.
Except for the Breakfast Sausage that I make into 100 gram balls or patties, I stuff all the sausages into natural casings. I also sell just the meat in whatever size package people want for a little discount since I don't have to do the stuffing. My current repertoire includes:
FRESH BIALA KIELBASA - A mild, all pork sausage with garlic and marjoram. You’ll run out of sausage before you run out of ways to cook it.
BREAKFAST SAUSAGE - Make your own sausage & egg-on-a-muffin sandwich. Sage of course but also ginger and a touch of hot pepper to give a little kick to these sausage patties.
GERMAN BRATWURST - Pork and beef combine to make an awesome sausage. Delicious simmered in beer & onions and then quickly grilled or pan-seared.
SAUCISSE DE TOULOUSE - The perfect threesome of pork, garlic, and white wine. A delicious, fine-grind but not emulsified sausage that has as many variations as Bach’s sonatas but ours is among the best.
ITALIAN SPICY or MILD - Pork, fennel, coriander, and herbs with or without the spicy red pepper and cayenne.
JALAPENO SAUSAGE - Just a little spicy (for real!) yet full of rich jalapeno pepper flavor with a touch of garlic and cumin.
The cost? I sell for around US$4.50-$5.00lb. Despite being all meat and spices, neither fillers nor additives the price isn't much different that what you would pay in the USofA or Canada for frozen commercial sausage and a lot less than some of the artisanal stores I see on the internet. $18/lb for breakfast sausage? hahaha... It's also competitive, even if slightly more expensive, than the overly salted, terribly fatty sausages found at the various grocery stores in town.
What does the future hold? Well, I'm still working on a source for smaller-diameter sheep casings so I can make some spicy Merguez sausages. Before I get into smoked sausage, I will probably start doing some dried sausage (saucisson sec). In fact, I have a half a pork loin in the refrigerator going through a 4-week curing/drying process. In the long run, I wouldn't mind turning this into a little business for a few years.
**Except for sourdough. I made a new sourdough starter and will soon try again to make a decent sourdough loaf in the pizza oven. There's just something about that rustic, country-style bread slathered in cold butter that can't be beat.