From the bookshelf: Sweet sausage

Four years after becoming a full-time food journalist, I left the paper with just about the same number of cookbooks as I began with. Thank my wife for not allowing them to accumulate. If I brought new ones home, some of my own had to go to the paper, where they would be sold at our annual charity cookbook sale. I’d be surprised if I have 100 cookbooks.

One that’s stayed with me for the last seven years is “Charcuterie” by food writer Michael Ruhlman and chef Brian Polcyn. It covers the gamut of cured and smoked meats and has become a valuable resource as we seek to make our own sausages. If you’ve joined the charcuterie craze or are just mildly curious, I strongly recommend it.

My favorite recipe from the book is a Mexican chorizo we adapted this winter for a venison chorizo that was added to a Caesar salad at our annual Sacandaga Sportman’s Day.

GROUND MEXICAN CHORIZO

  • 2 1/2 pounds venison, ground
  • 2 1/2 pounds pork shoulder, ground
  • 2 tablespoon ground chilies
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons cold water

Combine all ingredients until thoroughly mixed. Wrap in plastic wrap or freezer paper, and chill until ready to cook or stuff.

Yield: 5 pounds raw.

Adapted from: “Charcuterie” by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn.

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