These sausages – delicious with winter vegetable purées or polenta – are a great way to send offal to the table incognito. They’re a favourite of John Jackson and Connie DeSousa, co-chefs/owners of CHARCUT Roast House, who poach the sausage for several hours, then chill it in the poaching liquid. Once it’s cold, they slice off medallions and sear them in butter, giving them a melt-in-your-mouth texture.
3 lbs. Berkshire pork shoulder
1 Berkshire pig heart
1 lb. Berkshire pork skin
1/2 c. minced onion
canola or olive oil, for cooking
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 T. sea salt
1 t. brown sugar
2 t. freshly ground black pepper
scraped seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/8 t. cinnamon
hog “middle” casings, found at most butcher shops (the middle part of the pig’s large intestine is known as the “middles”), or use plastic wrap*
Cut the pork shoulder and heart into 2-inch cubes and partially freeze them, then use a meat grinder to finely grind them twice. Boil the pig skin in salted water for 30 minutes, then cool it and cut it into 1/2-inch pieces. Partially freeze it, then use a meat grinder and finely grind it twice.
Sauté the onion in a drizzle of oil in a hot skillet until it’s soft and starting to turn golden. Mix all the ingredients together by hand for 15 minutes in a large bowl set in a larger bowl filled with ice. Stuff the mixture into the casings, twisting a link every 8 to 10 inches. (To stuff the casings, put the sausage mixture into a sausage stuffer or a piping bag or a large Ziploc bag with the corner snipped off, then squeeze the mixture into the casings.)
Simmer the sausage in water to cover for 3 to 5 hours. It can be served immediately or chilled in the poaching liquid, then sliced and seared in butter until crispy. Makes 10 to 12 8-oz. sausages.
(* If you’re using plastic wrap, place 8 oz. of the sausage mixture on a piece of plastic wrap and roll like a sausage. Halfway through rolling, poke the plastic with a skewer to let air pockets out, then complete the rolling. When the sausage is tightly rolled, tie each end tightly with string and poach as described in the recipe. Remove the plastic wrap before slicing and searing the sausage.)