Toulouse Sausage

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One of the joint culinary loves of Australians and Frenchmen alike is that of the sausage. The humble sausage is deeply entrenched in the food culture of each nation, whether is be as the quintessential BBQ food Down Under or as the staple at every French country table. But while snags are often relegated to summer dinners and hardware store parking lots here, the French relationship with the sausage is closer to one of hero worship. That’s not to say you can’t find excellent, quality sausages in Aussie butchers, but back in France there’s just so much history and variety in grind of meat, herbs, and sizes.

Most regions have their own specialty, like so many foods in France, and today I’m showing you a personal favourite. It’s the Toulouse sausage (named after the town). It’s a pork sausage characterized by a courser grind, usually prepared in a long string and presented as a coil. They are also the sausage that is used to make the perfect Cassoulet.

Toulouse Sausage:

Ingredients:

  • 600g pork shoulder
  • 200g pork belly
  • 200g pork neck
  • 16g salt
  • 5g ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon 4 spice
  • 1 small glass white wine, about 80ml
  • sausage casings
  • 30 ml cognac
  • 6 garlic cloves, grated
  • pinch of Herb de Provençe

Method:

  1. Soak the casings in warm water for ½ hour before using.
  2. Put the meat through a the meat mincer equipped with the coarse grid.
  3. Then add the white wine, cognac, salt, pepper and the spices. Mix well, cover with cling film and place in the fridge for a couple of hours to marinate the mince.
  4. Once rested, mix well and put the meat in the sausage skin using the sausage attachment on your mincer. Don’t go too fast as you need to make sure the meat is compressed enough in the skin, so there is no air pocket and also that they are the right size.
  5. Hang the sausage in a cool dry place and they are ready to use the next day or alternatively you can also freeze them!

Tips: You can make individual sausages by pinching and twisting the sausage, the size is up to you. Personally I prefer to cook whole so it stays juicier and it’s also better for sharing.

Serving suggestion: I served my Toulouse sausage with a Rocket, Packam pear, Roquefort and walnut salad dressed with a raspberry vinegar dressing.

Matching wine: Chateau Viranel “Arome Sauvage” from http://www.airoldifinewines.com.au

 

 

Haricot Couennes

Haricot Couennes

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On my recent trip to France I had the pleasure of joining my Mum in her kitchen to prepare a family feast. For the main course we made Confit de Canard (Confit Duck Legs) and on the side, a dish I had completely forgotten about these past few years, but was overjoyed to be reacquainted with. Haricot Couennes is a slow cooked lingot bean dish (the same beans as used for a Cassoulet) with roughly chopped chunks of pork rind (known as Couennes), onion and herbs. The fatty pork rind injects oodles of flavour and the stewing process creates a rich sauce, just begging to be mopped up with crusty rustic bread. A traditional dish of the Dordogne region, it was the perfect garnish for our duck, but it would work equally well with a good steak, chicken breast or pork fillet.

Serve with a good red wine such as Hermitage or a Cote Rotie. Available from www.airoldifinewines.com.au (côte rôtie only).

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Ingredients:

  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 bunch thyme, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 10cl white wine
  • 250g lard (pork rind)
  • 1kg haricot beans (unless you can find lingot beans)

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Method:

  1. Soak the beans in cold water the night before.
  2. Cook the haricot beans in salted water for about 1hour. You still want the beans to be a little firm. Once cooked, drain half the cooking liquid and keep the other half in the pot with the beans.
  3. At the same time, but in a separate pot, cook the lard in salted water but for ¾ of an hour, as this will soften the lard. Drain all the liquid and place the lard to the side.
  4. Heat up a large casserole pot (a Le Creuset or similar is ideal, if you have one) on medium heat with some olive oil. Add the onion, garlic and thyme and cook for a few minutes. Then add the tomato paste and cook a few more minutes, to get rid of the bitterness of the paste.
  5. Dice the cooked lard and add it to the casserole, give everything a good stir and deglaze with the wine.
  6. Add the beans and the cooking liquid. Cook for about 15 minutes, season with salt and pepper.