Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Making Boudin

Otto von Bismarck is oft misquoted with perhaps one of the most untrue statements of all time. (If you are scoring at home, that means he did not say something false.) The great German statesmen reportedly said, "Laws are like sausages- it is best not to watch either being made." While the theory behind this statement is that both are messy processes, a recent attempt at making boudin revealed that such a process is in fact a beautiful way to spend the afternoon.

The quest to make boudin at home began as a way to get geeked up for Boudin & Beer. This event, in conjunction with Emeril Lagasse's Carnivale du Vin will turn The Foundry into a Bastille of Boudin on November 11th. 27 Chefs will ply their interpretations of this most holy marriage of pork and rice all savored next to beer from Abita. We will be there with open stomachs and inappropriate innuendos

Back to the boudin. It began as most forays into cooking new things with well-placed emails to Cochon Butcher and Rare Cuts. The latter would supply me with 30 pounds of frozen pork liver. The former with enough sausage casings to circle a portly child 450 times (approximate). The pork liver defrosted, I carved away two massive livers from the bulk of organ meat sitting in the fridge. A pig's liver, if you have never seen it, is tremendously large. Three main flanks are joined by some connective tissue, it has a deep maroon color, and is shiny as a new coin. Also, it makes you wonder what the hell your liver could possibly look like.

I used as my guide through boudin the recipes encapsulated in Donald Link's Real Cajun and Emeril's Real and Rustic. Like Girl Talk, I mashed them up into a recipe of my liking which looked like this: for every two pounds of pork liver, I added 5 pounds of pork shoulder and 6 cups of rice, along with seasonings. Where Emeril called for green peppers, I subbed in Link's instruction to use jalapenos. The cubed liver, pork shoulder, onions, cayenne, jalapenos, green onions, salt, and pepper went into a large pot. I covered the mix with water and allowed it to simmer for about two hours, all the while skimming the foam that rose to the top.

While that simmered, we rinsed the sausage casing free of the salt they came packed in and dried them. My attempts at threading them onto the sausage stuffing attachment resulting in screaming and tearing of the thin membrane. Eventually, Lindsay had to step in and save the day. (I am setting up Bloggle for a sexually inappropriate joke here).

We ground the meat, liver, and seasoning mixture once through a wide dye on the meat grinder. Then we combined this mixture with the rice and a few too many scoops of the liquid the mixture had cooked in. While I liked the flavor of the boudin - it was rich, livery, hearty, and had a mean streak of spice - it came out a little too soft in the casing. This may also be because I didn't remove the dye when we stuffed it into the casing. Or I added to much boudin stock to the mixture. Or we drank too much beer. But irregardless, as they say in Boudin;s homeland, that is a lesson learned the hard, but delicious way. I'd rather make boudin any day of the week, than even pretend to care about politics.


Big Onion said...


From all the sausage I've made, I have a couple of tips:

Rub a little bit of olive oil on the tube before threading on the casings. Especially when you get towards the end of the casing they can get stuck, the casing overfilled, and breakage can happen.

If you take the grinding plate out you won't be able to fill the sausage (I tried, it's messy). Get yourself a stuffing plate if you don't have one already: http://www.onestopjerkyshop.com/meat-grinder-stuffing-plate-stainless-steel-1/

Lastly, I've never let the casings dry. I always keep them in some cool water until I thread them on the stuffing tube. You might have a lot less trouble threading it if it remains wet.

Great post, though! I'll have to give this a try. Been wanting to make some boudin for a long time.

Hopefully by then I'll have one of these stuffers. Supposedly infinitely easier than using the grinder for stuffing: http://www.onestopjerkyshop.com/5-lbs-vertical-sausage-stuffer-1/

Jones said...

Kudos to you (and the wife) for taking on this challenge.

I second the not letting the casings dry. While I agree with the rinsing, I just remember them sitting in liquid prior to threading the tube.

My question is how much did you cook the rice prior to stuffing? I've heard of a few different methods here & it mainly depends on how you are serving the boudin (steamed vs. oven roasted for crisp casing). It also begs the question, how did you prepare it once stuffed?

FWIW that is a serious undertaking. There's a reason why the majority of people just buy it from somewhere else...

PS Irregardless. Classic.

candice said...

I got into a conversation with the guys at butcher one day re: the fresh boudin, they say that they let it drain for at least a day before cooking it.

I've made loose italian sausage before and it was awesome. Haven't tried the casing attachment on my kitchenaid yet.