Sausage is a signature food of almost
every country and region of the world. We in South Louisiana have our own
signature too but, as with our dishes, the sausage for the most part is a mixture
of the cooking origins of the people. I found that sausage existed in 500 B.C.! Read
Not only do we love sausages but, like many places, we make our own and of
course, we add the Cajun Punch to it! Making sausage takes a little time but is
a fun thing to do with the family. Hunting season brings a wealth of deer
sausage to the table and believe me some of this stuff is so good you can use it
in place of such favorites as andouille. I made
an oyster and deer sausage dressing a while back and, let me tell you, none of it got cold in
the ice box as leftovers! Chicken and sausage gumbo is a killer dish and
everybody's favorite when it comes to heart warming home cooked food.
Chaurice (not chorizo) is a creole sausage and is popular in
Andouille is today a seasoned ham originating in France and used for
seasoning vegetables, and other dishes. The original andouille was actually
casings stuffed in a casing. I don't have a clue what that was used for. Andouille, tasso, boudin and others were products
of a "charcuterie" (shar-coo-tur-ee),
or, "cooker of meats" originating as far back as the 15th century. We
hadn't invented the ice box yet so it was all preserved by smoking and salt
preservation. At least that's what I figure.
Boudin could be considered a sausage I guess, and, is a big deal in
Lafayette, LA. It's not unusual to have some boudin and fresh cracklins for
breakfast! Boudin is basically a rice dressing made into sausage links. You can
buy it cold and hot so when you're passing though South Louisiana always carry
an ice chest and a roll of paper towels. When you stop at one of the meat
markets you can get a couple of hot (cooked)
links to eat with your french bread, and, you can throw a few pounds in the ice
chest to bring home. Doing this will maintain your "hero"
If you want to make your own sausage you need a grinder, sausage stuffing
attachment and casings. The nice thing about making it is you can not only have
a party doing it, but you can make it often less than half the price of store
bought. The internet if packed with sausage making information.
Store-bought smoked sausage is usually pre-cooked and
ready to eat. This type is made with everything from pork to beef to
turkey to chicken and variations of all of them. Grease content is a
factor with smoked sausage as is flavor. I try to get to
"know" a sausage, that is, I want to know its' flavor and
grease content. I might use one type of sausage to barbecue and
another to make a gumbo with because of grease and flavor. I then
figure out what to do with it for the application.
Example 1: Let's say you have a sausage that has a great flavor
but is really greasy and you want to use it in a gumbo. Simple,
slice it up and in a separate pot boil the sausage in water for a few minutes to extract the
grease. Discard the water.
Example 2: Suppose you have a sausage with a really great flavor
but if you put it in a gumbo it overpowers the taste. Again boil it
in water a few minutes to reduce to strength of the flavor.
I think you see where I'm going with this...
Homemade or fresh sausage is often purchased at local groceries
in South Louisiana. It's normally not pre-cooked as smoked sausage
is, so, you must cook it. If you're going to use it in a dish you
can either fry it on the side or just throw it in the pot of food
you are cooking. Fresh sausage is made with fat of some sort and
water. The water aids in cooking the sausage, and, gives it a moist
final product. Keeping this in mind; cook fresh sausage until it's
done, then if you must, pierce it to release the grease and
immediately take if off the heat.