Friday, April 25, 2014

Hmong Sausage made w/ Ginger, Basil, and Spices

I've never had Hmong Sausage before. After reading about it I knew I wanted to try to make this delicacy because I love all of its ingredients individually. I first became aware of the Hmong and their sausages while reading Hank Shaw's excellent blog Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook. There Mr. Shaw outlines his recipe and the inspiration for it as well as walking you through his process. You can read my process here and see my recipe and inspirations after the break. This was the first sausage I made on my new STX Megaforce grinder. It worked like a champ and as you can see in the picture to the right it grinds well, all the meat was ground in about 2 minutes. 

(please read on after the break)

The Hmong apparently make good sausages. A cursory Google search turned up more than a half a dozen recipes. Four recipes stood out Hank Shaw, Hank Shaw(different), Hmong can cook, and Annie Vang. Across all recipes i found pork, fat, chilies, lime and salt. Three recipes had ground pepper, garlic, and ginger. Two featured cilantro, Thai basil, green onions, red onion, lemon grass, sugar, fish sauce, and some type of flour.

Of those ingredients some are a no go:
  • Fish sauce has a fine flavor once cooked but I have no other use for it and am not buying it to waste the rest. 
  • Sugar does not belong in things unless it serves a purpose.
  • Onions(already using garlic, why bother), lemongrass(have limes, why bother), and flour(the meat should be the texture) are also out.

My sausage will be left with:
  • Pork + Fat
  • Chilies
  • Lime
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Cilantro
  • Thai Basil
  • Salt & Pepper

I like the sounds of that: Ginger & lime are a good combo, chilies should spice it up, the fresh herbs will give it some aromatics, and who can deny salt and pepper?

My Recipe standing on the shoulders of others:

2.5 lbs    Pork shoulder, marbled
0.5 lbs    Pork fat
1/3 cups   Fresh ginger, minced
1/4 cups   Thai basil, chopped
1/4 cups   Thai chili paste 
2 Tbsp     Cilantro, chopped
2 Items    Garlic clove, minced
1 Item     Juice of one lime
1 Tbsp     Kosher salt
1 Tsp      Ground white pepper, fresh
Stuffed into natural hog casings.

The sausage was good. It was spicy , garlicy, and the ginger was present through but not overpowering. Some of the herbs were lost perhaps to the boiling. The sausageness of it was undeniable. The texture was almost spot on but still a little dry. The links were plump and full of meat. I think that the outcome of all of this was successful.

I enjoyed the sausage, It had heat from the chilies that was undenyable. It spiced up my mouth imediately. There was the undeniable presence of ginger but it wasn't at all overpowering. The fresh herbs weren't a standout in any way but were visually appealing when looking at the uncooked and cooked sausages. If/when I make more Hmong Sausage I'll probably include a bit more fat and salt.

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