People take pictures of the Summer, just in case someone thought they had missed it, and to proved that it really existed. – Ray Davies
It appears that today is going to a beautiful one again. Since it’s actually summer now – and there's no excuse for being outside – I thought it may be a good time to post something easy for the barbecue (or inside if you're reading this in foul weather). We don’t want to miss the "outdoor eating season," right?
Usually sausage is cured or preserved in some way, but it can be fresh, stuffed or unstuffed. This fresh sausage meat can be used various ways – on pizza, stuffed and twisted into links, shaped for patties, or as meat balls and simmered in sauce.
What inspired me was some steak that I had hanging around in the refrigerator. It was begging to be used.
Since I had more than enough for one meal I thought it might be a good idea to turn it into something... hopefully something more flavourful. To me that’s sausage. I wondered what sort of beef sausages were “out there.”
There’s some usual kinds, like chorizo, but not very many people would put a chorizo patty on a bun. Other recipes I found just didn’t strike the right note with me. So I sort of struck out on my own.
I really liked my hot Italian pork sausage I made a few weeks ago (recipe here), so I wondered what would happen if I made something similar with beef. Of course, not being able to leave well enough alone I modified my original recipe to turn these into a sweet beef sausage.
This would make interesting and exceptional burgers on the BBQ. Interestingly none of it made it to that. We used half on a pizza with mozzarella, oregano, onions, mushrooms, mesclun greens and the fantastic eggplant pasta sauce I posted two days ago (recipe here).
The remainder will be shaped into meatballs and pre-baked in the oven. That way they don’t fall apart when simmered in sauce.
You don’t *have* to grind your own meat. My steak had a fair amount of fat which made it perfect for sausage. If using ground beef use regular. Extra lean or lean tends to dry out – especially when barbecued.
You don’t have to own a grinder. I admit I was lazy with this. I used our food processor to “grind” the meat to the consistency I wanted. I think it may be cheaper to buy and grind, whatever method you use. It all depends on the cut. As soon as barbecue season arrives it seems hamburger prices rise. Strange...
But back to the pizza. I almost always make my own pizza crust. It’s so easy to do – even if you work all day. All you need to do is mix everything together and let rise for the time you’re at work. You don’t even proof the yeast.
This crust turned out exceptionally well. It’s a thin crust, but with “holes.” It was also crispy. I don’t really know what I did differently this time but whatever it was I documented it and share it with you now.
So today, two recipes for the price of one. I guess the “price you pay” is having to put up with my ramblings to get to the recipes!
It’s supposed to be a glorious all weekend on the Eastern seaboard and so far, so good. Mix this up and fire up the grill. Your guests will be in for a pleasant surprise.
|I learned a while ago that if you cube your mozzarella it|
allows any topping to cook rather than steam.
Homemade Sweet Italian Beef Sausage
Prep: 10 min | Yield: 6 large patties
1-1/2 pounds medium ground beef
1 tbsp brown sugar
1-1/2 tsp sea salt
3 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried garlic
1/2 tsp cayenne powder
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.
If making “hamburger patties” you can shape and grill immediately. If making sausage, refrigerate overnight.
The next day either stuff into casings or form into patties (or meatballs) and cook. I find the overnight rest allows the flavours to spread a little more.
Thin Crispy Crust
Prep: 10 min | Yield: 12 x 20 crust
2 cup unbleached flour
1 cup water
2 tsp yeast
1 tsp salt
Mix and let rise through the day or for a minimum of 3 hours. Punch down, spread out and let rise for another 1/2 hour. Bake with toppings for 25 minutes at 425°F.
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