Canadian whisky sausage with herbes salées

One of the things that makes cassoulet seem so monumental is the variety of meats included in it. But there’s no reason you have to make them all the same day as you cook the beans. Then again, you can… and in this case, I nearly did. The “set it and forget it” sous-vide duck confit certainly helped make things easier. The fact that I already had some cured, unsmoked bacon in the freezer did, too. So the only thing that really took any focus when making the cassoulet was the sausage.

I haven’t been explicitly participating in Charcutepalooza, but I’ve been impressed by the project. I usually do a charcuterie project about every month or so anyway: in January, I cured several pounds of bacon, with both sweet and savoury cures. And this month, apparently, it was fresh sausage.

I learned how to make sausage from Charcuterie, and it’s a great resource with some great recipes, but for the basics, you need go no further than Ratio. The essentials of sausage are pork, pork fat, and salt; everything beyond that is a variation.

In an effort to render my cassoulet a little more “local,” I drew on Julia Child’s recipe for saucisse de Toulouse, but made variations to the seasoning to give it a Canadian twist, notably through the inclusion of herbes salées and Canadian whisky (in place of the Cognac called for by Child). Although I have a sausage stuffer, I decided to go the rustic route, forming patties instead, and frying them briefly before adding them to the cassoulet.

How to make Canadian whisky sausage with herbes salées

This is an exact transcription of how I made the sausage, working with what I had on hand. It made enough for 16 decent-sized patties, of which I used 4 in my cassoulet. You can scale it up or down as you like. Note that the proportion of salt called for here is lower than is typical for sausage, since the herbes salées are salty. If you can’t find herbes salées, add some fresh herbs and raise the kosher salt to 18 grams.

928 grams pork shoulder, including some fat cap
156 grams pork back fat
13 grams kosher salt
10 grams herbes salées
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
A few grindings of black pepper
50 ml. Canadian whisky, chilled
65 ml. ice water

Before you begin, make sure all your ingredients and equipment are well chilled by putting them in the fridge or freezer. (Don’t freeze the ingredients solid, though!) Dice the pork shoulder and pork fat, and mix well with the salt, herbes salées, nutmeg, garlic and black pepper. Pass the mixture through a meat grinder, using the small plate. If necessary, chill the ground meat in the fridge until it is very cold again. Place it in the bowl of a stand mixer, and mix on medium speed, dribbling in the whisky and ice water, until the mixture is well combined and looks sticky. Using wet hands, form the sausage mixture into patties (or stuff it into casings or keep it as bulk sausage), and cook and serve as desired.

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