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Taking the Cure: Charcuterie Class at the FCI Part 3

(post, John Dryzga)

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Every obstacle possible was thrown in my way as I tried to make it to the last session of charcuterie class at the French Culinary Institute.  Just missing the bus, construction on the train tracks, and other wrenches were thrown my way as I hurried to Broadway and Grand.  I made it to the kitchen with just a few minutes to spare for the most interesting class yet.

First up was saucisson a l'ail, garlic sausage with pistachios.  A version of this makes its way onto just about every charcuterie plate.  We cubed up some pork butt and mixed it with TenderQuick(salt and nitrate mixture), sugar, black pepper, red wine(very cold) and garlic.  We chilled this down a bit before giving it a medium grind and mixing in the nuts.  This was put into a medium beef casing so it was a fairly fat sausage.  We pooled are sausages and they were put into a water bath to cook.

While are current project was simmering away, last weeks marque project, the foie gras terrine, was given a taste test.  OH MY GOD, it was good, very, very, good.  Getting elbow deep in duck liver was so worth it.

The garlic sausage was done by lunchtime, so they added an additional element to the meal.  They too were, very, very good.  They did pack a powerful garlic punch.  A pungency that would certainly preclude them from a first date menu. but would satisfy Francophiles everywhere.

Our last hands on challenge was bratwurst.  Bratwurst are emulsified sausage.  You have to make the meat and the fat play nice and mix together as making a mayonnaise or a vinaigrette.  After the ingredients goes through the grinder, they get to take a spin in a food processor with some crushed ice to make a smooth paste.  Before it could be stuffed in a casing, this mixture had to be cooled down.

While our bratwurst was cooling its heels, Chef Pascal announced he had a surprise, he would demo how to make blood sausage.  Making sausages in general is not the most genteel undertaking, but making blood sausage was a very messy process.  The kind of project you do in other people's kitchens.  The family story of Grandpa John unsuccessfully passing on his Polish blood sausage recipe was writ large in the aftermath of this undertaking.

All too soon, our bratwurst was cooked, our stations were cleaned, and goodbyes were said.  This was a very fun, but far too short of a class.  I think we need to reconvene next year to taste the prosciutto Chef Pascal made.