Charcutepalooza Project #6 – Tandoori Chicken Sausage and It’s My Birthday!!!
Today, I turn 26. June 15 is the best day of the year (biased) and I’m glad I get to share this specific recipe with you on a very special day.
You see, this month’s Charcutepalooza challenge was to make a poultry sausage. For most of the challenges, I have relied on Ruhlman’s recipe from the book, Charcuterie. I haven’t deviated at all from his careful instructions and very precise recipe. This month, I decided to make something of my own. Not only was I able to do it, but I think this could be one of the best sausages I have ever had.
Indian spiced chicken is perhaps my favorite dish on the planet. I’m having it for dinner tonight, and I could eat it every single day for the rest of my life. I like it that much. So, I really wanted to make a sausage that was representative of those flavors.
A few years ago, my mom’s aunt, who we affectionately call Masi Ba, came and stayed with us. Masi means your mom’s sister and Ba means grandmother, so Masi Ba refers to my maternal grandmother’s sister. She is a complete sweetheart and when she came to our house, she wouldn’t let anyone do anything. She insisted on doing all the cooking and even chores around the house. She’s would dress up exquisitely for parties and her radiant personality always shined through. One day when she was in the kitchen, I sat down with her and a notepad and proceeded to write down every single thing she did. They are a few cherished recipes, family secrets, and what Masi Ba has been making her whole life. She does it effortlessly, of course, just as she has for decades. And it tastes incredible – like nothing I’ve ever had before. Everytime I make the dish or eat it again, I’m reminded of the first time I tried it and I fall in love with the dish, again and again.
For those that don’t want to make the sausage, once you finish cooking the masala (don’t worry about cooking it until dry), add the chicken to the pot and cook it for about 25 minutes until it’s tender and serve over rice. It’s unbelievable.
So here is a recipe from the heart. A recipe that represents me, that represents my family. The spice mixture is a family heirloom. I hope you try it out, because this is one Epicurean Adventure that can become a staple in your house too!.
Tandoori Chicken Sausage
(recipe courtesy of Vivek Surti)
3.5 lbs chicken thigh meat, diced
1.5 lbs pork back fat, diced
2 onions, grated
2 tomatoes, grated
4 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
2 cardamom pods, crushed
1/2 tablespoon turmeric
2 tablespoons yogurt
1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper
7 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons grated ginger
2 serrano chiles, minced
1 tablespoon garam masala
Juice of 1 lime
40 grams kosher salt
1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons paprika
1 cup ice cold water
10 feet hog casings
First, you have to cook the masala. Heat some canola oil in a pot over medium heat and add the bay leaves, cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, and cloves. Allow the aromas to fill your kitchen and for the spices to toast a little. Add the grated onion and tomatoes. Season with salt and cook until nicely brown and caramelized, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add the turmeric and cayenne pepper and cook for another minute. Add the yogurt, garlic, ginger, serrano chiles, lime juice and garam masala. Cook the masala until it is completely dry and there is no visible moisture. This is key to ensuring your sausage becomes the correct texture. The finished masala should look like a seasoning paste.
Take the masala off the heat and let cool to room temperature. If you add hot masala to the chicken, the chicken will cook, so make sure the masala is extremely cold before adding it to the diced chicken and pork fat. Add cilantro and the salt to the chicken masala and let sit in the fridge overnight so everything gets really, really cold.
Put the chicken mixture through the small die on a meat grinder. Once all is ground, put the mixture in the bowl of your kitchen aid and start the mixture with the paddle attachment. Slowly add in the water until the mixture becomes very sticky, about 1 minute.
Cook the sausages to 160 degrees either by grilling or roasting.
Put the hog casings on the tube of your sausage stuffer and stuff into one huge link. Then, twist the casing to create 6 inch links.
I served mine with some yogurt, green chutney (cilantro, mint, jalapenos, lime juice, cumin, and water blended together), some sliced red onions, and lemons.