Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sausage Party!

Sometimes it's difficult to come up with a protein that is new and interesting. There's only so many things you can do with a chicken breast, and a steak is just a steak. I tend to get stuck on an idea just because I'm bored with the monotony of a simple protein, even though to the rest of the world sees them in a better light.

While I do have a list of the types of meats and seafood that I have used for specials in the past, I realized this past weekend that there is one area that I haven't taken advantage of enough: some of the great sausages produced locally.

We already use sausages from Cascioppo Brothers for our corndogs and our brunch, sides, and I have been using a sweet Italian blend from Isernio's for my sausage gravy that adorns my happy hour fried chicken sliders as well as the chicken fried steak brunch item that I love. I realized that if Isernio's Italian sausage is so great, I bet their chorizo would be too!! So for the idea that I was stuck on simply using pork tenderloin again I opted instead to pan roast a couple of links of the spicy Mexican variety instead.

What I also wanted to do is incorporate some of the seasonal ingredients that I was going to use with a more simple meat, which actually played very well with the spiciness of the chorizo sausage.

For the sauce I had the thought to infuse fresh apple cider with roasted ginger, like you would do for Vietnamese Pho, along with beef stock, caramelized onions, sage, thyme and a small length of cinnamon stick. I originally wanted the ginger to be more pronounced, but I had already used a lot of ginger in the first place and I was really happy with the way that it turned out.
To keep with the Autumn flavors of the sauce I made a puree of celery root, one of my favorite ingredients despite my general dislike for the standard variety (even though they are technically different plants). I used half and half, milk and some water to cook the root along with some potato to help make it a thick, creamy puree that still had some of the deep characteristics that the root has to offer.

Finally, to balance some of the sweetness of the sauce I sauteed broccoli rabe, or rapini, in onions and garlic with a little butter and extra virgin olive oil. The bitterness of the rapini is also commonly combined with the likes of sausage, especially spicy ones, so it fit really well into this dish. 

Last year I had made an attempt of creating a caramel apple cocktail for this season but I wasn't as successful as I would like to have been. That was probably due to my lack of bartending experience and the fact that, at the time, I didn't have the experienced staff that I do now to confer with.

One of my new servers, Carolyn, has had a lot of bartending experience and has offered one of her cocktails - a Fuji Apple - to be added to the expanded drink list that I plan for Americana,  the future of Table 219. We had the chance to work the drink further and finally perfect the seasonal cocktail that I originally wanted.

We started by muddling fresh lime wedges with ice before adding the unlikely Southern Comfort with Apple Pucker and Baileys Creme Caramel. It's shaken and strained and garnished with a slice of a lady apple - a cute little varietal that reminds me of a crab apple, but much sweeter and more flavorful.

With Love,


1 comment:

  1. Oh, no! It's true that you're changing the name of the restaurant!! That might be the only thing I'm wary about regarding this exciting change ...

    Anyway, I love sausages! They're so useful that I tend to keep some in stock in the freezer and most of the time use them out of their casing. I also have Aidells' Sausage Book that I refer to to season ground meat for stuff. Yum!