Week 5- Stuffing Sausages ;)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

This week was a little rougher than last week. We began working with forcemeats. For those of you who are not aware, forcemeats are items such as sausages, pates, terrines, etc. This week we were making sausages.

Let me begin by saying that I know this is quite odd for a future chef, but raw meat makes me anxious. I have overcome this fear in many circumstances and have come to successfully, and even confidently, break down whole chickens and trim different cuts of beef for cooking. Creating forcemeat, however, was a whole new realm of raw meat. I think the reason I have such anxiety over meat is because there is the large potential of making people sick if not cooked properly. This potential is magnified with forcemeats because of the small parts that are used in the many machines that it is processed on, as well as the fact that it comes into contact with so many surfaces and is handled so much. Every time it touches a new surface, there is the potential for cross contamination. Throw in the temperature factor of each piece of equipment, having to keep all items, food and equipment, on an ice bath and you have an extremely anxious Heather. So much so that I took anti anxiety meds halfway through class on Monday and took them before class even began on Tuesday. My anxiety level was at least a 7 and wasn’t changing over time. For this reason, I decided it was worth it to take one of my pills. It helped bring me down to maybe a 4, which is only 1 over where I usually reside on a constant basis of about a 3. I know. It sucks.

So. Forcemeats. One thing I did enjoy this week was the fact that the class was split into four groups and each group prepared two types of sausage. This meant that we worked as a group on one recipe instead of each person taking on average three recipes to prepare in one class. Amanda and I prepared Mortadella Bolognase, or in American terms, bologna. First we had to dice pork and pork fat back. Then we had to grind the pork through the grinder twice- once on a larger die and once on the small die. Then we had to do the same with the fat back into a separate bowl. They were pureed together with ice and spices, and then dry milk was added. Then additional fat back and pistachios were folded in and the whole mixture was stuffed into a plastic casing to be cooked in a thermocirculator. We did not have a finished product to take pictures of, however, because it took longer to cook than Chef realized. We will see the final product next week.

This is the finished forcemeat to be stuffed in the bright orange casing in the background.

Here is what I think of it.

On Tuesday, we were in the same groups and we used to sausages we prepared the day before to prepare dishes. Amanda and I, along with a couple of other people here and there, worked on Bangers and Mash, and a Muffaletta. I was primarily responsible for the plating of the Bangers and Mash and was SO happy with how it turned out.

Amanda plated the Muffaletta.

I like this week because we had less to do so we were able to take time to think about our plating and if we wanted to create sides. I came up with the fried potatoes and sweet potatoes to go with the Muffaletta and the different look to them. I also fried the thyme and basil that was on the top of the Bangers and Mash.
Overall this week went much better than anticipated. I’m sure the xanax had something to do with that. I’m sure the playful atmosphere had something to do with it, too. I mean, you can’t really have a class on stuffing sausages without some jokes being tossed around, right?


jennifer said...

Conquer those fears girl!!!! The potatoes were an awesome touch, i love that they are all curly...so cute :)

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