In our house, this week was all about sazeracs, sausage, and wishing we were in New Orleans. Our favorite little spot in the Big Easy is Cochon Butcher, run by the meat king of New Orleans, Donald Link. Of all the wonderful charcuterie that he pumps out of his restaurants, the one that most exemplifies the flavor and flare of the city is his Boudin.
Boudin is a sausage most commonly made of a cooked pork shoulder, pork liver and pepper mixture that gets tossed with cooked rice. It’s not only delicious, it’s incredibly versatile. You can stuff it in a casing or keep it “loose.” We roll it up in balls for deep frying, stuff chickens with it, and use it to make killer bite-size party snacks with mushrooms. And we eat it all year long. Every time we whip up a batch, we fill freezer bags with the stuff to save for the next time we want to add a kick to a meal.
The booze is actually one of the few things we changed about Link’s original recipe, found in Primal Cuts: Cooking With America’s Best Butchers by Marissa Guggiana. He simmers the meat and peppers in water—we poured a full Mardi Gras Bock by Abita in the pot before we filled it the rest of the way with water. If you can’t find that beer in your area, try an Abita Amber, or whatever other beer you happen to be guzzling.
We know what you’re probably thinking: “So, you’re consuming more pork and booze for Lent?”
2 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
½ pound pork liver, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 small onion, chopped
3 Celery stalks, chopped
2 medium poblano peppers, stemmed, seeded, chopped
3 medium jalapenos, stemmed, seeded, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
4 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon white pepper
½ teaspoon pink salt (curing salt)
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
12-ounce Abita Mardi Gras Bock or Amber
7 cups cooked white rice
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup chopped scallions
Combine the pork, liver, vegetables, and the seasonings in a freezer bag or covered bowl, and marinate for one hour or overnight, in the refrigerator.
Place the marinated mixture in a large pot and pour in beer. Then cover meat with water (by 1 to 2 inches). Bring mixture to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the meat is tender, about 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat and strain, reserving the liquid. Allow the mixture to cool slightly, then put all of the ingredients through a meat grinder set on a coarse grind. (Donald says that at this point, if you don’t own a meat grinder, you can simply chop with a knife.)
Place the ground meat in a large bowl. Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, mix in the cooked rice, parsley, scallions, and the reserved cooking liquid. Stir vigorously for 5 minutes. When the boudin-rice mixture is first combined, it looks very wet and it’s pretty spicy. Donald says not to worry — when you eventually get around to cooking the boudin (whether that’s inside a chicken or hot oil) the rice will absorb that excess moisture.
Now, be creative and find fun ways to use it.
Recipe adapted from Primal Cuts: Cooking With America’s Best Butchers by Marissa Guggiana (Welcome Books, 2010)