Sunday, June 05, 2005


Chicken, Date & Honey Sausages*

Why hello there dear readers! How are you today? Good? I'm so glad to hear it!

Are you all familiar with Paper Chef? It’s a virtual, on-line cooking thingy brought to you every month by the dashing, daring and darling, Owen of Tomatilla, and judged by the exceedingly talented Julie of A Finger in Every Pie. Basically, four ingredients are chosen and the lot of us food bloggers with too much free time rally round the cause and cook up a storm to see who makes what and how.

Sadly, every time I think about entering, it is either a month with ingredients I haven’t got time to rustle up, combinations I’m just not keen on or I just plain run out of time. Which is why, when this months surprise requirements of Buttermilk, Dates, Eggs and Honey were announced, I wasn’t jumping on any bandwagon. Turns out though, after a harrowing week being off line, and a curious urge to make chicken forcemeat sausages, I decided to give it a whirl…what the heck right? Turns out, I made a sound choice, and am happily digesting the results. This is my first foray into the Paper Chef world, and win or lose, I’m glad I gave it the old college try.

I whipped these tasty morsels up in about 5 minutes (plus about 15 minutes of cooking and an hour long chill in the fridge). It was so simple, used only ingredients I already had on hand, and was inspired and delicious. I was trying to go for a middle-eastern feel with the dates (because, other than people in Palm Desert, who really eats dates?) and honey, without ending up with a dessert. The solution was in the addition of the red pepper flakes and copious amounts of black pepper, sure signs this is no post meal pudding.

I served them sliced cold, on a salad of mixed greens with a honey-mustard dressing and was extremely pleased with the overall taste. Perhaps in the future I will skip the buttermilk, since I don’t think it added anything, but the honey was a good note and the dates added interesting texture to such a smooth sausage. Speaking of smooth, it would have been more traditional (read: French) to have passed the mixture through a fine mesh sieve before adding the rest of the ingredients, but I haven’t got one, and am happy bucking the system anyway…

I hope you will try making forcemeat sometime too, it’s a great way to use up bits from the fridge (I also made salmon sausages while I was bothering. Same principle really…protein, cream, eggs, season, create emulsion, poach) and tastes dynamite. I wish they took a prettier picture, but as you can see (below) they are a little pale to pop. Anyway...try, and ENJOY!

1 egg
1 chicken breast, cooked
Thigh meat of chicken, cooked, cubed
½ teaspoon salt
a few grinds of fresh black pepper
1 large pinch red pepper flakes
1 clove of garlic
3 tablespoons cooked white rice
½ teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon buttermilk
3 tablespoons heavy cream
4 large dates, chopped large
1 tablespoon parsley, minced
A few cashews, toasted, chopped

In a food processor, combine the egg, white meat of the chicken, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, garlic, honey, buttermilk. Puree until smooth. Slowly add the heavy cream until incorporated.

Stir in the dates, dark meat, parsley, cashews and parsley. Mix to incorporate.

Have ready on your counter a 1.5 foot long piece of SaranWrap. In the center of the Saran, scoop out a long snake of the chicken mixture. Fold the plastic over it, hold the ends, and roll along the counter to create a tight packet. Tie off the ends. Repeat with tinfoil, twisting the ends tightly.

Chill for 15 minutes to set.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a gentle simmer, place the foil packet into the water, with the ends curled up. Poach for 15-20 minutes, depending on the thickeness of the sausage.

Remove the pan from the heat, and allow the sausage to chill in the water about 1 hour. Remove from water, but keep in the foil until ready to eat.

This sausage is fully cooked, so it is good col, sliced onto salads, as an hors devour with a honey-mustard sauce or grilled (carefully) and tossed with pasta.

Makes one large sausage, enough for 2 people or 4 appetizers.


* Due to confusion as to what this recipe was, I changed the name from Chicken Sausages with Dates and Honey.

TOKYO, Wednesday, June 1 - To combat growing food shortages, the North Korean government is sending millions of city dwellers to work on farms each weekend, largely to transplant rice, according to foreign aid workers.

"The staff that work for us, the staff that work in the ministries, are going out to help farmers," said Richard Ragan, director of World Food Program operations in Pyongyang, referring to North Koreans who work for the program. Speaking by telephone on Wednesday, he said that in terms of food supplies North Koreans "are inching back to the precipice."

"It does happen every year," he said of the mobilization of workers to the fields, "but the difference this year is that everyone is involved."

Gerald Bourke, a World Food Program spokesman, said Wednesday that on a recent visit to the port of Wonsan, "We saw thousands of people who were marching out of the city."

"Later, we saw them digging out irrigation canals," he said, speaking by telephone from Beijing.
A decade ago, up to two million North Koreans starved to death in one of the rare peacetime famines of modern history. The famine was caused by a cutoff in Soviet aid, a collapse of North Korea's industrial economy, and the reluctance of a highly xenophobic government to receive foreign aid.

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Brilliant! I've never made my own sausages, but you're motivating me in that direction. They sound absolutely delicious!
Wow. Your suasages sound absolutely fanstatic. Making my own sausages is something I've always wanted to do. What a stellar effort! I am curiious as to why some of the chicken meat is pre-cooked and some is raw.

In this recipe the chicken was all cooked. Technically (now that I look)a forcemeat (also known as a farce)is made with raw ingredients. I normally do that, but in this case, had a lot of juicy chicken left over...

Anyway, thanks for the comments! I love Paper Chef!
Rachael - a truly impressive debut. I've made sausages before, but only the cased kind. (We made them when I was a kid - I still vividly remember the casings and squeezing the filling into them and twisting them off).
Wonderful idea- I've always wanted to make sausages itstead of being ruled by stores' sausage flavor ideas.

Great inspiration
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