Sunday, 26 September 2010

Italian Sausage and Red Pepper Relish - and the Joys of Renovating

One of these things is not like the other...

When renovating, one likes to think of paint colours, fabric swatches, objets d'art and console tables. One rarely thinks of the fact that they will have a toilet sitting at the basement bar (as handy as that may sound) for a month! One does not factor in one's hard-working spouse getting sick mid reno, and one really should be sainted for not braining said spouse when the cold lasted more than the allowed week.
Instead the sainted one busies herself upstairs with homemade sausage, and homemade relish. Because she is cool like that. And she wants him to get better, and stronger. Fast. And finish the freaking bathroom. Before she finds something else for him to do. Did I mention that she made him delicious fresh Italian sausage?

Homemade Italian Sausage
Makes 1.5 lb, adapted from Symon's Live To Cook by Joanne of Eats Well with Others

1 1/2 lb (fatty) pork shoulder, either diced or ground by your grocer
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp fennel seeds, toasted

1. Combine the meat, sugar, salt, garlic, and fennel seeds in a bowl.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

2. If you diced the meat, then grind the sausage in a grinder or food processor.  Return it to the fridge to cool for 30 minutes.  If you bought the meat already ground, then you are good to go! (I ground my own)
Shape into logs or patties and cook through. (150°+)

Red Pepper Relish
Makes 2 cups, adapted from Symon's Live To Cook by Joanne of Eats Well with Others

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 small red onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded and diced very finely
2 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1 tbsp coriander seeds, toasted
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (Joanne used POM)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. Heat a medium nonreactive saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add the olive oil to glaze the bottom of the pan.  Add the onion, garlic, and salt and sweat until the onion begins to soften, about 2 minutes.  Add the bell peppers and jalapenos and sweat for 2 more minutes.  Add the coriander seeds and cook for another 30 seconds.

2. Add the sugar and vinegar and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves.  Add the pomegranate juice and simmer.  Stir occasionally, until the liquid completely reduces.  Michael says this only take 10 minutes. Joanne figures that is a lie.  15-20 minutes seems better.  Remove from the heat and allow the relish to cool to room temperature.  Season with salt to taste and fold in the cilantro.  Refrigerate for up to 1 month.