Value Added Sausages

Sausages offer a great opportunity to create a new product. Whereas whole meats such as hams, butts, loins, and bacon offer less room to improvise, sausages can be made from countless combinations of meats, spices and different fillers. Those fillers make possible to produce a nutritious, yet very inexpensive products. Let’s assume that a family of eight persons live under the same roof and there are only two hard working providers. Buying quality meats is out of the question, the family must look for items which go on sale.

Take for example blood sausages which incorporate fillers such as rusk, barley, bread crumbs, or rice. Make your own version without blood, which in any case for people living in large cities is nearly impossible to obtain. Potatoes are much cheaper than meat and you get a lot of value when making Swedish potato sausage which tastes wonderful.

Boudin, the Cajun classical sausage is made with rice. Cajun cuisine is a great example how local conditions dictate the way meat products and sausage are made. A bit of history might strengthen the point. Acadia (what is known today as New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island in Canada) was the first permanent French settlement in North America, established at Port-Royal in 1607. In what is known as the Great Expulsion (le Grand Dérangement) of 1755-1763, during the Seven Years War between England and France (1755-1763) the British ordered the mass deportation of the Acadians. More than 14,000 Acadians (three-quarters of the Acadian population in Nova Scotia) were expelled by the British. Their homes were burned and their lands confiscated. Families were split up, and the Acadians were dispersed throughout the lands in North America; thousands were transported to France. Gradually, some managed to make their way to Louisiana, creating the Cajun population and culture after mixing with others there. The land they settled on was nothing like the fertile soil of Acadia. The climate was hot and humid, coastal areas abounded with swamps, alligators and snakes.

The popular crops were wheat, rice, sugarcane, sweet potatoes, peas, cabbage, turnips, and apples, and raised maize as a secondary crop. Barley, oats, and potatoes were also planted as feed for the livestock, including cattle, pigs, and poultry. These animals provided a steady supply of meat to the former Acadians, which they supplemented with fish. Living in such conditions Cajuns created a wonderful cuisine which combined the cooking art of Spanish, French, local natives, Filipinos and other ethnic groups. They have invented a unique style of cooking where fillers play an important part in a sausage formula. Often the sausage becomes a filler itself and becomes an ingredient of a more elaborate dish, for example gumbo or jambalaya.

Here presents itself a very attractive solution; why not to incorporate fillers into a sausage? This is not a new invention, sausages enriched with a filler material have been produced from the beginning and there are some great, time proven recipes. Emulsified sausages can easily incorporate fillers, vegetable proteins, and other ingredients which will blend in within the sausage mass. Basically any combination of meats and filling material that can be stuffed into a casings, can be called sausage. For example you have made a quantity of chili, which is basically ground meat, beans, and chili powder. If you stuff chili into a casing you will get chili sausage, won’t you? If your chili is to thin, add some bread crumbs to it or flour. Throw it on the grill or frying pan and the kids are getting the same chili they have been eating, but in a different form.

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