Before Thanksgiving shows up and I stuff my face with all things poultry and cranberry, I decided to enjoy the wonderful holiday flavors in tube form. Fresh cranberries are in season, that sage plant my lovely red-haired fiance grew all summer is about to become less accessible when it gets covered in a foot of snow, and God knows my meat grinder doesn’t get enough use. On Friday, I wrote a rough draft of the recipe below and followed it. I tweaked a few things as the day went along, but I think I have created a delightful fall sausage. If you don’t want to take the time to stuff the sausage into casings, these work just fine in patty form or could even be gently smoked in loaf form. I got everything I needed at McGonigle’s Meat Market, including the casings.
I present to you, my homage to Thanksgiving flavors, all encased in a little hog intestines:
Cranberry Sage Turducken Sausage
1 pound boneless duck breast
3 pounds boneless turkey thighs
2 pounds boneless chicken breast
2 pounds boneless chicken thighs
2 pounds bacon,
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
12-15 leaves of fresh sage, chopped
1 Tablespoon of dried mustard
2 cups fresh cranberries (reserve one cup for later – one will be used in the cranberry jam)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup cranberry juice
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 Tablespoon cardamom
salt and pepper to taste
Put the poultry and bacon in the freezer so it hardens, about 30 minutes. Once it is harder (not frozen all the way through, but it will be much easier to deal with) cube the meat. Then cut the bacon to lardons. Add salt and pepper, as well as dried mustard and garlic cloves. Grind the meat through the coarse setting on your meat grinder and place the meat in the fridge (or freezer) to keep cool.
In a small sauce pan, combine the cranberries, cranberry juice, water and reduce for 5-10 minutes. You want the cranberries to begin breaking down but you don’t want them to turn to mush. Then add the vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar, and cardamom. Stir to incorporate and then remove from heat and bring to room temp, then transfer to the fridge for at least thirty minutes. If it is seems to watery, do not worry, it will firm up as it cools.
Combine the ground meat mixture, the cooled cranberry jam, and the reserved cup of fresh cranberries, mix. Grind the meat mixture again and place in hog casings. Smoke, roast, grill, boil, or do whatever you want with the sausage.