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Taste the Big Easy: Boudin & Beer

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CATEGORIES: Feature   Food  

New Orleans’ Boudin & Beer (Nov. 2) draws a lively crowd of cowboy boots and cocktail dresses to sip local brew and taste versions of classic Creole sausages from 50 regional chefs. Among them are three names you already know: Emeril Lagasse, Mario Batali and Donald Link, who all show up in the flesh. To wash down the deliciousness, Abita cracks open an unbelievable lineup of regular and super-specialty selections. It’s the lead-in event to the following night’s upscale charity wine auction, Carnivale du Vin; both events benefit the Emeril Lagasse Foundation, which supports local and national efforts to bring healthier food and the culinary arts to kids. If you can’t make it to the Big Easy for Boudin & Beer, re-create it at home: Grab a six-pack of Abita and give Emeril, Donald and Mario’s best recipes a try.

Donald Link’s Boudin

makes 4 pounds


2 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes

½  pound pork liver, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 small onion, chopped medium

2 celery stalks, chopped medium

1 medium poblano pepper, chopped medium

3 medium jalapeños, chopped medium

6 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

4 tablespoons kosher salt

½ teaspoon curing salt

2 tablespoons black pepper

1 tablespoon white pepper

2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon chili powder

7 cups cooked white rice

1 cup parsley, finely chopped

1 cup chopped scallions (whites and greens)

natural pork casings, rinsed


• In a large bowl, combine the pork, liver, vegetables, garlic, salts, peppers, cayenne and chili powder, and let marinate 1 hour or overnight in the refrigerator.

• Transfer the meat-vegetable mixture to a large pot, and add enough water to cover the mixture by one to two inches. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer until the meat is tender, about 1 hour 45 minutes.

• Remove the pot from heat and strain, reserving the

liquid. Allow the mixture to cool slightly, then pass all ingredients through a meat grinder set to a coarse grind.

• Place the ground meat in a large bowl. Using your hands or a rubber spatula, mix in the cooked rice, parsley, scallions and the reserved cooking liquid. Mix vigorously for 5 to 10 minutes by hand or using a mixer.

• Slide about 2 to 3 yards of the rinsed casings onto the nozzle of a sausage stuffer, and begin to feed the sausage. Tie a knot on the end of the casing once sausage starts to fill it. Guide the sausage on to a sheet pan that has a little water in it, to keep the casings from drying out and cracking, then twist the sausage into 6- to 8-inch links. Poach the links gently in hot (not boiling) water for about 10 minutes and serve.


Mario Batali’s Merguez Sausage

makes 5 pounds


1 tablespoon cumin seed

1 tablespoon coriander seed

1 tablespoon fennel seed

4 pounds lamb shoulder, run through a

10mm coarse grinding plate (ask your butcher to handle the grinding!)

1 pound pork belly, run through a 4.5mm medium grinding plate

¼ cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped

10 garlic cloves, minced

3 tablespoons kosher salt

2 tablespoons sweet pimentón (Spanish paprika)

2 tablespoons cayenne pepper

olive oil, for cooking


• In a small skillet over medium-low heat, toast the cumin, coriander and fennel seed until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the warm spices to a spice grinder and grind to powder.

• In a large bowl, combine the spice powder and the remaining ingredients; mix well. Form the lamb mixture into 1/2-inch-thick, 4-inch-long cigars, or stuff into lamb casings and chill overnight.

• Brush the sausages with oil and grill until browned and cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F.


Emeril Lagasse’s Boudin Sausage Balls

makes about 30


1¼ pounds pork butt, cut into 1-inch cubes

½ pound pork liver, rinsed in cool water

1 quart plus 2 tablespoons water

½ cup yellow onions, chopped medium

¼ cup green bell peppers, chopped medium

¼ cup celery, chopped medium

1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

¾ teaspoon ground black pepper

½ cup minced parsley leaves, plus extra for garnish

½ cup chopped scallions, greens only

3 cups cooked medium-grain rice

6 cups vegetable oil, for frying

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon Essence seasoning, plus more for dusting

2 large eggs

1 cup fine dry breadcrumbs


• In a large saucepan, combine the pork butt, pork liver, 1 quart water, onions, bell peppers, celery, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer until the pork and liver are tender, 11/4 to 11/2 hours.

• Remove from the heat and drain, reserving the broth.

• Using a meat grinder with a 1/4-inch die or a food processor, grind the pork mixture, parsley and green onions. Turn the mixture into a mixing bowl. Stir in the rice, remaining salt, cayenne and black pepper. Add the reserved broth 1/2 cup at a time and mix thoroughly to make a smooth, firm paste. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Let sit until cool enough to handle.

• In a large pot, preheat the vegetable oil to 360 degrees F.

• In a shallow bowl, combine the flour with 1 tablespoon of Essence. In another bowl, beat the eggs with 2 tablespoons of water and 1 teaspoon of Essence.

In a third bowl, season the breadcrumbs with the remaining Essence.

• Shape the pork and rice mixture into balls the size of walnuts. Dredge the pork balls first in the flour, then dip in the egg wash, letting the excess drip off. Dredge the balls in the seasoned breadcrumbs, turning to coat evenly.

• Using a slotted spoon, slide the balls in batches into the oil and fry, turning once

or twice, until golden, about 2 minutes. Remove from the oil and drain on a paper-lined plate. Season lightly with additional Essence.

• To serve, place boudin balls on a plate and garnish with chopped parsley.




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CATEGORIES: Feature   MIDWEST   Midwest Feature  


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