For many people, sausages are just an easy weeknight dinner or a staple of outdoor cookouts. But if you’re a chef attending an accredited online culinary academy, you should know what makes some of these cured meats stand out and how they can be incorporated into exceptional meals. Here’s what you need to know about using sausage in your cooking:
Know your sausage varieties
Sausages generally consist of ground meat in a casing made from intestine or a synthetic imitation. Beyond those basics, there’s a whole world of variety in taste and texture. For instance, Germany is particularly well known for a tremendous selection of sausages. These include many local forms of bratwurst made from pork, beef or veal.
This is only the beginning of the different types of sausages you can find, however. Guinness Eats provided a list of 29 different kinds of sausage with handy descriptions, but the variations specific to certain regions or cultures are seemingly endless.
Hot dogs, adapted from the German frankfurters, are made from beef, pork or poultry trimmings and fully cooked in a casing. Traditionally, the natural casings are made from sheep intestine. The Polish kielbasa, usually featuring both pork and beef, generally goes through a similar cooking process and is then smoked.
Other sausages are not cured in advance and must be cooked before serving. These include Italian sausage and breakfast sausages, both made from pork. Spanish chorizo, a pork sausage traditionally featuring a casing made of pig intestine, has a smoky flavor and red color drawn from dried, smoked peppers.
Great ideas for encased meats
Whatever kinds of sausage you prefer, they deliver a great deal of delicious flavor in a convenient and easily prepared package. A straight-forward, classic presentation allows guests to fully appreciate the flavor of the meat. Many diners are happy with an accompaniment of mustard, peppers, onions and sauerkraut.
On the other hand, sausage can also be fantastic when incorporated into a number of tasty dishes. For instance, Giada de Laurentiis suggested serving Italian sausage with a Marsala sauce featuring bell peppers and onions. Epicurious offered a recipe that combines sweet Italian sausages with farfalle, tomatoes and cream.
Remove the sausage casing and saute in olive oil with crushed red pepper. Throw in onion and garlic before adding whipping cream and tomatoes. Simmer for about three minutes and sprinkle on some salt and pepper. When you’ve cooked the pasta, complete the sauce by combining it with some of the cooking water.
For a fun take on a picnic favorite, Bon Appetit provided a potato salad featuring chorizo. While baking the potatoes, cook onion and the sausage with its casing removed in vegetable oil. Drain some of the chorizo oil and gradually combine it with vegetable oil, egg yolk, garlic, water and lemon juice to make an aioli. Combine the roasted potatoes with the chorizo mixture, aioli, scallions and ancho chili powder.
To gain total control over cooking your sausage, you can try cooking it sous vide. According to Serious Eats, this will give you extremely juicy results with the precise texture you want. You’ll need to cook the vacuum-sealed meat in a water bath for at least 45 minutes and then finish it off on the grill or stovetop.
Part of what makes sausages so great is that they are easy to prepare. But there’s no end to the variety of meats available or the delicious uses you can find for them in your cooking. Whether you’re enrolled in online culinary certificate programs, taking cooking classes in Boulder or just cooking in your backyard, sausages can bring plenty of inspiration.