A Saturday morning at Brandt & Levie making some sausages from their great tasting Baambrugse pork. Using two of my favourite things in the world (Val Littlewood and Apple tech aside).
What’s not to like?
Well, this painting they have on display for a start. “Could do better”, written on their school report card…
Anyway, art critic aside, onto the lesson.
Held in their purpose-built atelier, a lovely, open airy space with Wouter Leeuwenburg — who’d in a previous life studied marketing at the VU in Amsterdam — an enthusiastic tutor. Further thanks are in order to my fellow Dutch sausage makers, all of whom remembered to speak in English for (almost) the entire morning, making my life a lot easier.
Nothing really new in this process but great fun nonetheless and prior to arriving, I’d worked out a recipe based around gin. In the end, the guys found me some genever, so even more Dutch authenticity.
Gin sausage — ingredients assuming 1 kilo of good pork meat
Juniper berries: 10g.
Fennel seeds: 1tsp.
Pepper: ½ tbsp.
Celery seeds: 2g.
Gin (I used a great smoked genever) ½ cup
Zest ½ orange
We’d been provided with some belly pork already diced into approx. 2″ cube pieces. This needed to be ground and again this was handled by the tutors but at home you’d use your own grinder. I chose a coarse grind as it’s such good meat; no need to worry about sinews & skin harshing your mellow with this pork. Put it back in the fridge for 30-45 minutes as the grinding process starts to warm the meat and it’s best used cold and is easier to handle.
Firstly, grind all the dry ingredients. I used a pestle & mortar they had there but an electric mixer or even by hand is OK. Add the result of that process to the remaining wet ingredients and then put it all together with the minced pork into a large mixing bowl.
Mix. By hand. You get to know the feel of meat very quickly and it’s a whole sensual feeling. And relaxing. Well, for me anyway. A contemplative time.
This blending encourages the proteins in the meat to start unravelling and commence binding with the other ingredients, so the mix starts to hang together, with no need for any bread or rusk additives. And the way to know when the mix is the right consistency? Take a small piece in the palm of your hand, invert your hand and if it stays in place, it’s ready. Remember when throwing a piece of spaghetti at the wall & checking if it hung there was recommended?
At this point; stick it again in the fridge. For 30 minutes to chill it back to a workable temperature.
Then have a drink
And then it’s the the last part of the process, filling the skin. Make sure to use natural bungs — that way the entire sausage is edible, none of that rather plastic mouth feel that some cheap, shop bought ones can give. But then, I’ve told you before about this: DON’T BUY FROM THE SUPERMARKETS.
And the end result? Not too shabby. Especially as I was assisting one of the Dutch people there, so this is my recipe & mix, his skin filling efforts. Cheers Hans!
We gave some as a gift to a local Dutch friend and ate the rest. Finest kind. The recipe works. I know, because Val told me 🙂
Go on, why not try it at home. And then experiment yourself with other ingredients. There’s some good ideas here from the Brandt & Levie team. Or in some of the books that I’ve mentioned in earlier posts.
And one last thing? If you’re in Amsterdam and fancy some smoked meat or fish, there’s no finer smokery available to you than Franks Smoke House, just along from the Maritime Museum (itself worth a visit).
Another passionate man. And the produce reflects that, as you can see below