The past few days at home we’ve been eating some really tasty food, though all of it centers around various sausages, thus thumbing my nose at the recently published study that links eating sausage (and ham and bacon and all other things that taste really good) to pancreatic cancer. Wholly accepting of the fact that I am, in fact, mortal and may very well die of pancreatic cancer or any other number of diseases (or I could just be hit by a car tomorrow), I share these really delicious recipes with you:
Stuffed pork loin with Israeli couscous
The recipe for the pork loin comes from Tapas: The Little Dishes of Spain by Penelope Casas and is roughly this:
Marinate a 3/4 pound pork loin overnight in a couple tablespoons of olive oil, some chopped garlic, about 1/2 tsp each of cumin and coriander. Next, cut the loin so you can stuff it with some thin strips of chorizo, hardboiled egg, pimiento (I use piquillo peppers) and carrot. Roll up and tie, then season with salt and pepper and sear all the way around in a hot pan. Remove the meat from the pan and add sliced onion, then chopped garlic, deglaze with about a half a cup of white wine, then add 1/2 cup each of chicken stock and water. Add the meat and add a bay leaf and 1 whole clove, bring to a simmer, cover and cook for an hour and a half.
While that’s cooking, get everything ready for the couscous (this recipe is all mine): Cut an onion to small dice, clean a half bunch of swiss chard, zest 1 lemon, heat a couple cups of white stock, toast a few tablespoons of pine nuts, and slice a few piquillo peppers into thin strips. Prepare the couscous risotto style by sweating the onions in a pan over medium heat, then add the chopped chard stems and cook for a few minutes before adding in about a cup of Israeli couscous. Continue cooking for a minute or two. Deglaze with a quarter cup or so of white wine, let it simmer until nearly absorbed, then add a ladle full of hot stock, stirring the couscous to distribute the liquid. Once it’s nearly absorbed, add another ladle and continue thusly, until the couscous is cooked (takes 30-40 minutes), seasoning throughout.
Add the chard and heat until it wilts, then add the zest, pine nuts and peppers. Season.
When the meat is done, remove it and increase the heat in order to reduce the remaining liquid into a sauce. Once it’s to the right consistency, season and serve. Slice the meat, serve with the couscous and a couple spoonfuls of sauce.
Merguez sausage with lentils, piquillo peppers and golden raisins
This is a recipe similar to one we used to do on occasion at the last restaurant I worked at. I’m not sure where you get merguez without special ordering or on-line, so I just make my own.
Cook about a cup of lentils (sometimes called green, French or lentils du puy) by heating up some water or stock with a slice or two of bacon, half an onion, 1 carrot cut in half, 1 celery stalk cut in half, bay leaf and some thyme sprigs. Season with salt and bring to a boil before lowering to a simmer. Continue cooking until the lentils are tender but not splitting open, about half an hour. Strain and spread on a sheet tray to cool.
Cook the sausage in a hot pan. While that’s cooking, melt some butter in a pan and sweat a little chopped garlic, then add the lentils, some rehydrated golden raisins and some sliced piquillo peppers. Add a little stock and heat, seasoning with salt & pepper.
To serve, spoon the lentil mixture into a small bowl with some of the liquid, then place some merguez links on top.
Merguez sausage hash with poached egg
While we were enjoying the merguez with lentils, Erin and I were already thinking ahead to the following morning, which is how this came about:
Bake a couple of potatoes the night before. In the morning while the sausage is cooking, heat up some water to poach the eggs. Dice the potatoes and cook in a hot pan with enough oil. Add some julienned red onion and season. Poach your egg. When the sausages are done slice them and toss with the potatoes and onions. Spoon this mix into a bowl, top with the egg.
While this was delicious, we both agreed a little dollop crème fraîche would be a nice addition.