Archive for January, 2012

Country Style Pork Sausage Seasoning

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

I’m planning to make a sausage stuffed winter squash for dinner this evening, but I’m out of my country sausage seasoning.  I purchase organic pork that’s been raised roaming a wood lot.  I have the butcher package up one pound portions of ground pork for my freezer, and then season it myself to assure my family won’t be eating crap like MSG.  Seriously, have you ever taken the time to real the labels on prepackaged sausage in the grocery?  You’ll be hard pressed to find MSG free sausage …. and beware those labeled “no MSG” … the FDA allows manufacturers to use “natural flavorings” on the labels, and MSG is hidden in those “natural flavors”.  Additives aside, after our first taste of pastured organic pork, my family agreed that we would never again be willing to go back to factory farmed pork.

As usual, I do everything the hard way, using herbs I’ve grown and grinding my own spices.  You’re welcome to use pre-ground spices, but if you’ve never tried freshly ground you really should some time.   I decided not to gross you out by showing you my skinned knuckle from grating the nutmeg. No matter how careful I am, I always manage to bloody myself when I grate nutmeg or Parmesan cheese.

Country Style Pork Sausage Seasoning
4 Tablespoons kosher salt
4 Tablespoons ground pepper
3-4 Tablespoons rubbed sage (I use 3 Tablespoons)
1 Tablespoon grated nutmeg
1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cayenne or other hot pepper (I use 1/2 teaspoon because my hubby has no heat chops)

Blend together and store in a jar. Use approximately 2 teaspoons of seasoning for each pound of ground pork.

Fire Roasted Tomato and Wild Rice Soup

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

I am long, long overdue to post a recipe. In fact, I was looking over post archives, and noticed that I didn’t post a single thing last January.  It must be a hibernation thing.  All I feel like doing lately is snuggling in with a pair of knitting needles, a pot of herb tea, and a pair of warm squishy socks.  This morning I was forced to come out of hibernation, thanks to several inches of snow last night.  I had to bundle up and dig out my chicken coop so I could feed the girls.

This particular soup recipe is a winter regular in my household, and my 16-year-old son’s favorite. I always make this after we’ve had a roast chicken, using the leftover meat and stock that I’ve made from the carcass. The rest of the ingredients are always on hand in my pantry and root cellar from late summer preserving efforts.  I used up the last of my fennel at Christmas when I made Pasta E Fagioli Salad with Fennel for my overseas house guests, but I found some nice fat organic bulbs at a local grocer. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m going to tell you again …. I don’t cook with celery.  I think it’s an evil, vile, nasty vegetable, and my husband is allergic. The carrots were pulled from the winter garden tunnel last week.

Fire Roasted Tomato and Wild Rice Soup
Olive oil
2 carrots, diced
1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and sliced (or other celery like veg)
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped ( I use more)
7 1/2 cups chicken broth (if I don’t have enough broth, I cut it with water)
1/2 cup wild rice
Bay leaf
Leftover chicken
2 pints fire roasted tomatoes (you can substitute oven roasted or canned tomatoes)
Salt to taste

Soften carrots, fennel, onion, and garlic in olive oil.

Add chicken broth, rice, and bay leaf; bring to a simmer, cover and cook until rice is tender. Add leftover chicken and tomatoes and their juices to the soup.  Salt to taste. Bring soup up to temperature and serve.