A green sausage flavored with ramp leaves in the style of French garlic sausage.
Optional marinating time1d
Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Snack
Cuisine: French, Italian
Keyword: Ramp Leaves, Ramp Sausage
Highspeed Blender or Food Processor, Stand Mixer or Plastic Mixing Tub, Meat Grinder with Sausage Stuffing Attachment
1five lb boneless pork shoulderYou could use a "picnic-cut" shoulder, but It's more difficult since the bone is in it. I used one here in the pictures since I needed a soup bone for another recipe.
1tablespoonfresh ground black pepper
1/2cupchopped ramp bulbsoptional, add if you really like ramps and garlic
Hog sausage casingsas needed (optional-ask a butcher nicely for these)
Couple slices of bread or scrap meatfor cleaning the grinder
Cut and marinate the meat
Cut the pork shoulder into 1/2 inch pieces, knife skills are not important here as it's getting all ground up. Toss the pork chunks with the salt, pepper, and mix well.
The next day, spread the pork out on a cookie sheet. Chill the marinated, diced pork in the freezer for 20 minutes, until half-frozen (this helps it grind easier and prevents smearing).
Soak the hog casings in a little water to make them easier to work with, and remove some salt.
Heat a large pot of boiling, salted, water, add the ramp leaves and cook until wilted, about 30 seconds. Drain the leaves, shock in an ice bath, chop well with a sharp knife, and then puree with the egg in a highspeed blender until it's a smooth puree. In a pinch, you can use a food processor, but it won't be as nicely pureed.
Grinding the meat
Working in small batches, grind the meat through a medium die, adding the raw chopped ramp bulbs if using directly to the grinder. When you run out of meat to grind, run the bread or scrap through the grinder to push the meat forward and through the die, this cuts down on waste.
When the meat is ground, mix it thoroughly with the ramp leaf puree in a stand mixer, or in a mixing tub or bowl with your hands. You may have to work in batches. Work the meat mixture for a minute or two in the mixer, until everything is well mixed and the mixture is tacky and amalgamous.
Cook a small piece of the meat mixture once everything is combined. Check the seasoning for salt and pepper and adjust if needed, making sure to mix the sausage very well after each round of seasoning, then cook another piece and continue the process until it's just right.
Packing the sausages
Fit the sausage maker with the stuffer attachment. Tie off one end of the casings you are using. Place the open end of the casing on the kitchen stuffer, and gently push the entire casing on the stuffer, being very careful not to tear the casings.
Turn the sausage stuffer onto the lowest power setting and fill the casings with the sausage, twisting the casing to separate the ramp leaf sausage into whatever length you want. When you're out of meat to fill the sausages, run another slice or two of bread or scrap through the stuffer to push out the remaining meat. When you're done filling sausages, tie off the open end, then twist each sausage a couple times to make them hold their shape.
From here the sausage can be frozen, otherwise they will keep for 3-4 days in the fridge raw.
If you're an avid sausage maker, know that you can substitute 1/4 cup or so of milk powder for the egg. You need to have some sort of additional binder to keep the sausage moist though, since the amount of ramp leaves needed to tint the color green is a fairly large amount. Without an additional binder like milk powder, egg, bread soaked in milk, or a combination, you run the risk of having a grainy, unemulsified sausage. Alternately, you also can mince 1/2 of the ramp greens called for in the recipe and add them to the sausage after it's been ground, which won't yield a green sausage like the one I've pictured, but will still taste plenty rampy.