Friday, July 15, 2011


This month's Charcutepalooza challenge, to me at least, was stuffing my sausages. The real one was emulsification -- the focus of which is blending, which results in a smooth-textured sausage. But for me, I was still concerned about how to actually stuff. Not the how-to, but the actual doing. Last month, I was lucky enough to cross paths with Peter and Winnie, and we got to use Peter's KitchenAid. This month, I went out and finally purchased a meat grinder after deliberating whether or not to finally break down and buy a KitchenAid. It was cheaper to buy the grinder, and with two cars on their way out, I can't be too expansive. I bought this, a Waring Pro MG100, which was about $100:

The culprit.
I can't say I recommend it. The short answer: it's going back to the store. Ends up, the worm, for whatever reason, likes to fall out of the motor housing (did I say that right?), and it just plain doesn't work. On the Amazon page there are a bunch of comments discussing this particular flaw, which I neglected to read before purchasing the machine. I was able to grind the meat, and fill two sausages before it stopped working entirely. Thankfully, my neighbor heard about my troubles and brought over her KitchenAid and meat grinding attachment. Aren't neighbors grand? I might not ever buy anything, but just borrow her KitchenAid every few months. 

Beautiful brats. Only two, but still beautiful.
It did grind the meat though, and much faster and nicer than the hand grinder, which couldn't really chew up the sinewy pork too well. I ate my breakfast sausage the other day, again for breakfast and also dinner, it was so good. I did notice that although it was very tasty, the texture left something to be desired, and it was due to the hand grinding. And that machine did work lovely for the two large sausages I was able to fill.

I served my dinner of bratwurst with some of the first local-ish corn I saw in the market. It was from New Jersey, and I just couldn't resist. It delivered. The corn was sweet and creamy, the perfect addition to the meal. And the bread was homemade sourdough that I toasted in the pan after cooking the brats. But where was the sauerkraut? 

The beginning of lettuce kraut.

Well, a week before I had harvested a huge amount of kale and lettuce from the garden, and I thought: why not kale kraut? Of course, it's not an original thought. I found this post from The Simple Green Frugal Co-Op, which I used as inspiration. And it's such a simple recipe that it would be silly to re-write here. Go and visit! I made a quart of lettuce and a quart of kale. The finished product is a mite salty, but goes well as a condiment. It doesn't have the tartness of cabbage kraut. The kale kraut was lovely alongside the brats. I also made a romaine lettuce kraut, which makes a great sandwich topping. What's wonderful about these ferments, is that they take only a few days. So you will have your sauerkraut just in time for your bratwurst.


  1. You are amazing! Those brats are simply gorgeous. Sorry about the meat grinder (and the cars! BOO!)
    I need to get my kraut head on because it never would have occured to me to use kale or lettuce, but yum. I need to ferment more.

  2. We should talk via email about this Waring Pro. I think I know what you're describing, and you should be sure you have it put together just right. Mine seemed fussy at first, but I'm getting to like it better.

    Don't give up on the Pro!

  3. I knew I'd be inspired: lettuce ferments... I wish I was your neighbor and we could corroborate our kitchen accoutrements! Wouldn't that be nice?

  4. Georgeous brats! I've had the same trouble with grinders.

  5. Sorry for the grinder troubles. I am guessing you don't have a food processor? That's what I've been using to grind my meat and it works really well. Glad you were able to borrow the KA and your brats look super tasty. ps I enjoyed making sausages together much more than I enjoyed making hot dogs along :)

  6. Kitchen Aid is the best! Brats look so great. I have them in the fall for Octoberfest poached in beer, onions and butter then grilled served with warm German Potato salad. Why wait for fall

  7. Thank, Meg! This ferment is so easy and quick, but a little salty. It uses up a lot of kale, which is nice. : )

    Sarah - Thanks, I will e-mail you! Though I have to say, I worked on it for an hour, and Steve then went through it carefully to see if I had missed something obvious. And both of us couldn't get it to stay connected in order to work. If a machine is going to be that fussy, then I don't want it! But who knows? Maybe we both missed something. If that darn worm stayed in there correctly, I could see how I would love it.

    Rebecca - So nice! You know, the house next door is for sale...just sayin'!

    Jane - I think lots of folks have...

    Winnie - I got the machine to work for the grinding, but not the stuffing. I do have a processor, should I get into a bind with that. And yes--it was so much more fun doing this all together!

    Pat - Indeed, why wait for fall. I sometimes wonder about your kitchen--it must be a great place to be!

  8. Look delicious! I make a lot of sausage at home, and if you decide to take a chance and get your own grinder again, go with a Weston meat grinder. They're around the same price and are really well-built machines.

  9. Anon - Thank you! And thanks for the advice. I'll look into them.

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