Recipe Box: Build Your Own Cookout! (Sausage Saturday Edition)

Hi folks! Just in time for summer, here is a healthy, homemade Build-Your-Own Cookout Guide, inspired by last weekend's hootenanny, Sausage Saturday. These are the recipes for my special boozy lemonade, homemade lamb sausages, wheat berry salad and rainbow slaw. No party is complete without jams, so I've also included a link to Kurt's meticulously crafted barbecue playlist, designed for optimum not-giving-a-craptitude. Let the day-raging begin! 

Magic juice
Magic Drank
Adapted from Chelsea and Tec Pataja's Magic Juice, via Design Sponge
Makes 8. 

32 oz lemonade
2 lemons, 2 limes and 2 oranges, sliced into rounds.
24 strawberries, quartered
1/2 cup fresh mint, plus 8 sprigs for garnish
16 oz seltzer water
16 oz vodka (I used Svedka Clementine)

Place mint leaves and fruit in a pitcher and muddle with a wooden spoon. Add lemonade and vodka. Pour over ice into 8 glasses. Top each glass off with 2 oz of seltzer and a spring of mint.


Note: Merguez is a spicy North African lamb/beef sausage. I often see it for sale at Whole Foods during barbecue season, usually formed into large spiral coils with two skewers holding them together for easy grilling. If you're not in the mood to make them yourself, by all means, search for the pre-made sausages at your local meat counter. They're perfect for a cookout, because if you're entertaining and have had a couple of beers, they don't require much attendance. The sausages are generally skinnier so they cook quicker, and since they're made from lamb or a lamb/beef blend, the matter of doneness is left up to one's preference. If you want to make your own, its very easy to do if you have a Kitchen Aid mixer with the meat grinder ($43) and sausage stuffer ($7) attachments.

Homemade merguez
Homemade Merguez
Adapted from the New York Times
Makes 6-8 sausages or one medium coil. 

1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
.5 lb lamb shoulder
.5 lb beef (chuck) (Look for a fatty cut - you want 20% fat)
2 tbsp fresh cilantro
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp Spanish paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Natural lamb casings soaked in warm water for 20-30 minutes

Merguez on the grill.When making sausage it is important that your ingredients and tools are very cold when you begin. After giving the meat a good chop (1-2" chunks), pop it in the freezer for 30 minutes or so to make it really cold, but not frozen. While you're at it, freeze the grinder attachment as well. When you're meat stays cold, the fat doesn't melt and everything stays tender and juicy.

First thing, roll up your sleeves and and use your hands to toss the spices, garlic and cilantro with the cubes of meat. At this point, you can fry or grill the ground meat as it is, or in meatball or burger form, but if you'd like to try your hand at making sausages, there are a few extra steps. Before moving on, place the meat in the refrigerator to keep it cool. Remove the grinder plate and knife, clean machine, and reassemble with the stuffer attachment, following Kitchen Aid's instructions. Run warm water through your casings to remove excess salt and make the meat move through them easier. Place a casing on the stuffer tube, leaving a tail of 6" (will be used for tying off). This next part is easier as a two person job. With the mixer on medium speed, one person needs to feed the cubes of meat through the stuffer while the other carefully pulls the links off the stuffing tube and arranges the sausage rope into a coil. When you come close to the end of the casing, stop the mixer and tie off, careful to avoid air bubbles. To make links, start at one end of the rope and pinch the casing and twist where you suppose the next link should be. When you pinch the next link, spin in the opposite direction, and continue, alternating directions until you have formed the entire rope into several links. Simply Recipe offers very thorough,  informative directions for this process. 

Wheatberry saladWheat Berry Salad
Serves 8

1 1/2 cups wheat berries
2 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1 cup ripe tomato, diced
1 small cucumber, cut into small cubes
1/4 cup mint, chiffonaded
1/4 cup parsley, chiffonaded
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Place wheat berries in a medium pot and cover with 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a slow simmer and cook gently for an hour or until tender. Toss in remaining ingredients and serve at room temperature.

Rainbow salad

Rainbow Slaw
Serves 8

1/2 head red cabbage, shredded
1/2 head green cabbage, shredded
2 large carrots, shredded
1 medium zucchini, seeded and julienned into 2" matchsticks
1 medium yellow summer squash, seeded and julienned into 2" matchsticks
1 red bell pepper, cut 2" matchsticks
3 scallions, chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all vegetables in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together cilantro, olive oil, lime juice and vinegar. Pour over salad and toss. Season with salt and pepper.

For dessert, how about these strawberry eclairs, browned butter brazil nut brownies or lemon cream bars?


For those following in Google Reader, click through to the site to access our music playlist.


Speak your mind.