Always Fun to Walk into a “Real” Bucher Shop- Followed by Grilled Elk-Blackberry Sausage

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This past weekend I had the fun time of heading over to Philadelphia and walk around the Italian Market Festival. Streets were lined with vendors selling all different types of products, fresh produce stands were out in abundance, and along the streets in the storefronts you had everything from pastry shops, cafes/restaurants, cheese shops, to one of my favorites- the butcher shop.

Of course they had the traditonal styled butcher shop- got all of your beef parts in one case, pork in another (I did get a nice 4.5 lb. piece of pork belly), and others with poultry, lamb, etc. It was when I went into another more “exotic” shop, that the fun began.

It started off just by looking at the display in the front window…quail, snake, kangaroo…the list goes on. So when I went inside i started looking around and the variety was quite distinguished. And so I ended up buying a nice package of quail for future cooking endeavours, however for this post we will go into the sausage that I obtained: Elk sausage with blackberry.

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Now, some people may be turned away by some of your gamier meat- but not me (especialyl when it is cut with something like blackberry to add a slight sweetness and some mositure when cooked. So at that point it was sausage (check), then I needed to get some rolls (check) and well a look in the fridge and we found some toppings (check).

I started off by throwing the sausages on the grill. While that was happening outside, I had a pot of water boiling (with salt added) on the stove and tossed in some broccoli rabe to cook for about 2 minutes. When it was done I drained in the sink and flushed with cold water to stop the cooking process. I then had a pan set up with some olive oil, butter, diced garlic, and black pepper. I then checked on the sausage and at the appropriate time I sauteed the broccoli rabe so it was nice and hot just as I borught the sausages inside.

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I started off with cutting the rolls. I then grated some cranberry-cinnamon cheddar onto the roll, tossed on the sausages, and then topped with the broccoli rabe. Overall, a nice flavorful meal which did not require too much time or effort. If you happen to stumble upon elk sausage, I would say buy some and try it- you won’t be disappointed.

Enjoy.

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It is Getting Cold Again…So Here is Some Soup

Well we had a nice few days of weather in the 50’s and 60’s (the snow all melted as well) and now we are at a point where its going back down into the 20’s and it seems like it will be quite cold for a while. It seems appropriate to go with some soup.

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This first soup is a nice homemade chicken soup. The stock started off with a few quarts of water, lots of chicken bones with meat (used around 6 lbs.) and brought that duo to a nice simmer. Added in various vegetables later on in the process (carrots, celery, onion, garlic) and let it go for another 2 hours after that. With about an hour left I put in a satchet of various spices. Throughout the process I used a skimmer to remove the fat layer on top which in the end makes a nice clear stock. Overall, this amounted to about 5 quarts total, which has been used for this soup, another soup (later on in the post), other various dishes, and some is frozen for future usage. The nice thing is versus stocks/broths that you buy, for all the flavor in this there is no added salt- all the flavors of the chicken, vegetables, and aromatic spices.

To continue the soup, I started off with the stock, added some water and heated up. I tossed in some onion and garlic early on, had sauteed the chicken separately, cut into small pieces and tossed in. Around this time I added the vegetables (all cut and tossed in raw except the potatoes which I roasted first) and let the mix go for about 2 hours. With about an hour left I threw in pasta I cooked and drained separately and in the end a nice chicken noodle soup.

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If you have eaten at The Olive Garden and have tried their Zupppa Toscana soup, this is reminiscent of that with some tweaks for personal tastes/preference. Starting off with stock and water, I diced up and tossed in both red and white potatoes. I let it simmer until they got soft and proceeded to mash them but only to the point where they were more or less small pieces not like a creamy mashed. I separately cooked sausage in a pan with some garlic and pepper and tossed into the stock pot. I proceeded to saute chanterelles, spinach leaves and collard greens in some olive oil and spices and tossed them into the mix. I then proceeded to boil some wild rice and tossed into the mix. With about an hour or so left, I added in some aromatic spices, shredded in some parmesan and skimmed the top before serving to make a nice clear broth.

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Enjoy, and stay warm.