Saturday, June 18, 2016
Crepinette is a lovely and fancy-sounding word for ground meat wrapped in caul fat.
Essentially, it’s fresh sausage that you can make at home without the time-consuming struggle of stuffing ground meat into casings.
Caul fat is a lacey, fatty membrane that lines the stomach cavity of pigs (and cows and sheep, although you’ll mostly just see pork caul fat sold). The thin, edible netting looks delicate, but it’s quite sturdy and easy to work with. In this recipe, caul fat is used to wrap sausage patties, but it can also be used to wrap meatballs, meatloaf, and roasts. Caul fat holds meat together, gives it shape, and bastes the meat with fat as it cooks, keeping it moist. It’s sort of like wrapping something in very, very thin bacon that becomes invisible when cooked.
Servings: 15 to 20 sausages
Time in the Kitchen: 1 hour
- 2 pounds ground pork (or other ground meat) (900g)
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro or parsley (30 ml)
- 2 teaspoons cumin (10 ml)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (2.5 ml)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt (10 ml)
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes or black pepper (2.5 ml)
- 1 sheet caul fat (6 to 8 ounces)
Recipe Tip: Often, caul fat has to be special ordered from a butcher, so plan ahead. Although some specialty and well-stocked butcher shops keep it in stock.
In a large mixing bowl, use your hands to thoroughly but gently mix the ground meat with the garlic, onions, fresh herb, cumin, cinnamon, salt and red pepper flakes.
Gently form the meat into 15 to 20 golf ball-sized balls, then flatten the balls into small patties 1/2-to-3/4-inch thick (12.7 mm to 19 mm).
Spread the caul fat out on a clean surface. Use scissors or a knife to cut the caul fat into 2 or 3-inch squares (50 mm to 76 mm). Wrap each meat patty in a square of caul fat by placing the patty in the middle of the caul square and stretching and pressing the caul fat around the meat until it’s snug and smooth.
(The wrapped, uncooked crepinettes can be made a day or two in advance and refrigerated, if needed. They can also be frozen for several months.)
Preheat the oven to 375 °F/190 °C.
In a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, heat a tablespoon of oil or lard. Cook the crepinettes in batches, so they aren’t too crowded in the pan. Cook 6 minutes per side, until each side is nicely browned. Finish the crepinettes in the oven, until the internal temperature is 160 °F/71 °C.
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