I’ve already posted recipes for goose sausages, lake trout sausages, salmon sausages (with beef fat). With two deer in the freezer, venison sausages were the natural thing to do next, and I might very well come up with more than one version. Today’s venison sausages are made with beets.
Beets contain a flavor compound called geosmin that’s responsible for their earthy taste. In fact, the word geosmin comes from “earthy smell” in Greek. This is the same compound that you find in red wine with earthy notes, and fish with a muddy taste (more on this here). I couldn’t find a list of the flavor compounds in venison, but in my sausages, the smell from the beets serves as a subtle reminder of the deer’s natural habitat. While you can’t really pinpoint the beet flavor in the final product, you do taste something that complements the flavorful venison meat.
Again, natural sausage casings can be purchased here. And you can buy cooked beets at the store, or you can cook your own by wrapping them in foil, baking them in a 350 F oven until you can insert a knife without resistance (a process that will likely take between 1 and 1 1/2 hours depending on their size), and finally peeling them when cold.
Venison and beet sausages
Yields about 24 sausages (5″ long)
12 ft of 1.25″-diameter natural hog casings
4 oz white bread, thinly sliced
40 oz venison (from the shoulder or the butt), silverskin removed
13 oz wild boar or pork belly, fat only
24 g salt
3 g ground black pepper
1.5 g nutmeg
1.5 g anise
1 g cinnamon
1 g coriander
10 oz cooked red beets
5 oz red wine
- Soak the sausage casings in cold water overnight, changing the water a couple of times.
- Place the slices of white bread on a baking sheet, and bake in a 400 F oven for 30-40 minutes, until dark brown all over. Process the bread in a blender to turn it into breadcrumbs.
- Cut the venison and boar / pork belly into large dice, and transfer to a bowl. Add the salt, black pepper, nutmeg, anise, cinnamon, and coriander. Mix well.
- Grind the meat through the small die of a meat grinder, and transfer to a bowl.
- Cut the beets into a fine brunoise, add to the ground meat with the red wine, and mix with a spatula. Cover with plastic wrap, and chill in the freezer for 30 minutes.
- Thoroughly rinse the casings under cold water, inside and outside, pat dry, and apply to the tube of a sausage stuffer. Stuff the sausages, making links about 5″ long. Loosely cover with foil, and refrigerate for 24 hours.
To cook the sausages
- Cut the sausage links apart, making sure that the casing still covers the filling as much as possible on both ends of each sausage. Prick the sausages with a fork on all sides.
- In a pan over medium-low heat, sauté the sausages in canola oil, turning them frequently, until brown on all sides. Serve immediately.