Smoked Sausage with Pork, Beef and Cheese

中文菜谱: 奶酪熏肠

After smoking ducks, chickens, ribs and beef briskets, I finally move on to sausages!  The electric smoker is truly a great addition to my kitchen O(∩_∩)O~

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Ingredients:

2 pounds pork belly
1 pound beef chuckeye
2 tablespoons paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon of your favorite grill seasoning ( I use McCormick Montreal steak seasoning
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon freshly grinded black pepper
1 to 2 teablespoons brown sugar
1/3 to 1/2 cup of shredded parmesan cheese
1 to 2 teaspoons corn starch
salt to taste
chicken stock/ water(about 1cup)
sausage casing

Directions:

Dice up pork belly and beef chuckeye.  Finely grind them together with a meat grinder

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Add paprika, ground ginger, onion powder, garlic powder, grill seasoning, black pepper, brown sugar, parmesan cheese, corn starch and salt.

With a pair of chopsticks or wooden spoon, whisk clockwise until the meat mixture becomes sticky and elastic.  Add chicken stock / water in between little by little.  Make sure all the liquid is absorbed before adding more stock. 

Switch meat grinder attachment to sausage stuffing attachment.

Prepare sausage casing

Start stuffing sausage

Use a thin bamboo stick to aerate the sausage.  By doing so, we can get rid of extra air bubbles inside the sausage to make sure even cooking and they will not explore during cooking process.

Preheat the smoker to 225F/107C

Add sausage.

3 to 4 hours later.  Aren’t they pretty?

The sausages are golden brown, smoky, a bit crunchy and crispy on the outside, but very tender and juicy on the inside.  All the spices in there and parmesan cheese are the reason how the sausages get so flavorful. O(∩_∩)O~

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Wechat is a widely popular social network apps in China and some other Asian countries, all due to its super powerful influences in messages texting, social media and mobile payment all combined together. That is right, try to imagine what it is like when Instagrm, facebook, tweeter, and paypal all merge into one single apps. Now get the idea?

Yankitchen now is on Wechat too! Search “味道Yankitchen“, or simply extract QR code from the following photos, and follow us on Wechat!

Boiled Young Peanuts

中文菜谱: 盐水煮嫩花生

It is September already.  Fall and cool air have not arrived at Houston yet.  It is still very hot and humid outside, like we are still in the middle of a super long summer.

However, fresh produces sold on the market are beginning to show the signs of fall.  New crop of peanuts are in season now.  Oh gee, I can’t describe how much I love these young peanuts recently dug up from underground.

A lot of people love boiled peanuts.  But not so many have tried young peanuts.  They are a bit less crunchy than the regular ones, but they are packed with such a sweet, refreshing, nutty, and earthy flavor. 

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Ingredients:

1 lb young peanuts
2 to 3 star anises
1 to 2 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns
3 to 4 cloves
2 bay leaves
5 to 6 dried chili peppers
sea salt to taste
water for boiling

Directions:

Thoroughly rinse the peanuts under running water.  Add to a small stock pot, along with spices and seasonings and water.

Heat over high heat until the water boils.  Cover with lid.  Reduce the heat to simmer for 15 minutes.

I keep the boiling time so short to preserve the crunchy texture from young peanuts.  If you prefer softer and tender texture, extend the cooking time to 30 to 40 minutes or more if needed.  

Boiled peanuts and a cold beer, what a pleasant treat! O(∩_∩)O~

Pickled Young Ginger Roots

Pickled vegetables have been a long time tradition in my hometown in China.  Most vegetables thrive in summer but hard to find in other seasons, so that our ancestors developed such a way to preserve excessive vegetables for later use.  Actually similar vegetable pickling techniques have been used in many places all over the world, with minor differences in the process and ingredients. 

Most southern Chinese families keep one or more pickling jars in the kitchen.  These pickling jars are different from all we can see on grocery markets in the States.  There are deep V shape edges on the top of the jars where water would be added to keep the whole jar aid-tight. 

I have been looked over everywhere to such a pickling jar in America but came up with none.  So I brought back one from a trip back to China a couple years ago. 

Pickling ingredients and methods vary from area to area too.  I mostly do Sichuan style pickling which involves lots of peppers, Sichuan peppercorns and other Asian spices.   

Pickled young ginger roots are one of my favorites.  But the thing is, it is extremely hard to find fresh young ginger roots on the market.  I guess not that many people know how delicious they are. 

I was so happy when I finally found some in an H-mart grocery store.

Rinse the young ginger roots under running water.  Pat them dry with kitchen paper towel or air dry with cool air in a food dehydrator.

Add to the pickling jar, and sprinkle some with a handful course sea salt.  The pickled vegetables should be ready in about a week. 

The pickling juice from the jar is the key to success.  The best way to start pickling is to buy a small jar of authentic Sichuan style pickles from the nearest Asian grocery store.  Use it as the starter.

Add cold boiled water, rice wine, sea salt, Sichuan peppercorns, cayenne peppers, garlic cloves, star anises, cloves, sugar and some other spices of your choice to the jar.  Seal the edge with water.  Wait for 3 to 4 days.  You should now have a jar of pickling juice to begin with.

 Add vegetables to the jar and they would be done in about one week.  The more you pickle vegetables, the richer and more delicate flavor the pickling juice would be.  

This time, I make pickled young ginger and long beans.  Both of them are popular pickles in southern China too.

They taste very crunchy, a bit tangy, savory and very flavorful depending on the spices used in the pickling process.  

Young ginger roots are more tender, crunchy, and a lot less spicy than the regular ginger roots.  Yum! O(∩_∩)O~

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Pan-fried Dumplings with Pork, Bamboo shoots and Wood Ear Mushrooms

Dumplings, also known as jiaozi, are one of the very traditional Chinese soul foods.  They are made with thinly hand rolled dough and all kinds of different fillings from pork, to beef, chicken, fish, shrimp, tofu, vegetables… you name it. 

In old times when people work in kitchen without food processor or stand mixer, making dumplings was labor intensive work which required collaborative help of the most family members.  There was a lot of kneading, chopping, dicing, rolling, and wrapping work involved.  I still remember the time when I was very young and all of us sitting around a large table making dumplings together. For that very reason, dumplings used to be festival food.  People couldn’t afford regular daily consumption of dumplings. 

But now things have changed quite a lot.  Dumplings are popular and have become our daily food.  We serve dumplings as breakfast, lunch or dinner.  They prevail in daily life as well as celebrating festivals too. 

I still love making dumplings at home.  It reminds me of the good old times living within a large warm and loving family.

Dumplings can be boiled, steamed or pan fried.  The one I am making this time is pan fried pork dumplings with mushrooms and bamboo shoots.  Yum!

Ingredients:

1 lb pork shoulder
1 pack of frozen bamboo shoots(1 lb / 454g)
1 handful dry wood ear mushrooms
1 pack of dumpling wraps (sold in frozen food section in most Asian grocery stores)
2  eggs
1 tablespoon rice cooking wine
1 to 2 teaspoon oyster sauce
1/4  teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4  ground ginger
1/4  teaspoon sugar
1 to 2 stalks of green onions, finely chopped
Chicken broth/ water  
salt to taste
cooking oil
white sesame seeds

 

Directions:

The season for fresh bamboo shoots is really short.  It starts with the very first signs of spring, and ends within 2 to 3 weeks.  For the rest of year, only frozen and dried bamboo shoots are available on the market. 

Soak the dry wood ear mushrooms for 2 to 3 hours.  Rinse under running water.  Drain well.

Thaw the frozen bamboo shoots in fridge overnight.   Discard any extra liquid.

Grind the pork should with a meat grinder.  If you don’t have a meat grinder, remember to ask for help to do so in the store, or you also buy the ground pork.

Add ground pork to a medium bowl, along with ground white pepper, oyster sauce, rice cooking wine, ground ginger, sugar and half of the chopped green onions.  Whisk with a pair of chopsticks or a wooden spoon.  Gradually add chicken stock/water while whisking.  The more and harder you whisk, the more tender and elastic the ground pork filling will be. 

 Use a food processor to finely chop the wood ear mushroom and bamboo shoots. 

Add to the ground pork mixture.

Mix with a pair of chopsticks until well combined.

Heat a wok over high heat.  Add oil, and then two eggs and a pinch of salt.  Cook the eggs into scrambled eggs. 

Add the scrambled eggs to the ground pork mixture.  Season with salt and whisk the pork really hard until everything is well mixed again.

Brush the dumpling wrapper’s edge with a little water or egg wash. 

Add a couple tablespoons’ pork filling to its center.

Wrap it up.

Repeat the process until all the dumplings are finished.

Heat a small cast iron skillet over medium high heat.  Add 1 to 2 tablespoons oil, and then about 10 dumplings.  Use more oil and a larger pan if you want to cook more than 10 dumplings at a time. 

Pan-fry the dumplings for a couple minutes. 

Add 1/3 cup of water.  Cover with lid immediately after adding water to the pan.

When all the water evaporates, reduce the heat to medium low.  Sprinkle with remaining chopped green onions and white sesame seeds on top.

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The bottoms of dumplings are golden brown.

Remove from heat and serve them hot immediately.

The crunchy golden bottoms of the dumplings are the best part. 

The traditional way is to eat them with a dipping sauce made with soy sauce, vinegar and chili oil.

Bon appetite! O(∩_∩)O~