For those of you chewing along at home…

Latest food whiz.
Made more stock and pressure canned it. Five quarts of chicken stock and 7 quarts of beef stock. I know the pressure canning is weird, it’s easier to freeze it. But, like I said, my freezer is tiny and I need the pressure canning practice. Also, popping open a quart jar of beef stock is pretty amazing, the great beefy smell that comes out of there. It’s straight up beef stock right off the stove smell, you want to chug it. BEEF CHUG! I imagine it is my own bias, but I swear the resultant textures of the stews and soups made from it are phenomenal, way better than my frozen stocks. Yeah, probably bias and also tweaking the proportions to load it up with more collagen than before. Still, though, I’m going to believe it is because of the pressure canning versus just freezing it.
In making my chicken stock I have had to switch from chicken wings to chicken thighs. I liked the chicken wings, I thought the flavor and the extra connective tissue really made for a better result. I know a lot of people use whole carcasses and leftovers for their stock, but we almost never eat chicken in any form. I have no leftovers to save and use. Chicken wings have gotten stupidly expensive lately and thighs are a good second option. And the dogs love the thighs because it is easier for us to get the meat off the bones for them.
Had another sausage and burger making weekend and the results were… disappointing.
I made a common, yet foolish mistake. Instead of making sausage because the stuff I needed was available all cheap or whatever, I decided that the weekend would be the time of sausage making and I would just go find whatever is available and use it. Dumb. The meat counter across the way had no pork shoulder or butt, just trimmed pork loin. They also didn’t have any shoulder/chuck/blade cuts of beef so I went with round bottom. The regular grocery had pork shoulder at insane prices and the beef wasn’t much better. I basically came home with a bunch of meat trimmed of all fat with no connective tissue or flavor.
I made my standard hot italian sausage. Dry but basically good, it’s hard to screw that up. Wrapped up five 8 ounce packages and one 12 ounce pack.
Last time I made breakfast sausage I also added ground bacon because who wants to have to choose between bacon or sausage! Have both! It was good but any subtlety the bacon might have added was overwhelmed by the sausage seasoning, so mostly the bacon just added salt. This time I did it without bacon and it’s definitely a better result. Bacon is good, but you really need to hold bacon’s hand in order to appreciate it. Six 6 ounce packs of breakfast sausage.
But the bacon wasn’t lost. I made up more bacon burgers. 1 part ground pork, 2 parts ground beef and a goodly toss of ground bacon. This is where the dryness of the meat and its lack of character really show. It’s just meh. Five packs of two 6 ounce patties, we’re eating through them but mostly as an afterthought, something to eat when we don’t feel like anything in particular.
Also made burgers with chopped oven dried grape tomatoes and mashed up slow roasted garlic. These are good, dry but definitely good. The bland meat canvas is definitely improved on by the flavors and textures of the tomatoes and garlic. I imagine they will be even better the next time around when I use better meats. I got 3 packs of two 6 ounce patties out of that.
Then I had a bit of a muddled experiment. Using the pork I wanted to make a dried apple and sage sort of sausage patty. Something to eat like a burger, but with pork and apples and sage. As I was putting it together I had an idea! Hooray for ideas! I quickly heated up a bit oil, tossed in mustard seed, cumin seed and fenugreek and shook it around until it got toasty and a bit poptastic and swished it into the meat mixture. It definitely removes any original idea I had about these patties, they aren’t apple and sage anymore (though they have dried apple and sage in them). It’s an Indian flavor which is good, but not necessary. Apple and sage and some red pepper flakes would have been perfect. I might make more with the cumin/mustard/fenugreek seeds and some other, more focused flavors. For this I got 3 packs with two 6 ounce patties, one pack with one 6 ounce patty. The dried apples are pretty good in there, you should try it.
Lesson learned about scheduling these things. You process and put up food while it is cheap and abundant so that you will have it around when things are scarcer. I just really wanted to make sausage and I didn’t want to wait. Not my best work, but we are chewing through it all and the other day they meat counter had pork should for cheap and now I have one in my freezer ready for next time.