SAUSAGE! and red quinoa

quinoa sausage lamb porcelain bowl

today, i had to be at work at 6am and i barely woke up before i had to leave because i had people over last night. i made enchiladas and flan but i never got good pictures because it got devoured too fast, ha.

so anyway, i didn’t get to eat before work, and i didn’t really feel like it on lunch break either. then at 1, we had a training session where they were talking about organic food and quality standards and such. at some point, they started talking about the sausages which they make there and i was so hungry and it just sounded so good. so when i got off work, i had to get some sausages, and i totally got these garlic/basil lamb sausages and some red quinoa. this is the nice thing about working in a grocery store… i’ve shifted to a shopping pattern where i hardly ever “stock up” on much and i just grab a few things here and there for specific dishes i have in mind and only keep a few staples around. it is nice because stuff doesn’t really go bad… i get it fresh when i want to use it, and since i’m literally at whole foods 5 days a week it works out for me 🙂 the discount isn’t shabby either.

anyway, i haven’t been much of a meat eater lately, but when i do have it i want it to be bomb. i haven’t had sausage in like two months… i remember the day pretty clearly. after a very interesting journey of a day, my friend cooked some bratwurst, and it looked so good. i even took an artsy picture on my phone with my mustard stylings:

sausage mustard bratwurst

i went to bite into it and got a huge mouthful of raw sausage. oops! well he recooked it longer and then i ate the rest and it was just amazing. for whatever reason and mindstate i was in at the time, that sausage was like… a pure connection to some carnal, primitive force and the texture especially was just completely amazing. that’s one thing about sausage i suppose… to cook it well, you really want to get the inside done (trust me a mouthful of raw ground meat really isn’t pleasant), and you want the outside to be crispy and browned, too. that way it just explodes in the mouth… and i can already feel a “that’s what she said” coming on!

so anyway, my game plan for sausage when i’m not grilling, which i’m not since it’s been dark for 3 hours and it’s fairly cold outside, goes as such: you have to first brown the sausages pretty well on all sides over high heat in a skillet. you don’t even really need to use oil if it’s nonstick because they will release their own fat. once you get a nice crispy brown, pour in some liquid about halfway up the side of the sausages, and then cover them and let them steam over a medium low heat. (what liquid you use isn’t so important… water, broth, beer… whatever really, once on a camping trip i used a mixture of cheap beer and taco bell fire sauce and ketchup packets) once the liquid is all gone, you can either just take them out right then or let them brown a little more on the outside again. i would suggest using a meat thermometer to be really sure they’re done in the middle… people usually make fun of me for being that anal about it, but it’s a nice way to know for sure without having to cut one open. the internal temp should reach like 155F. so tonight, i did that with the lamb sausages, and i used beef broth for the liquid.

a shot of the browning process:

sausage

then as a side, the red quinoa. quinoa is one of those things that i feel like is becoming trendier… just recently, i’ve heard a lot of people talking about it and discovering it, which is cool. it’s a pretty cool replacement for rice. i guess it’s just funny to me because as long as i can remember, my mom had a box of it in the pantry that she’d make from time to time, so it’s not really that new to me… though it wasn’t until recently that i was at all confident in how to pronounce it! i’ve also never used red before, though i’m pretty sure the color doesn’t really mean anything much as far as flavor or cooking directions.

so quinoa is cooked a lot like rice… you usually use a 1:2 ratio of quinoa to water, you bring it to a boil then cover over low heat until the water is absorbed… one important thing about quinoa though, which i have omitted before and regretted, is that the seeds are covered in a chemical called saponin, which is very bitter and helps discourage pests from eating it. therefore, it is essential that you remove the saponin before you try to eat it, or you will probably not like the flavor. all you have to do is a pretty thorough rinse, unless you buy a box that clearly states it’s been rinsed already. if it’s in the bulk section, chances are it hasn’t been rinsed, so i’m always just careful and do it anyway.

today, i used beef broth instead of water to boil it in, and i added garlic powder, curry powder, cayenne powder, honey, a splash of balsamic vinegar, and pepper at the beginning. i’ve done it in the past where i cook it totally plain, and it’s actually really good plain, but for whatever reason i felt like flavoring it this time.

the verdict? well, the sausages were really flavorful with pretty bold flavors (basil, fennel seed) and turned out pretty salty (i maybe should have just used water instead of broth to steam them). however, when mixed with the quinoa, it was a really good balance. the quinoa is nutty, a little sweet, a pretty full and round but not overwhelming flavor since i didn’t really go overboard with any of the seasonings. so a bite of this fairly salty, intensely flavored sausage (which was also really moist and good texturally), and then a bite of the quinoa, and it really worked out well together. i was actually just reading a book a friend lent me about salt, and they were talking about how a lot of cultures never season or salt their rice but serve it with incredibly salty, pickled things.. that’s kind of what it reminded me of.

i ate way too much, but i guess that’s always a good sign 🙂

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~ by agent229 on November 11, 2009.

3 Responses to “SAUSAGE! and red quinoa”

  1. That’s what she said!

    I’ve never had quinoa (it’s pronounced like, kween-wah’, right? I keep thinking kwihn-no’-ah), but it definitely seems like it’s trendy to have it.

    • i used to think it was pronounced that way too… haha. but yeah i think its actually keen-wah’ or something. thats how everyone at whoel foods says it, anyway… haha. it’s definitely worth a try! as easy to make as rice and lots of protein

  2. […] some spicy mustard and sriracha sauce and kept stirring. then, i threw in my leftover quinoa from last night and continued stirring until everything was heated through and there wasn’t much liquid in […]

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