The Stewpot Recipe Gallery

Three Sausages from Platina
by
Arwen Southernwood

Introduction

I have long wanted to try my hand at sausage making, but I was intimidated by the process, especially that of putting the sausage into casings.  However, after participating in a sausage-making session with the Caerthen Cook's Guild, I saw that it was much easier than I had anticipated, and that I even already owned most of the equipment I would need[1].  The next step was to find some recipes.  In Platina's On Right Pleasure and Good Health, I found a number of interesting-sounding sausages; I was unable to decide on just one, so three sausages were presented.

Left to right:  Meat Sausage; Sausage (with Saffron);
and Lucanian Sausage


Original Recipe

20. Meat Sausages

On Right Pleasure and Good Health, Platina (Bartolomeo Sacchi).  [Mary Ella Milham, trans.]
Take meat from a veal haunch, and cut it up small with its own fat or with lard.  Grind marjoram and parsley together, and beat egg yolk and grated cheese with a paddle, sprinkle on spices, make a single mass and mix everything with the meat itself.  Then wrap this mixture with pork or veal casing, after it has been cut off in pieces to the size of an egg.  Cook on a spit at the hearth on a slow fire.  The common people call this sausage mortadella because it is surely more pleasant a little raw than overcooked.  For this reason it is digested slowly, makes obstructions, creates stone, but nevertheless helps the heart and liver.


Redaction - Meat Sausages

Ingredients:

1/2 cup loosely-packed parsley leaves, washed and picked over
2 teaspoons dried marjoram (or 1/4 cup fresh)
2 egg yolks
3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon finely ground cinnamon (cassia)
1/8 teaspoon finely ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon finely ground ginger
Scant 1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
1 1/4 pounds beef stew meat, untrimmed
2 sausage casings

Preparation Steps:

  1. Put parsley and marjoram in the bowl of a food processor and grind together.
  2. Add egg yolks, cheese, and spices and grind together until cheese is ground fine.
  3. Add in meat and grind just until meat is blended with the egg mixture.  Refrigerate overnight so that flavors blend.
  4. Stuff into sausage casings, being careful not to stuff them too full.  Twist the sausage into small links and cut apart.
  5. Skewer sausages on metal skewers and suspend over a 13" x 9" baking pan.  Bake in a 325 degree F oven for 45 minutes, or until juices run clear when pricked with a fork.

Redaction Notes:

After investigating the price of veal and finding it to be cost-prohibitive ($9/lb. at this writing), I decided to substitute beef instead.  I chose stew beef because it was relatively inexpensive, and because the meat as packaged contained a fair amount of fat.

I used dried marjoram because it was what I had available; my supply is relatively fresh, so the herbs were still potent and very fragrant.  Fresh marjoram would be preferable in season.

Platina does not specify what kind of cheese to use.  Since I was planning to use Parmesan in another recipe, which called for a hard, aged cheese, I deemed it acceptable for this recipe as well.

The spices to be used are also not specified.  After examining other meat recipes in the same section of the manuscript (Book Six), I determined that cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and pepper would be suitable.  Because the original recipe states that finely ground spices are to be used, I used commercially ground spices.  My supplies of all spices used were relatively fresh, and therefore potent and very fragrant.  I determined the amounts to be used by seasoning the meat, cooking a little and tasting it, making adjustments, and repeating the process until I was satisfied with the result.  I was interested to note that the original recipe does not call for any salt at all; I therefore did not add any either.

Due to time limitations, I mixed the sausage meat one night, stuffed it into casings the next, and let it sit for another day before cooking.

Because the original recipe states that the sausages should be the size of eggs, and because I wished to have small portions that could be sampled, I made the sausage links relatively small.  As I do not employ kitchen servants to perform such menial tasks, for the sake of convenience the meat was ground in a modern food processor rather than being chopped by hand, and was stuffed into commercially-available sausage casings using modern equipment.

As I did not have access to a hearth with a cooking fire, I decided to roast the sausages in a relatively low oven.  Although the original recipe calls for them to be served "a little raw," they do contain eggs.  Therefore, in the interests of safe eating, I decided to cook them until done through.  As they were an arts and sciences entry, they were presented in a modern chafing dish in order to hold them at a safe temperature until judging was complete.


Original Recipe

22. Sausages

On Right Pleasure and Good Health, Platina (Bartolomeo Sacchi).  [Mary Ella Milham, trans.]
Into well-ground veal or pork fat, mix grated cheese which is not only aged but rich, well-ground spices, two or three eggs, beaten with a paddle, and as much salt as the batch requires, and saffron so as to make everything saffron-colored.  When they are mixed, put them in a well washed intestine which has been drawn out exceedingly thinly. Not good unless they have hardened for two days[2], they require cooking in a pot.  They can be kept, however, for a fortnight or more, if you add more salt and spices or if you dry them in smoke.


Redaction - Sausages (with Saffron)

Ingredients:

2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon loosely-packed saffron threads
1 teaspoon finely ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon finely ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (cassia)
1 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1+ pounds beef stew meat
2 sausage casings

Preparation Steps:

  1. Crush saffron threads.  In a food processor, blend eggs, cheese, spices, and salt.  Add in meat and grind just until meat is blended with the egg mixture.  Refrigerate overnight so that flavors blend.
  2. Stuff into sausage casings, being careful not to stuff them too full.  Twist the sausage into small links and cut apart.  Refrigerate for two days.
  3. Fill a stockpot with cold water.  Put in sausages and bring gently to a boil so that the sausage casings do not burst.  Simmer until sausages are cooked through, about 30 minutes.  Serve hot.

Redaction Notes:

After investigating the price of veal and finding it to be cost-prohibitive ($9/lb. at this writing), I decided to substitute beef instead.  I chose stew beef because it was relatively inexpensive, and because the meat as packaged contained a fair amount of fat.

Platina does not specify what kind of cheese to use, but says it should be "cheese which is not only aged but rich."  Looking elsewhere in the manuscript for further information, I found, in Book Two, the section entitled, "On Cheese" [3].  Parmesan is specifically mentioned as a hard, aged cheese, though it is described as "difficult to digest, of little nutriment, not good for stomach or belly ..." [4].  However, Platina goes on to say that it "takes away the squeamishness of fatty dishes," [5] which probably helps explain its presence in this dish, as he was very well-versed in the balancing of the various humours of the body.

Other than saffron, the spices to be used are also not specified.  Because I wanted to end up with something that was different from the "meat sausages" in the previous recipe, I looked elsewhere in the manuscript to see what spices would have been available.  Book Three contains information on the virtues of several spices, including pepper, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and saffron.  I finally decided that nutmeg would compliment the saffron well, and added a touch of cinnamon and pepper as well.  Because the recipe states that well-ground spices are to be used, I used commercially ground spices.  My supplies of all spices used were relatively fresh, and therefore potent and very fragrant.  I determined the amounts to be used by seasoning the meat, cooking a little and tasting it, making adjustments, and repeating the process until I was satisfied with the result.

Due to time limitations, I mixed the sausage meat one night, stuffed it into casings the next, and let it sit for another day before cooking.  This was as close as I could come to letting it "harden" for two days, as specified in the recipe.  I surmise that this was done to allow the flavors to blend and the salt to penetrate through the meat.

Because I wished to have small portions that could be sampled, I made the sausage links relatively small.  As I do not employ kitchen servants to perform such menial tasks, for the sake of convenience the meat was ground in a modern food processor rather than being chopped by hand, and was stuffed into commercially-available sausage casings using modern equipment.

The recipe calls for the sausages to be cooked "in a pot."  I interpreted this to mean that they should be boiled or stewed.  As they were an arts and sciences entry, they were presented in a modern chafing dish in order to hold them at a safe temperature until judging was complete.


Original Recipe

23. Lucanian sausage

On Right Pleasure and Good Health, Platina (Bartolomeo Sacchi).  [Mary Ella Milham, trans.]
If you want good Lucanian sausages, cut the lean and fat meat from the pig at the same time, after all the fibers and sinews have been removed.  If the piece of meat is ten pounds, mix in a pound of salt, two ounces of well cleaned fennel, the same amount of half-ground pepper, rub in and leave for a day on a little table.  The next day, stuff it into a well cleaned intestine and thus hang it up in smoke.


Redaction - Lucanian Sausage

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon whole fennel seed
1 (scant) tablespoon coarsely ground pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 lbs. pork, including some fat, cut into 1/2" cubes
3 sausage casings

Preparation Steps:

  1. Mix fennel, pepper and salt together in a small bowl.
  2. In a food processor, layer the cubes of pork with the spices.  Grind just until meat is blended with the spices.  Refrigerate overnight so that flavors blend.
  3. Stuff into sausage casings, being careful not to stuff them too full.  Twist the sausage into small links and cut apart.  Refrigerate for two days.
  4. Skewer sausages on metal skewers and suspend over a 13" x 9" baking pan.  Bake in a 325 degree F oven for 45 minutes, or until juices run clear when pricked with a fork.

Redaction Notes:

The biggest change I made in this recipe was to greatly reduce the amount of salt.  Because of the large amount of salt called for in the original, and because of its instructions to "hang it up to smoke," I believe this recipe to have been intended to create a sausage that could be stored for long periods of time.  Since I did not require that it keep for more than a few days, I felt I could justify using less salt than specified.

Since my sausage did not have enough salt in it to preserve it from spoilage, in the interests of food safety, I let it sit in the refrigerator overnight, rather than leaving it out "on a little table."

Also, as I do not have access to meat smoking facilities, I decided to roast the sausages as I had done with the Meat Sausages in the first recipe.

I determined the amounts of fennel, pepper, and salt to be used by seasoning the meat, cooking a little and tasting it.  In this case (unlike the other two recipes), I found my original proportions to be very pleasing, and therefore, no adjustments were made.

Because I wished to have small portions that could be sampled, I made the sausage links relatively small.  As I do not employ kitchen servants to perform such menial tasks, for the sake of convenience the meat was ground in a modern food processor rather than being chopped by hand, and was stuffed into commercially-available sausage casings using modern equipment.

As they were an arts and sciences entry, they were presented in a modern chafing dish in order to hold them at a safe temperature until judging was complete.


References:

  • Platina [Mary Ella Millham, ed. & trans.].  Platina's On Right Pleasure and Good Health: A Renaissance Gentleman's Discourse on Food, Health, and the Physical Pleasures. Pegasus Press, Asheville, North Carolina, 1999.  ISBN 1-889818-12-7.
  • Platina [trans. unknown].  On Honest Indulgence (De honesta voluptate).  Falconwood Press, Albany, NY (undated).

Footnotes:

[1] As I already owned a Kitchen Aid mixer with the meat grinder attachment, the only additional equipment I needed were the sausage stuffing tubes.

[2] Interestingly, another translation says, "They are only good for two days." (Falconwood Press, undated).

[3] (Milham, pp. 39-40)

[4] ibid.

[5] ibid.

Date Of Redaction

Prepared for the Caerthen Arts and Sciences Competition, 
November 4, A.S. XXXV (2000 c.e.)

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