Heston Blumenthal's Sausage and Mash Perfection

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Heston Blumenthal's Sausage and Mash Perfection

Postby Josh » Mon Oct 30, 2006 9:42 am

Did anyone see this in the Style section of the Sunday Times yesterday? There's a link below for those that didn't.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0, ... 42,00.html

For those who don't know Heston is the owner and head chef at the 3-Michelin starred Fat Duck restaurant in Bray that held the coveted number 1 spot in Restaurant magazine's top 50 restaurants in the world last year. I've had the pleasure of eating there and it was pretty special. As you'll find out in the link below he has an amazing ability to make the simplest of things obscenely complicated though. I'm not sure if his ideas translate very well into the home kitchen. Interestingly for his perfect banger he seems to have gone down the processed emuslfied meat route. To me the recipe seems really heavy on water though. What do you more experienced sausage makers think?

I'd like to give them a go one day to see how they turn out. Does look a bit of a palaver though.
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Postby Oddley » Mon Oct 30, 2006 10:59 am

hi Josh,
first, the spice mix for this sausage looks extremely like a Cumberland sausage spice mix, I think the water content would be okay. I've seen German recipes for emulsified sausages, with up to about 24% water. The fat content of this sausage is about 36%. It is okay for an emulsified sausage.

What I am worried about is the poaching, in my experience this always makes the hogs casing very rubbery and hard to chew, I can't see the frying afterwards doing anything for the tough casing.

This sausage seems rather a lot of work and a lot of mucking about, I don't know if I'll make it. I'm investigating at the moment, emulsified sausages, primarily Frankfurters and bockwurst. I'll post my findings when I'm finished.
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Postby Josh » Mon Oct 30, 2006 11:11 am

It's definitely a lot of mucking about.

Aye, the spice mixture looked very standard. Only weird things being the golden syrup and "toast water".

I made some boudin blanc once and the poaching did indeed render the skins very rubbery. The poaching in this recipe is at a very low temperature so not sure how that will affect them. I'd hazard a guess it comes from the posh restaurant's fave method of cooking meat sous vide in low temp water baths. This does yield amazing results on lumps of meat and fish but would be interesting to see the effect on an emulsion.
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Postby Oddley » Mon Oct 30, 2006 12:36 pm

You know I have to laugh, with the latest and greatest from these posh restaurants. Sous vide has been done by Tesco's for years, like boil in the bag kippers, boil in the bag chicken. boil in the bag rice.

When I was a 16-year-old apprentice, some 30 odd years ago, I used to go out during the lunch break and buy a packet of Frankfurters and some rolls as the workplace didn't have any cooking facilities, only an old tea urn I used to wash off the Frankfurter packaging and throw that in the hot water in the tea urn. So it was me that invented sous vide ha-ha.

What he is trying to achieve with the sausages, I think, is a smoky flavour, what with the toast and the burnt back fat. I don't know why he just didn't put in some hickory smoke powder. Another thing is, he didn't put in any phosphate so that's why all the mucking about freezing and cutting. Although you do have to keep the temperature down when emulsifying meat.
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Postby saucisson » Mon Oct 30, 2006 12:43 pm

Heston Blumenthal has a new show on BBC2 starting on Tuesday at 8.00pm for those interested in making a simple dish complicated :)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctwo/programmes/ ... blumenthal

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Postby dougal » Mon Oct 30, 2006 5:27 pm

Oddley wrote:You know I have to laugh, with the latest and greatest from these posh restaurants. Sous vide has been done by Tesco's for years, like boil in the bag kippers, boil in the bag chicken. boil in the bag rice.
...
What he is trying to achieve with the sausages, I think, is a smoky flavour, what with the toast and the burnt back fat. I don't know why he just didn't put in some hickory smoke powder. Another thing is, he didn't put in any phosphate so that's why all the mucking about freezing and cutting. Although you do have to keep the temperature down when emulsifying meat.


All irony aside, there's lots of folks who do confuse boil-in-the-bag *reheating* with sous vide *cooking*.
And the food processing industry additives that Mr B likes playing with are rather sexier (and more impressively technical-sounding) than mere phosphate and artificial smoke.

Personally, I haven't a lot of time for what I've heard of Heston, who comes across as a trendy restauranteur ripping off rich punters with 'original' dishes spiritually ripped off from... well Adria, Ducasse, even McGee... No, if you want to make the simple complicated - try Keller.
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Postby vinner » Mon Oct 30, 2006 5:50 pm

I have been slow poaching my sausages, especiallly the chicken meat sausages, so as to keep raw product from going to friends and neighbors, who may mis- handle them. I pour them in cold water (on a steamer basket, to keep the bottom ones from scorching), fill the pot with cold tap water, and put the heat on high. When my remote thermometer reads 170 degrees F, I turn the heat to low, and let poach for 20 minutes. Then I check to make sure the interal temp of the sausages is at 160F.

The resulting cooked sausages do NOT have tougher skins.

When do brats, I add beer to about 30% of volume. I drink the rest.
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Postby Josh » Mon Oct 30, 2006 5:51 pm

I would imagine being deaf and blind would make even the most simple of things quite complicated.

I think Adria's gone too far with El Bulli. It's beyond food now. Heston's dishes seem more aimed at decent combinations and letting underlying ingredient's flavour rule the dish.
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Postby Josh » Mon Oct 30, 2006 5:54 pm

vinner wrote:I have been slow poaching my sausages, especiallly the chicken meat sausages, so as to keep raw product from going to friends and neighbors, who may mis- handle them. I pour them in cold water (on a steamer basket, to keep the bottom ones from scorching), fill the pot with cold tap water, and put the heat on high. When my remote thermometer reads 170 degrees F, I turn the heat to low, and let poach for 20 minutes. Then I check to make sure the interal temp of the sausages is at 160F.

The resulting cooked sausages do NOT have tougher skins.

When do brats, I add beer to about 30% of volume. I drink the rest.


I think there must be a temperature at which this toughening of the skin occurs.

Considering how obsessed he appears with food I can't imagine him recommending something that makes his sausages rubbery.

Plus your experiences would prove otherwise too.
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Postby saucisson » Mon Oct 30, 2006 6:25 pm

Josh wrote:I would imagine being deaf and blind would make even the most simple of things quite complicated.


I didn't mean my simple/complicated remark to be a put down of Heston :oops:, I will be watching his show with interest, but I gather the show is about recreating British staple foods the Heston way, so I assumed (naively or otherwise) that it would be more complicated than in your average domestic kitchen.

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Postby vinner » Mon Oct 30, 2006 6:29 pm

Dugal:

Spot on about Keller. It takes me 3 days to make his veal stock from "The French Laundry Cookbook". But it IS good.
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Postby Oddley » Mon Oct 30, 2006 6:37 pm

Vinner, I have no doubt that your sausages don't come out rubbery. But I can only relate to my own experiences. When I was experimenting with some saveloys, I poached them in water at about 80�C for 20 minutes, and without fail the skins were all rubbery. Therefore it must be something to do with the poaching temperature. If not then it's a bit of a mystery that must be investigated.

Dougal, I am a bit of a newbie at souse vide, but if my understanding of the subject is correct, then it means gently poaching food at quite low temperatures, over a long period of time under vacuum. from my research. It seems that the low temperatures can be as low as 110 Fahrenheit, this seems to me to be quite dangerous, unless you know exactly what you are doing. It is the same with curing, unless you know what you're doing, it can be dangerous. I think I would have to do a lot more research before I attempted to do any cooking souse vide.
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Postby Josh » Mon Oct 30, 2006 6:38 pm

saucisson wrote:
Josh wrote:I would imagine being deaf and blind would make even the most simple of things quite complicated.


I didn't mean my simple/complicated remark to be a put down of Heston :oops:, I will be watching his show with interest, but I gather the show is about recreating British staple foods the Heston way, so I assumed (naively or otherwise) that it would be more complicated than in your average domestic kitchen.

Dave


I didn't think it was. :)

I was making an un-PC joke regarding which Keller (Helen versus Thomas) dougal was referring to in his post.
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Postby mark gadd » Mon Oct 30, 2006 6:39 pm

This might sound odd but we buy Costco sausage (cos their nice) which have tough skins when oven cooked,but casserole them and the skins disappear and no moaning missus.
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Postby dougal » Mon Oct 30, 2006 8:03 pm

Oddley wrote:Dougal, I am a bit of a newbie at souse vide, but if my understanding of the subject is correct, then it means gently poaching food at quite low temperatures, over a long period of time under vacuum. from my research. It seems that the low temperatures can be as low as 110 Fahrenheit, this seems to me to be quite dangerous, unless you know exactly what you are doing. ...


Its not my bag either. ( :roll: )

My point was just to make explicit that instructions like "poach for 36 hours at 62C �1C" are not just a million miles away from boil in the bag, but almost seem selected to be as close as possible to impossible for domestic replication. Doesn't stop some folk trying - but I too will gladly pass.
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