I have a buddy in Cannon Falls, Mn who referred to me as a finisher, I am the guy you send your meat to, to get finished. Last year he raised some ducks and after they returned from the butcher he sent them home with me to be turned into duck prociutto, duck boudin, duck stock and rendered duck fat. I also got sent home last year with all of the ground venison from the deer hunt to make into summer sausage and Brats
and a few yet to be determine sausages. I like the idea of being a finisher it reminded me of a story I had read in Paul Bertolli's book, Cooking by Hand, about a Norcino, that was the term for a man who went farm to farm and helped butcher pigs and turn them into delicious foods for the winter stores of the farmers. That got me thinking, that I do a lot of finishing for people, maybe someday it could be a second job for me.
Every year a friend of mine and his family invite me down to Wabasha, Minnesota for the open of the Minnesota duck hunting season. I have been going down there for the past 10 or 11 years and have really had some great success hunting with Eric and his 3 brothers. For the past few years I have been coming home with around fifteen or twenty pounds of duck meat that they send home with me to make sausages. Last year I had made them a roasted garlic and sage duck sausage and a dry cured duck salami that some liked and some didn't. I thought it was fantastic. So this year when they sent me home with some meat I wanted to try a few different types of sausages and started researching different recipes.
A while back another friend of mine turned me on to a food blog by Hank Shaw called, Hunter, Angler, Gardner, Cook
From what I can tell Hank is a master of all things outdoors and in the kitchen and has quickly become my go to site for recipes and techniques for wild game. Conveniently Hank has an entire section of recipes for duck sausages. So this year I thought I would make three different types of sausages and give the boys down in Wabasha a variety to taste. The first was a classic Toulouse style sausage
this is a very easy sausage to make and requires very few ingredients, only garlic, black pepper and nutmeg are used to season it. and it turned out fantastic. The flavors are all very distinct but don't mask the flavor of the duck.
The next sausage was a hunter's style sausage
, I am pretty sure that you could substitute any type of wild game in this sausage and it would work great. Duck can really hold its own flavor wise with a lot of different seasonings and spices but there are a few that really compliment it well, juniper, chinese five spice and sage. All three are in this hunter style sausage and mix beautifully to make a very fragrant and delicious sausage. The last sausage I just thought sounded interesting was a Polish style duck sausage
and I was not disappointed at all, this was another great example of flavors not masking the duck but bring out the really beauty of the duck flavor that most of us love.
I am really looking forward to trying a few of these recipes with some of the venison from last years deer. I really think the Toulouse style sausage is going to work wonderfully with venison. And I can't wait to take all the sausages back down to Wabasha for the boys down there to try.