I learned something surprising about myself last night as I belatedly tackled my May Charcutepalooza challenge.
I REALLY love the process of making sausage. Heck, I just really love the task of hacking up big hunks of protein.
Going from the image in the front – a chunk of Pork Shoulder Butt (no, it’s not an oddly shapped animal but the end piece of the shoulder) – to the diced pieces at the back was oddly fulfilling.
And then, putting my multi-tasking new kitchen gadget (a meat grinder AND pasta maker? Heck yeah!) to use with my chile-coated chunks of pork. The site honestly brought me back to my Play-Doh days and had me utter to Kevin, “Wow this is so fulfilling.”
He thought I was joking. Do I look like I’m joking in this picture? I’m a focused gal. The honest truth is it is immensely fulfilling to me – just like the other Charcutepalooza challenges have been and all the other times I tackle a family recipe or try to channel Alton Brown. What’s great about cooking for me, especially when trying something out of my comfort zone, is seeing the fruit (or meaty goodness) of my labor RIGHT THEN.
After a day filled with strategy discussions, problem solving and putting out fires, days in which I rarely produce a tangible example of my work, it is extremely fullfilling to turn a hunk of raw protein into something delicious. Do I follow the recipe exactly? Of course not, I’m a creative mind and part Italian after all. That’s where I get to go all Iron Chef on a recipe when I don’t have the exact spice or misread a specific direction. You take what’s in front of you and you make it work.
And frequently, it works out in a delicious way. We blended Italian and Mexican flavors for the above result – homemade smokey spicey chorizo atop polenta, finished with roasted tomatoes, black beans and the first cilantro from the herb garden. Fulfilling and filling.