From bangers to bacon
Sausages might not be sexy, but Auckland chef Jeremy Schmid reckons there is something beautiful about them.
The man behind Dominion Rd's Two Fifteen Bar and Bistro is well known in small goods circles; in 2003, he created the award-wining brand of Little Boys sausages. Now, he wants to get everyone in on the act, with the release of his first cookbook, Bangers to Bacon.
The book is Schmid's attempt to spell out just how simple - and beneficial - making your own meat products can be.
"I'm just quite passionate about things that are more traditional, and sausages are quite an old technique," he says.
"And I think it's something that is coming back a bit now, with people wanting to know where things come from, the history of their food. I just love it and just like being able to show people just how easy it is, and that it's not rocket science like some people think."
In his book, Schmid walks home cooks through the basics; from what equipment is needed to bash out a string of sausies, to the best flavour combinations and just what to do with them once you've made them. The book also goes beyond sausages, with a look at cured meats and other carnivorous treats as well as a sprinkling of vegetarian options.
But it's meat that the chef is passionate about. And if anyone is going to know the best way to cook it, then Schmid's the guy; he won a scholarship to study charcuterie at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, and once back in New Zealand, he was making 20kg of sausages each week at Palazzo Roma in South Auckland.
Even after making around three tonnes of sausages on his home machine alone, Schmid can still remember his first attempt.
"It was probably a pork sausage, and that was alright. The worst sausage I ever made was a turkey one and I didn't put any fat in it so it tasted a little bit like cardboard."
He says he has heard all the bad theories on the humble sausage, and while they might have an unhealthy rap sheet, a little bit of the naughty stuff is necessary to make a tasty product.
"A sausage needs to have a bit of fat in it...and people perceive fat as unhealthy, but it's a natural fat; and everything in moderation is fine.
"[Using the recipes] you have the chance to make something at home that is healthy, you know where the animal came from...it gives you an opportunity to create your own sausage and it's not unhealthy - it's like eating a roast lamb or a roast pork."
Just don't ask the chef to pick a favourite recipe in the book because chances are, you won't get a straight answer.
"There are lots of things I like. Sausage-wise, there's a lamb and rosemary one, or we've put it on the menu just now, a pork and Italian cheeses. Then there's a chicken dish...."
Bangers to Bacon is out now.
- © Fairfax NZ News