At my daughters school they make a big deal about Saint Patty's Day. They tell the children that Leprechauns visit the school while the kids are out playing, and hide chocolate coins around the classroom. Fiona, my daughter, has been entirely unsure what to think about all of this, she is clearly excited about the chocolate, but inquired quite seriously recently about the existence of Leprechauns. "Tell me the truth daddy... Are leprechauns real?"
Oddly enough, I was fearful of telling her that they were not - mostly because at least in my mind, the next question would be about Santa, and at 4 I couldn't bear her thinking that Santa isn't real.
What came out of my mouth after assuring her that they were real... I have no excuse, except that it was funny..?
"Sure they are Fiona! In fact, Saint Patty's day is the one day of the year that we are allowed to hunt Leprechauns!"
Fiona didn't believe a word of it, and went straight home to tell my wife just how horrible Daddy was - teasing her that I was going to hunt Leprechauns, and even worse, make Leprechaun Sausage! My wife to her credit, thought all of this was very funny.
Now I should back up and explain that there is a lot of talk, especially lately, about hunting around the house. Many of our friends hunt and I have been shopping for a rifle and a shotgun. We have also been cooking a lot of game recently, and Fiona has expressed a sincere interest in "learning to hunt with Daddy" when she grows up.
So after delivering my daughter to daycare this morning - my wife suggested with a grin that I make up a batch of brats - with a bit of green food coloring for Fiona's Dinner.
God she's brilliant.
The look on my daughters face when she came into the kitchen this evening as I was stuffing the green sausages was priceless. She turned around and yelled to her mother "Mommmmyyy! I thought he was kidding!"
About halfway though grilling up the finished product my daughter was looking forward to getting her chow on. The sausages based on a recipe for fresh bratwurst are truely fantastic, and the smell of them cooking had Fiona completely convinced. I have reproduced the recipe below with the addition of green food coloring (but I recommend the original if you decide to try it).
In the end Fiona ate every bite of the sausage, and if at this point she believes in Leprechauns, at least she thinks their tasty!
Fresh Leprechaun Bratwurst
- 3 Pounds/1350 grams boneless pork shoulder butt, diced
- 1 pound/450 grams boneless lean veal shoulder, diced
- 1 pound/450 grams pork back fat
- 1.5 ounces/40 grams kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons/6 grams ground white pepper
- 1.5 ounces/5 grams freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup/250 milliliters ice cold heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons green food coloring
- 10 feet/3 meters hog casings soaked in tepid water for at least 30 minutes and rinsed.
- Combine all ingredients except the eggs and cream and toss well to distribute the seasonings. Chill until ready to grind.
- Grind the mixture through a small die into a bowl set in ice(see note below).
- Using the paddle attachment of a standing mixer(or a strong wooden spoon if mixing by hand), mix on low speed (or stir) for 1 minute. Add the eggs cream and green food coloring, start the mixer on low, and the increase the speed to medium and mix until the cream and eggs are uniformly incorporated and the sausage appears sticky, about a minute longer. Sauté a small portion of the sausage mixture and taste; adjust he seasoning if necessary. (Refrigerate the sausage mixture while you do this.)
- Stuff the sausage in the hog casings.
- Twist into 6 inch/15 centimeter links.
- Refrigerate or freeze until ready to cook.
- Gently sauté, grill or roast the sausages to an internal temperature of 150 degrees F./65 degrees C.
Makes about 5 pounds/2.25 kilograms sausage; about twenty 6-inch/15 centimeter links.
Notes: Keeping your ingredients cold with this recipe is very important. If the sausage "breaks" the flavor will be the same, but the texture will be undesirable.