These homemade, skinless sausages (the size of chipolata’s) weren’t destined to be on my blog. But we liked them so much, I made them again and took more photographs (most importantly during daylight hours). They are little pieces of homemade ‘sausage’ you could say and similar to the ‘cevap’s’ (pronounced chair-varps) I had growing up in my Serbian-influenced, Hungarian family. That childhood recipe was usually a mixture of pork and beef (or veal), a tonne of garlic and some salt and egg for binding. My parents had never even heard of a porcini mushroom, let alone porcini powder.
Speaking of which, if you’ve never kept porcini powder in your pantry I’d ask you to consider it (even if you don’t like mushrooms) because it boosts the flavour of many dishes. I was convinced of this after attending a spice appreciation evening a few years ago. The classes were and still are run by Ian ‘Herbie’ Hemphill himself. You can learn more about these classes on his website and even purchase the class in dvd format for only $15. By attending in person however, you get the added bonus of grinding spices yourself (you bring along your own pestle and mortar). I was able to sample three hot dishes prepared on the night (by someone else, not me) and they included some of the spices discussed. There was also coffee and wine at the end and of course you meet Ian himself. Ask him any spice question you like! All for $55.
Despite me not actually enjoying cooking classes in general, I learned things on that spice appreciation night and I was inspired! And still talk about it today. Because of ‘Herbie’ I now buy porcini powder and use it in my spaghetti bolognese or when I need to add stock to a recipe, or in marinades. It definitely adds ‘umami’ to any dish.. being the fifth taste element (the others are sweet, sour, bitter and salty..umami is none of these). Herbie’s porcini powder is brilliant and can be bought online or where Herbie’s spices are sold, $6.70 for only 15 grams.. I get about 3 uses out of it. I recently found another brand in the gourmet food section of Highton IGA supermarket ‘Premium Porcini Mushroom Powder’ (pictured below) around $6 for 40 grams.
I hope you won’t be put off by the inclusion of porcini powder or lemon myrtle in today’s recipe. For the uninitiated, lemon myrtle is a native Australian spice which is often stuck with a “bush spice” or “bush tucker” label. Because of this, lemon myrtle isn’t really thought about when a dish requires lemon rind or a lemony flavour. Why not use it in risotto or a seafood-based linguine.. or how about mixing some with whole egg mayo to serve with seafood? What about flavouring icecream with it? I used some in a marinade for lamb riblets Monday night.. lemon myrtle, oregano, garlic, salt & pepper, lemon juice and olive oil. It doesn’t need to be ‘bush tucker’… and I thank Ian ‘Herbie’ Hemphill for enlightening me about it.
Mincing your own chicken thigh fillets provides a much tastier result than what you’d get from supermarket chicken mince. No mystery-additives when you make it yourself. Having said that, I do buy mince from the supermarket just not for this recipe. Today’s recipe requires a food processor and it does most of the work for you. It’s basically “throw-it-all-into-the-blender”, then with wet hands, roll your chipolata’s. Done.
Chicken Chipolata’s with Lemon and Fennel
Makes 16 to 20
-5 skinless chicken thigh fillets (don’t trim off any bits of fat you might see, they add much needed moisture)
-1 medium sized onion
-1 teaspoon fennel seeds
-1 teaspoon porcini powder
-1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
-1 teaspoon chicken stock powder
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1 flat teaspoon of lemon myrtle (Substitute 1 teaspoon finely chopped lemon rind – For lemon myrtle, try your local Oxfam Fair Trade shop which is where I purchased mine. ‘Outback Spirit’ is the brand, though you can find lemon myrtle usually wherever good quality spices are sold)
-2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
-1/2 cup of almond meal
-1/2 teaspoon white pepper
-2 tablespoon’s of oil for frying
-For serving: Proper Dijon mustard from France (I’ve tried them all, the French do it best. Usually easy to find even in supermarkets, check the label)
-With kitchen scissors, cut each chicken thigh fillet into 3 pieces and throw into a food processor
-Using a mortar/pestle, bruise fennel seeds and chilli flakes together with salt.. this mix won’t be ground to a powder, you just want to release the spice aroma’s
-Add bruised spices to the chicken
-Chop onion into quarters and add to the mix
-Add chicken stock powder, pepper, minced garlic, lemon myrtle, porcini powder and almond meal into the chicken mix
-Put the lid on your food processor and process until you have what looks like a well-seasoned chicken mince (it won’t take too long)
-With a spoon, transfer chicken mince onto a plate or into a bowl
-With wet hands (perhaps have a little bowlful of water beside you like I do), grab some seasoned chicken mixture and make little sausages, about the size of chipolata’s (about 2 tablespoon’s of mixture per little sausage)
-When all of the little sausages have been rolled/formed, heat a frypan, add oil and brown chipolata’s until cooked through, without overcooking
-Serve with good, Dijon mustard from France
Rolled and ready to go in the pan….