French cuisine has a reputation for being rather an acquired taste, with some delicacies that don’t exactly appeal to the masses, but Andouille Sausage isn’t one of them. These smoked pork sausages are sure to delight almost every palate that isn’t vegan or vegetarian.
Traditional to Traveler
Andouille Sausage is a traditional French dish that consisted of an animal’s (usually a pig’s) chitterlings and stomach combined with onions and seasonings and placed in the animal’s large intestine as a casing. In this way, the entire digestive tract was (and still is) utilized in creating traditional Andouille Sausage.
Given the French history of creating dishes that utilize every possible piece of an animal (think Ris de Veau and Langue de Boeuf), it should come as no surprise that Andouille is made of parts of the animal that might otherwise be discarded. In a sense, it’s a very efficient way of maximizing the amount of food produced by a single animal.
Though this dish started as a distinctly French tradition, it soon sprouted legs and traveled to Italy, where it became ‘Nduja, which is a spreadable sort of pork salami. What’s more, Andouille also crossed the pond and put down roots in America, where it is now a vestige of Creole cuisine in Louisiana.
In the U.S., Andouille still utilizes most of the pork intestines, but it also features some additional seasonings and a method of double smoking. Still, some areas of Louisiana hold tight to their French roots and prepare their Andouille in the traditional fashion.
These beloved sausages star in all kinds of dishes, from stews to pastas, but the first step to partaking in any of these delectable dishes is making the Andouille itself.
To do this, you will need pork casing, pork meat, pork fat, and a number of seasonings to liven up the flavor. From there, the process of preparing the sausages is simpler than you might imagine:
- For about an hour, soak the casing so that it becomes soft, then run cold water through it to remove excess salt.
- Cut the pork into chunks and pass it through a meat grinder before combining it in a large bowl with all of your seasonings.
- Cut the casing into uniform lengths, tying a knot in the end of each of them.
- Fill the casings, and ensure that no extra air enters your Andouille as you fill them, then tie off the open end of the filled casings with a string.
- From there, your sausages are ready to be cooked however you would like, but pan frying is the method suggested in this recipe.
Building Off of Tradition
Like any great staple in the culinary world, there are all kinds of variations for making Andouille Sausage, and its largely based on personal preference.
For the most part, there’s no wiggle room in the fact that it is a smoked pork sausage (and so both the filling and casing come from pork); Andouille will almost always feature onions in the mixture, but from there, the sky’s the limit in terms of variation.
If you prefer a spicier sausage, you’re free to add paprika or cayenne; if you want something more simple, just stick to salt and pepper. The essential Andouille part of the recipe is a great base from which you’re free to experiment to fit your own tastes.
Not all French food is as beloved and widely adopted as Andouille, but with this particular dish, the French created a global sensation with their whole-animal habits.