Link’s Boudin

Makes 4 pounds. Recipe courtesy of Donald Link is adapted from “Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking From Donald Link’s Louisiana” by Donald Link (Clarkson Potter, 2009).

2 lbs. pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes

1/2 lb. pork liver, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 small onion, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

1 medium poblano, chopped

3 medium jalapeños, chopped

6 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

4 tbls. kosher salt

2 tbls. black pepper

1 tbl. white pepper

1/2 tsp. curing salt

2 tsps. cayenne pepper

1 tsp. chili powder

8¼ cups water

7 cups cooked white rice

1 cup chopped parsley

1 cup chopped scallions (white and green tops)

1. Combine the pork, liver, vegetables and seasonings, and marinate 1 hour or overnight. Place meat mixture in a large pot and cover with water (water should cover the meat by one to two inches), and bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until the meat is tender, about 1 hour and 45 minutes.

2. Remove the pot from heat and strain, reserving liquid. Allow the mixture to cool slightly, then put all ingredients through a meat grinder (set on coarse grind). Alternatively, you can chop with a knife if you don’t have a meat grinder, which is what Link usually does.

3. Place the ground meat in a large bowl. Using your hands or a rubber spatula, mix in the cooked rice, parsley, scallions and the reserved cooking liquid, and stir vigorously for 5 to 10 minutes. Feel free to use a mixer instead.

4. At this point, you can feed the sausage into rinsed natural casings (they come packed in salt). To do this, slide about 2 to 3 yards of casing onto the nozzle. Tie a knot on casing once it starts to come out. Guide the sausage onto a sheet pan that has a little water on it to keep the casings from drying out and cracking. Twist the sausage into 6- to 8-inch links, depending on how big you like your sausage. From here, you can poach the links gently in hot (not bubbling) water for about 10 minutes. Alternatively, you can use it as a stuffing for chicken, or roll it into boudin balls, dredge in bread crumbs and fry in hot oil until golden brown.