A Farm to Table Recipe Presented by Dinner on the Farm
By Dan Stepaniak and Chad Townsend of Heartland Restaurant and Farm Direct Market
Summer is approaching, and there’s no better way to celebrate than dusting off the grill, firing up the charcoal and throwing on some fresh sausages. At Heartland Restaurant and Farm Direct Market, we are lucky to have access to many local products that come in with the changing seasons. Spring and summer mean our market and restaurant menu will be full of locally-foraged wild mushrooms, ramps, chili peppers, greens and many other beautiful spring and summer ingredients.
When we heard we were receiving two whole Red Deer, we were immediately inspired to make a fresh venison sausage that would take us into the spring. We thought it would be fun to include the sausage recipe for those brave enough to try making it at home, which requires purchasing some equipment (meat grinder, sausage stuffer, work bowls, etc.). Once you make the initial investment and take care of your gear, however, it will last forever. While it is a lengthy process, the finished product is definitely worth the time and effort. And the options are endless—we have made fresh sausages with pork, lamb, bison, beef and even goat.
In this recipe we balance out the spice of the curry in the venison sausage by pairing it with a caramelized honey-ginger yogurt, millet with garlic scallion and cilantro, grilled bok choy and, finally, a pickled egg yolk to round out the dish and adding a touch of acid. And if the meat choices are endless, so, too, are the toppings—no need to limit yourself to ketchup and mustard with your homemade sausages.
Featured Beer Pairing
3½ lbs lean venison
1½ lbs pork, fat trimmed
2 tbsp salt
2 tbsp curry powder
2 tsp black pepper
¾ tsp cinnamon
¾ tsp dry thyme
¾ cup currants
½ cup pomegramate juce or cherry juice
2 tbsp garlic, minced
¼ cup milk powder
¼ cup dry red wine
Put ground meat and all other ingredients into stand mixer (e.g. KitchenAid®) with paddle and mix for 3-5 minutes until it reaches slightly sticky consistency. Allow to sit overnight. Stuff into pork casings (35/38mm).
Pickled Egg Yolk
¼ cup Kosher salt
¼ cup Sugar
½ cup Distilled vinegar
Combine salt, sugar and vinegar in a pot and bring to boil. Cool liquid and gently place egg yolks in brine. Allow to sit for 24 hours and then rotate yolks. Allow to pickle for an additional 24 hours before serving.
1 cup millet
2 cup stock
¼ cup sliced garlic scallions
¼ bunch micro cilantro
salt & pepper to taste
a splash of habanero vinegar (optional)
Bring stock to boil, gently fold in millet. Reduce heat to low and cover, simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to sit for 15-20 minutes, until millet is tender. Fold in the rest of ingredients.
Caramelized Honey-Ginger Yogurt
¼ cup honey
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 knob ginger (size of thumb), sliced
2 tsp Aleppo chili
(Syrian sun-dried pepper)
½ cup yogurt
Put honey and ginger into pot and bring to boil (be careful—it will foam up). Allow time for some reduction/caramelization. Remove from heat and whisk in vinegar and Aleppo. Return to heat and reduce until it reaches caramel consistency. Strain and cool honey mixture. Fold honey mixture into yogurt.
About The Chefs
Dan Stepaniak grew up in St. Paul and received a BA in business from St. John’s University. He had an interest in the culinary field after college and decided to pursue a culinary degree from Ai Minneapolis in 2006. Dan learned from and was mentored by many great chefs in the Twin Cities including Steven Brown, JD Fratzke, Adam Vickerman, and now, Lenny Russo. After starting at Heartland Restaurant in 2010, Dan has learned an incredible amount about whole animal butchery, charcuterie and developing seasonal dishes using local ingredients. In 2013, Dan was promoted to Manager of the Heartland Farm Direct Market.
Chad Townsend grew up in Colorado and started working in restaurants at 13 years of age, washing dishes for $4 cash per hour. He graduated from Johnson & Wales with an AAS degree in culinary arts 2003 (Denver Campus) and earned a BS degree in food service entrepreneurship in 2005 (Rhode Island Campus). He worked in various restaurants on the east and west coasts before making his way back to the Midwest, where he began working for Lenny Russo at Heartland Restaurant in October 2009 at the location on St Clair and Fairview. Chad helped open the new location in Lowertown St. Paul and fell in love with the farm-to-table concept, along with whole animal butchery. Chad is looking forward to someday having his own farm to supply local restaurants.