At Salumeria the saucisson in question is boudin blanc rather than traditional Lyonnaise sausage. "I wanted to modernize a classic French technique," says Sigler. His sausage recipe replaces typical Christmas spices—nutmeg, clove, and mace— with a mixture of onion, garlic, heavy cream, and milk. "[My boudin] has a lot more onion and garlic so it's moister," he says.
Since the sausage has to survive a lengthy baking time, he incorporates a higher percentage of fat into the filling, using three parts pork meat to one part fat, along with blanched pork skin for texture. "There is high fat content in this, so the sausage doesn't dry out [when baked]," he explains. "If we did a regular grind, it would end up being crumbly."
Chef Matt Sigler begins preparing a combination of pork and fat for his Boudin Blanc en Brioche
Ground on a 1/8 inch dye, 3:1 pork to pork fat is ground into a bowl over ice to keep the mixture cold
Sigler pulses a mixture of meat, dairy and aromatics in a food processor until emulsified
Sigler binds the mixture with a whole egg, adding richness, body, and structure
In a bowl over ice, Sigler slowly adds flour to thicken the wet sausage mixture
Sigler adds flour to bind the mixture
Sigler pours the mixture on top a long sheet of clear plastic wrap
Wrapping the plastic wrap upon itself, Sigler begins to create a "torchon," which he will later poach
Holding the ends tightly, Sigler tightens and shapes the mixture into a classic "torchon"
Sigler tightens and shapes the mixture into a classic "torchon"
Sigler secures the ends of the torchon using butcher's twine
Sigler also omits the casing from the boudin blanc, which would normally resist cutting when baked into the brioche. To prevent massacering both sausage and bread, he wraps the fresh sausage mixture in plastic wrap and poaches it. The plastic wrap, he notes, must be tight and secure but not so tight that the plastic will burst when the boudin is cooked. "Don't be discouraged because the sausage is very wet," he explains. "Don't overstuff because the sausage will expand when poached." Cooking the boudin in a plastic "casing" also gives Sigler more control over the size of the sausage and create his optimal bread-to-sausage ratio: 1:1.
Despite Sigler's meticulous modifications, his en brioche technique is fairly straightforward. After poaching, he briefly shocks the boudin to stop the cooking before gently cooling it completely. The cooled boudin is scored, lightly floured, covered in egg wash, and placed in a semi-proofed loaf pan of brioche. The combination is proofed again, allowing the dough to cover the boudin. "[Ideally] the brioche proofs into the boudin," he says.
The real proof lies in a mouthwatering bite of savory, boudin-packed brioche. The version StarChefs.com tried last October, Sigler paired the finished product with creamy chicken liver mousse, sweet brown butter apples, earthy chestnut purée, and bright red onion jam. A thoughtfully composed update on the French original, these elements add pops of flavor and texture, elevating the delicate charcuterie to a memorable plated dish.
Boudin Blanc en Brioche Technique:
Grind pork meat with pork fat, processing through a ⅛-inch die. Grind into a chilled bowl set on ice to keep the combination cold.
In a food processor, emulsify ground pork with cold milk, cold cream, onion, garlic, and blanched pork skin in a food processor.
Move mixture into a chilled bowl over ice. Fold in flour to absorb the milk and cream and tighten the sausage.
Lay out a good amount of clear plastic wrap and pour enough boudin mixture on top to create a sausage that is half the size of the loaf pan. Start rolling the sausage with the plastic wrap, pinching the ends as you roll until the boudin is the desired shape and size and is secure. Twist the ends to contain the sausage and tighten it up.
To secure the ends, truss one end and then the other.
Using a small cake tester, prick any air bubbles from the roll.
Place the sausage in a pan of cold water and bring it to 180°F. Poach until the sausage reaches an internal temperature of 155°F, about 1 hour, then shock immediately in ice water to stop the cooking process. Cool.
Set chilled sausage into proofed brioche. Proof for an additional 2 hours, then bake at 450°F for 1 hour, or until the internal temperature is 190°F.