Chicken Sausage With Rye Whiskey Plums
by Colby Garrelts, Chef, Bluestem, Kansas City, Missouri
While this recipe calls for only two plums, you could poach up to six plums in the amount of liquid that is used.
3 pounds ground Smart Chicken
2 tablespoons salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground white pepper
½ cup chilled dry white wine
¼ cup vegetable oil
3 cups rye whiskey
1¾ cups port wine
1½ cups freshly squeezed orange juice
1 cup sugar
1½ tablespoons grated orange zest
4 juniper berries
2 star anise
2 firm but ripe plums, halved and pitted
Freeze the meat for 15 minutes so the meat is cold. Combine the chilled meat, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed for 1 minute. With the mixer running, drizzle in the wine and continue to beat until the meat is sticky, about 2 minutes.
Pinch off a golf ball–sized piece of meat. Roll the meat together between your palms and flatten it slightly to make a small patty. In a sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the sausage patty and cook for 2 minutes on one side, then flip the patty and cook for another minute or two, until the meat has browned and the internal temperature registers 165°F on an instant-read thermometer. Taste the sausage and make any seasoning adjustments necessary to the whole batch accordingly. Form the rest of the meat into patties and fry them in a little vegetable oil just as you did with the tester patty.
In a saucepan, combine the whiskey, port wine, orange juice, sugar, orange zest, juniper berries, and star anise and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat to a simmer and add the plums. Cook the plums until the skins have loosened just enough to peel, about 5 minutes.
Remove the plums with a slotted spoon and let them cool on a plate. Strain the stewing liquid through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any solids. Reserve 4 cups of the stewing liquid; return the remaining liquid to the pot and bring it to a simmer over medium-low heat. Let the liquid reduce until it thickens into a syrup, about 10 minutes. Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t bubble over.
When the plums have cooled enough to handle them, peel the skins off, being careful not to destroy the shape of the plums. Discard the skins and store the plums in the reserved stewing liquid. Covered and refrigerated, they will keep for up to 1 week.
Divide the sausages and stewed plums among the plates. Drizzle a spoonful of the plum syrup around each plate and serve immediately.