Today, I bring you a recipe found in the local newspaper this summer in the weekly column of our James Beard Award-winning chef, Sanford d'Amato.
You may have seen the faux sausages made with chocolate and nuts. This one is made with figs, prunes and 'candied' chickpeas (which represent the 'fat' in the faux sausages)! A reduction of red wine, balsamic vinegar, pomegranate juice, herbs and spices infuse the dried fruit with amazing flavor. This is delicious paired with a variety of cheeses for a fun and delicious appetizer. The nice thing about the recipe is that you use dried figs rather than fresh figs so you can make this year-round.
The only problem that I had with the recipe was the mixture remained far too sticky, even after being chilled overnight. I remedied that by adding unflavored gelatine which firmed it up perfectly without changing the flavor.
ps: If you see a few remaining 'summery looking' posts, please forgive me...I've been so busy this summer I haven't had time to post them all :)
Fig and Chickpea Sausage
Makes 4 sausages (about 6 ounces each)
Note: Candied Chickpeas can be started 1-2 days ahead - See recipe below
1 quart dry red wine
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
½ cup pure pomegranate juice
1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 sprig of fresh thyme
1 (5-inch) sprig of fresh rosemary
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
3 bay leaves
2 whole star anise
½ teaspoon kosher salt
6 ounces pitted prunes
8 ounces dry Mission figs, stems removed
2 envelopes Knox unflavored gelatin (my addition as I found the mixture far too sticky)
Place first 10 ingredients in a stainless saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce by half, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add prunes and figs, bring to a simmer, cover partially and cook about 35 to 40 minutes, until figs are tender and liquid is completely reduced to dry; uncover the last 5 minutes of cooking and stir constantly with a heatproof spatula to make sure fruit does not scorch on bottom of pan while liquid is reducing. Remove from heat and remove thyme, rosemary, cinnamon, bay leaves and star anise.
In a food processor, puree one-fourth of the mixture until fine, about 10 to 15 seconds. Mix puree back into pot, add the Knox Gelatin and gently simmer for a few minutes until the gelatin is dissolved. Add the remaining fruit, fold in the Candied Chickpeas and cool to room temperature.
Divide mixture into four equal portions and place on individual sheets of plastic wrap. Wrap plastic wrap around mixture and roll and shape each into roughly 6 by 2 inch sausage forms. The mixture will be sticky but will firm up in the refrigerator. Twist the sides of the plastic wrap together to compact the sausage. Place wrapped sausages on a plate and refrigerate, preferably overnight.
When ready to use, unwrap and slice with a sharp knife dipped in a touch of corn oil. Serve with cheeses of your choice.
Candied chickpeas: (Can me made the day before)
½ cup dried chickpeas
3 tablespoons sugar
1 bay leaf
1 star anise
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
Wash and soak chickpeas overnight in 4 times their volume of hot tap water, covered.
Drain chickpeas, place in a pot with remaining ingredients, cover with water to at least 3 inches above chickpeas and bring to a boil. Lightly boil, half-covered, about 50 minutes to 1 hour until very tender but not falling apart. Drain, cool and reserve.