Alaska White Bean Soup With Salmon Sausage and Reindeer Sausage

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This zesty, robust soup will take the chill off even the coldest weather. 

We’d been thinking about creating our own salmon sausage for quite some time, but it took the beautiful recipes in our recently acquired copy of The Tutka Bay Lodge Cookbook to get off the stick. Turns out, there’s nothing to it. Use a food processor (or a stick blender with a nut chopper) to grind up salmon (or just chop it up fine with a sharp knife), mix in your favorite seasonings, and bind with egg whites. Tightly roll up this mixture to the thickness desired in plastic wrap, put a twist in the middle to separate the sausages, twist and tie off the ends, boil for 10 minutes, and voila! Salmon Sausage. Although we used Coho Salmon fillets from one of our summer catches, this same method would work beautifully with canned salmon. And there’s no reason to confine yourself to salmon. Chopped clams, halibut, rockfish, crab, scallops or some of Alaska’s spectacular deep water prawns could go into this sausage as well. We can’t wait to try this recipe again with some of our smoked salmon.

As to the soup… We created a minestrone-type broth using canned tomatoes. To that we added white beans, oven-roasted carrots, salmon sausage, reindeer sausage and Swiss chard. We also added sweet onions, colorful Swiss chard stems and garlic that had been sautéed in olive oil. Seasonings included oregano, marjoram, a little thyme and a splash of white wine. We finished the soup with smoked sea salt. Served with toasted sourdough bread and a homemade hefeweizen, this is a bowl that takes the chill off!

Wild Salmon Sausages

Rain, rain and more rain here at The Lake – but any day that begins with a hot mug of joe, pumpkin waffles and tasty wild salmon sausages has gotta be great!

I first made these sausages when a wintery-cold weekend had us craving bean and sausage soup. With ample quantities of three types of beans in our larder, the bean part of the soup was no problem. But alas, the last of our store-bought meat sausages had long ago disappeared. Although I’d heard about salmon sausage, I wasn’t sure how to go about making them. Barbra came to the rescue. She recalled having come across a recipe while leafing through our copy of Kirsten and Mandy Dixon’s The Tutka Bay Lodge Cookbook.

The Dixons’ recipe is simple and lends itself to countless modifications. Any reasonably fatty fish works well, and scallops, shrimp, crab or other ingredients (think wild blueberries or lingonberries) can be feathered in to create unique and tasty variations. As for seasonings, we enjoy combinations of fennel or tarragon coupled with smokey chipotle pepper. Sautéing these sausages in soy sauce just prior to serving them or using them in other dishes adds a smack of umami.

Wild Salmon Sausages

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp shallots, chopped fine
  • olive oil
  • 1 pound wild-caught salmon fillet, skin removed, or use canned salmon
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp ground fennel
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp powdered chili mix – a mix that features chipotle, smoked paprika and mesquite works well. See here for a terrific DIY mix.
  • a pot of simmering water
  • soy sauce

Directions

  1. Heat a little olive oil in a skillet. Add shallots. Sauté briefly, just till shallots are cooked through. Place shallots in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Use a sharp knife to finely chop salmon fillet. Add to mixing bowl.
  3. Add egg, seasonings and spices to mixing bowl. Stir all ingredients together thoroughly.
  4. Arrange some of the salmon mixture lengthwise a couple of inches from the edge along a sheet of plastic wrap about 14 inches long. Leave a couple of inches of space at both ends of the plastic sheet. Roll/wrap the salmon mixture in the plastic, creating a sausage shape. At one third of the length of the sausage roll, gently twist the plastic wrap to separate the salmon into separate sausages. Repeat to create a total of three separate sausages.
  5. Twist the ends of the plastic to close. Rubber bands can be used to ensure the plastic stays closed.
  6. Repeat with additional plastic wrap sheets until all the salmon mixture has been formed into sausages.
  7. Place enough water in a large pot to cover the plastic-wrapped sausages and bring to a light boil. (A sauterne works perfectly for this.) Gently place the wrapped salmon sausages into the water and simmer for 10 minutes. Occasionally move the sausages to ensure that they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
  8. Remove sausages from water. Let cool and then unwrap them. (Left wrapped, they can be placed in a zipped plastic bag and stored in the freezer.)
  9. To serve: In a frying pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Arrange sausages in the pan – they should sizzle. Drizzle each sausage with soy sauce. This will add an agreeable amount of salt and brown them up. Since they are already cooked, simply heat the sausages through.