Sausage Stock -- is that a thing?
This months Bon Appetit had a feature on homemade stock, and I'm ready to delve in. Before purchasing meat with the sole purpose of making stock, I figured I would try it with the mountains of venison I recently acquired from a hunting expedition. I have a lot of cuts, but far and away the majority is Italian sausage (there was a 20 lb. minimum at the butcher). Can this be used to make stock? I figure it will also gain the flavoring a put in the sausage, and frankly I'm not sure how to use it all up... at first test the texture wasn't quite what I was used to.
Any stock making advice would be appreciated! (Or any other cuts that I have and should throw in, so far we've only been cooking backstrap and ground for chili)
Sure, you can make a soup broth using the sausage as the meat element. Use a medium onion, a largish carrot, and a stalk of celery (include leaves if you have them) per pound of sausage, which should be halved lengthwise, removed from casing, or sliced into coins to maximize surface area and speed cooking. Likewise, the smaller the vegetable pieces, the more flavor they will render. About 2 qts of water to start. You already have seasonings in the sausage but you might want to add a bay leaf. Simmer, and taste as you go along. Once strained, you'll have a tasty broth. Discard the spent vegetables but if you have a dog or cat, they may like the meat even though there won't be much flavor left. They can't have onion often or in large amounts because it may lead to anemia but as an occasional meal/treat, it won't harm an otherwise healthy animal.
Chill your broth and remove the resulting cap of fat, if desired.
Alternately, just use the sausage as an ingredient when making a soup or stew in which water is the liquid. Like making lentil, pea, or bean soup. The sausage coins will flavor the water and retain enough flavor to be eaten as part of the soup as long as you aren't cooking it briefly - like 30-45 minutes.
Meat, especially already prepared meat, is an expensive way to make stock, and sausage in particular adds a lot of fat that will likely get skimmed off and wasted. There might be plenty of soups and chowders where starting out by browning a little sausage is a good idea, but not so much as a base for stock. Meat does add flavor, but typically you would use bones and whatever meat scraps and trim you couldn't use for anything else.
A true stock will require bones, and sausage does not have bones--so any result will be more of a broth than a stock. Also, the amount of fat in the sausage will likely cause a lot of grease to seep into the water.
So it can *technically* be a broth, but I'm not sure it will be a very good result.