Saturday, March 10, 2012

Vegetarian Boudin Sausage

A vegetarian blood sausage sounds absurd, and I guess it is a little crazy. However, I'm only taking inspiration from the original, not attempting to recreate it in any way. Traditionally, boudin, a regional New Orleans ingredient, is more like a rice and sausage casserole stuffed into a casing than what you expect when you hear the word 'sausage.' So, it kind of makes perfect sense to me to take the spices and the texture of the rice and add another savory flavor altogether.  Here, smoked sun-dried tomatoes -- not pork -- provide the umami for this sausage.

Once I made this, I couldn't stop thinking about it. It's that good. And, unlike store-bought sausages of any sort, you know exactly what's in it. 

It's good to make a double batch of this and freeze it. It goes well with red beans, or just slice it and put on a sandwich. The best way to serve it is like a hot dog on a french roll with sautéed onions and green peppers. Add a bit of my N'awlins sauce and some celery leaves to garnish. Make it and you'll consider yourself one lucky dog!

Vegetarian Boudin Sausage
(Makes six large sausages.)

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon red pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon oregano,
sea salt, and cracked black pepper (to taste)
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 cups (dry-packed) smoked sun dried tomatoes*
1 cups cooked rice
1/2 cup vital wheat gluten

Heat the canola oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Add the onion and celery to the pan. Cook until the onion is translucent and beginning to brown. Add the thyme, red pepper, paprika, garlic powder, oregano, salt and pepper. Add the wine and allow the mixture to reduce until most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove pan from the heat and place the cooked vegetables into the work bowl of your food processor. Add the parsley and sun-dried tomatoes. Pulse the mixture eight to ten times or until everything is finely chopped yet still distinct. Place the mixture into a large bowl along with the cooked rice and vital wheat gluten. (The wheat gluten is the binder that will hold the sausages together.) Mix it all vigorously by hand for at least two minutes.

Pull out six pieces of foil in 
four-inch sections. Place a 1/2 cup portion (for smaller sausages, use 1/4 cup) on each foil and form it roughly into a log shape. (No need to be too precise.) Roll the foil into a tube and twist the ends like a Tootsie Roll; each sausage should be between four and five inches long. Repeat the process until all of the mixture has been used. Place foil-wrapped sausages into a steamer basket and steam them for 45 minutes. (My steamer is just a metal colander that fits nicely into my stockpot.) They will plump and take shape when steamed. Remove sausages and allow them to cool completely. 

When ready to serve, brush each sausage with canola oil before grilling. Grill on high for two to three minutes per side or until well-marked. Serve on a warm French roll with sautéed peppers and onions, plenty of N'awlins sauce, and celery leaves for garnish. 

*Smoke regular sun-dried tomatoes for four minutes using THIS method or buy them pre-smoked. (I also have found them pre-made at Fresh Market.)


  1. Made this last night. Ingredients questions: Thyme, fresh or dried (I used dried), rice-what kind? (I used brown short grain), 2 packages (3 oz each) is just shy of two cups of smoked sun-dried tomatoes (which were at Fresh Market). I was super impressed with the method. The sausages stayed together, and cooked nicely on the grill. Texture was great, too. John & Wendy were here and each had one. They were really good, but like you said, not really a sausage substitute. They are very tangy from the sun-tomatoes, but the nawlins sauce mellowed them considerably. Without the sauce, I think they'd be good in any Italian-type dish. I have a feeling these will show up again a few times for the grill this spring/summer.