THis is going to sound like the dumbest question in outer space, but here I go anyway: I'm making Melissa Clark's sausage and white bean stew from yesterday's Times. It says to slice the Italian Sausage. Do I remove the casings. They are superfresh, but I think it will just fall apart. Not that there's anything wrong with that. . .



Kayb November 5, 2010
If it's a fresh sausage and I want coins instead of browned chunks, for appearance sake, I always bake for a few minutes first. Mrslarkin's freezing idea would work, too.
pierino November 5, 2010
Okay, I had time on my hands. I'm sitting around waiting for a piece of furniture to be delivered sometime between 10:00 and 10:30---at night. So I pulled out yesterday's Times, and I'm going to side with the leave casing on faction. But factor in this detail, who is making your sausage? A real hand at it or an amateur. It's not all the same. Unless a recipe explicity say's to remove the casing, then leave it on. Also as I read through the ingredients it struck me that this might work really well with a lamb merguez sausage with no changes.
mrslarkin November 4, 2010
I find that if you freeze meats slightly, they hold up their shape better for slicing. Works for chicken breast, beef, pork. I gotta believe it'll work for sausage too!
betteirene November 4, 2010
I second what bella s.f. says. There are no dumb questions when it comes to wanting to eat well.

bella S. November 4, 2010
ENunn, I just wanted to add... hopefully, we are always learning.and evolving. When I think about what I used to cook and what I thought was wonderful, and then look at what I know and can do now, I see such a huge difference, such growth. We ask questions, we try new things, and we grow.
bella S. November 4, 2010
By the way, you really need to go by the " There are no dumb questions" philosophy. I have a real doosy I've been wanting to post. I do have one other possible way to solve it. If that does not pan out... well, you'll see what I've got hanging out there.
bella S. November 4, 2010
If you try to cut fresh sausage links into slices before cooking, it will usually squish out. We've been making dishes lately that have different types of fresh sausage in them. If we want ground meat texture or different sized chunks of meat, we take the sausage out of the casings. When we want slices, we cook the sausage a bit in a separate pan till it sets-up/together. We then slice it and finish cooking it in the stew or soup or sauce or ... whatever is being created.
aargersi November 4, 2010
Maybe brown a little, then slice, so when you are slicing the "coins" they don't squish all over the place - then let them finish cooking in the beans
Mr_Vittles November 4, 2010
I would prefer coins of sausage especially for a stew. If you decase the sausage it will break up in the stew and become a flavoring back note. Coins of sausage will maintain their shape and still contribute some of their oil (flavor) when you brown them.
DWXander November 4, 2010
I made it earlier this week by removing the casings ... Just slit them and removed the sausage and then cut it up. It was very delicious ... Hearty and satisfying. I added a little red wine along the way to build a little mores flavour. Plan to simmer for 3 to 3.5 hours the 2 in the recipe, but I guess that all depends on the beans. Good luck. Yum.
nboxberger November 4, 2010
If I were making this, I think I would squeeze the sausage out of its casing, and brown the sausage that way. I would probably keep the sausage in bite-size chunks. It will cook faster than grilling/sauteeing the sausage, and then cutting it. And I think the stew is meant to be rustic, so the sauteed sausage chunks should look good, too.
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