Cathy’s Portuguese Soup

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8 cups chicken broth

3 pounds total of Usinger’s Andouille and Chorizo Sausage – split each sausage link lengthwise, then cut the halves into 1” to 1-1/2” chunks

2 ½ pounds of peeled potatoes, chunked in large pieces

2 cans of diced tomatoes  (14.5 oz cans)– salsa style or fire-roasted

2 bell peppers, diced

1 head cabbage – chopped coarsely (I substituted one and a half pounds of bagged coleslaw mix made up of green cabbage and carrots.)

3 medium onions, chopped

8 medium carrots, sliced

3 tablespoons of minced garlic

2 cans of kidney beans, drained and thoroughly rinsed

2 cans of garbanzo beans, drained and thoroughly rinsed

Salt and pepper

 

Combine all ingredients in a large pot (I use an 18-quart one) – adding the cabbage last.  Hold back 2 cups of the chicken broth.

 

Once all the ingredients are in the pot, pour the remaining chicken broth in, then add enough water to completely cover the ingredients.  Bring to boil, then simmer until thick (about 3 hours).

 

Serves 8 – 10 generously.

 

Make it your own by adding different types of Usinger’s Sausage and bacon to the soup!

Meet Usinger’s newest Master Meat Crafter – Josh Swart

The Master Meat Crafter Training Program is a unique, one-of-a-kind program that provides participants with a well-rounded, in-depth, and comprehensive knowledge about Meat science and meat processing principles. It also delivers development opportunities for future meat industry leaders, and helps to ensure the US meat industry remains strong and viable for years to come.

It is comprised several meat science short courses and workshops, an extensive mentorship program to share the knowledge gained with employees or coworkers, and individual research projects based in the candidates’ processing plants. Topics covered throughout the two year training course include general meat processing, fresh meats, curing, fermented & dried products, cooked & emulsified products, food safety & meat microbiology, and development/implementation of HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points).

Master Meat Crafter graduates set the Wisconsin meat industry apart as a leader in the nation. UW welcomes people from other states to come learn from their Master Meat Crafter Program.

This unique program had humble beginnings as a means to strengthen and improve the meat industry in Wisconsin. As the initiative gained momentum, the Master Meat Crafter brand has expanded as far as the east coast and Alberta, Canada. Upon status, each graduate will be able to exhibit their expertise and knowledge by use of the Master Meat Crafter logo on their product labels, signage, web presence, or personal branding.

The Master Meat Crafter Program has been developed in conjunction with the Specialty Meat Development Center and is supported by DATCP, University of Wisconsin Meat Science Extension, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the Wisconsin Association of Meat Processors.  The goals of the program are to:  1) provide participants with well rounded, in-depth, and comprehensive knowledge about meat science/meat processing principles, 2) provide development opportunities for the future meat industry leaders, and 3) help ensure the US meat industry remains strong and viable for years to come.  It was created and is currently organized by Dr. Jeff Sindelar, University of Wisconsin-Madison Associate Professor and Extension Meat Specialist.

Master Meat Crafter program is part of UW.

Congratulations Josh!

Usinger’s Selected Milwaukee’s Best Brat!

Like “Ueck” says, “When you want the best, you want Usinger’s.  America’s finest sausage since 1880, and proven once again.  Milwaukee Magazine conducted a taste test for their October issue, to determine the best brat between Usinger’s, Johnsonville and Klements.  Managing editor Howie Magner fired up his grill and and cooked (no parboiling, it just masks the real flavor). When all was said and done, the winner was 135 year-old Usinger’s.  It stood out for balanced spices and considerable juice.  Are you surprised?

To read the story look for “The Sausage Taste Test” in Milwaukee Magazine’s October 2015 issue.  Courtesy of Milwaukee Magazine/photo by Adam Ryan Morris.

http://www.milwaukeemag.com/2015/09/28/50-reasons-to-love-milwaukee-teaser/

 

 

Oktoberfest Time!

Oktoberfest is the world’s largest outdoor party.  It’s celebrated all over the world, including right here in Milwaukee, but the main event is in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. The 16-day festival runs from late September to the first weekend in October. They’ve held it there since the early 1800’as and it’s an important part of the Bavarian culture.  Wiesn, as it’s referred to in Bavaria, is short for the grounds it’s held on.  Munich’s Oktoberfest averages about 6 million visitors per year!  Most other Oktoberfest celebrations are patterned after Munich’s, they’re just a little smaller.

If you like to eat German food, Oktoberfest is a party you don’t want to miss.  Here’s a sample of what you can try, Hendl (roast chicken), Schweinebraten (roast pork), Schweinsh axe (grilled ham hock), of course they’ll have plenty of Würst (sausages) along with Brezen (pretzel), Knödel (potato or bread dumplings), Käsespätzle (cheese noodles), Reiberdatschi (potato pancakes), and Sauerkraut.  Several of these dishes may sound familiar because they are served at Milwaukee’s Germanfest.

 

Along with Bratwurst another popular wurst traditionally served at Octoberfest is Weisswurst  (a short, stubby link with a light, fluffy texture, white in color, speckled with fresh parsley and a hint of onion).

 

In Milwaukee, we too love an outdoor party. Host your own Octoberfest celebration with Usinger’s Weisswurst and Bratwurst.  Hand crafted in our sausage kitchen on Third St. in downtown Milwaukee, they are spiced perfectly and great on the grill.

 

Enjoy the season, Prost!

 

 

Where Does Our Meat Come From?

In the era of “Bird Flu”, “Mad Cow”, and “Chronic Wasting”, people want to know where the food they’re eating comes from.

It’s a very good question, one that you should ask yourself, and one that I received recently.

Here at Usinger’s, we do not “harvest” animals, never have. We buy only the preferred cuts from USDA inspected packinghouses located in Wisconsin and other Midwestern states to make our sausages.

Because our suppliers are under continuous inspection by USDA Food Safety and Inspection Services (FSIS), they must comply with Federal Regulations related to animal welfare, animal health, proper sanitary conditions and that the entire process is conducted humanely. Federal Law requires that FSIS personnel be present during hours of operation at these establishments to validate compliance.

We have always believed in using only the freshest and highest quality ingredients. We do not use imported frozen meat in any Usinger products. Fresh, Midwestern pork and beef that is delivered daily to our Third Street sausage kitchen is what you will find in our products. It’s the only way to make America’s finest sausage.

The Thrill of the Grill

Now that grilling season has returned, it’s time for a little review of some of our favorite grilling links and ways to prepare them.  While they all taste great, there are subtle differences in the way you may want to prepare them.

 

Usinger Cooked Brat –  The white brat.  Bavarian style made with finely chopped Pork and Veal.  These are the type served all over Germany.  When grilled they actually swell and get plumper as they are cooked.  Grilling gives them a crispy outer skin and smooth flavorful center.

 

Usinger Fresh Brat – My method for grilling a fresh brat is “low and slow”.  It’s the opposite of grilling a steak, which you sear right away to seal in the juices and then cook them at a lower temperature.  With a fresh bratwurst it has to acclimate to the heat slowly.  Too much heat too quickly can cause the brat to swell so much that it will break the casing, which is what you are really trying to avoid.  If the casing breaks, all of the juices and spices wind up in your grill.

 

Usinger Natural Casing Beef Frankfurters – These are meaty, juicy and have more than a hint of fresh garlic.  Grilling enhances the “pop” when you bite into the natural casing.

 

Usinger Smoked Andouille Sausage – This is a great sausage with lots of complex flavors.  Spicy, smoky and tangy all at once.

 

Usinger Jalapeno Cheddar – A hardwood smoked, fully cooked bratwurst that is ready to heat and eat. Made from coarsely ground premium pork, Jalapeno peppers, cheddar cheese and our apple wood smoked bacon for extra smokiness. One of my favorites.

 

Additional tips – Personally, I’m not a fan of parboiling.  It can change the texture of the casing and dilute the flavor of a perfectly spiced sausage.  If you’re short on time, the pre-cooked are quick and don’t require the care of grilling fresh meat.

If you like Kraut, try our Festival style sauerkraut.  It’s pre-cooked also and may be the only condiment you need.

Enjoy!

 

Fred Usinger Day February 23rd, 2015

February’s tastiest holiday is almost here!  Fred Usinger Day.

Mayor Tom Barrett proclaimed February 23rd as Fred Usinger Day in a special proclamation back in 2005.  This special proclamation recognized Usinger¹s as a locally family owned and operated business for four generations spanning over 125 years.  The City of Milwaukee salutes Fred Usinger, Inc. for it¹s long standing good corporate citizenship and commitment to the betterment of Metropolitan Milwaukee and Southeast Wisconsin area².  To commemorate this event, our friends at the Old German Beer Hall will be offering a free Usinger brat to patrons beginning at 11am until 8pm.  I will also be on hand at OGBH to tap a keg at 6pm and there will be free beer until the keg runs out.  Take a break from the cold and enjoy a hot juicy Usinger brat, maybe a pretzel and your favorite libation as we celebrate Milwaukee’s sausage heritage.

It¹s my favorite thing about February, hope you can join us for the party!

Fritz