Tom PapoutsisTom Papoutsis is a “Firehouse Chef” that currently holds the rank of Lieutenant with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department. Tom’s experience in the Fire Service spans over 29 years, 19 of which have been with Fairfax County. The bulk of his firehouse culinary expertise has been practiced during his tenure there. He was a national finalist in the 2004 Tabasco Cook & Ladder Competition finishing in the top 10 of the nations Firehouse Chef’s, and traveled to New York City to compete in a cook off with his peers. He has also been placed on the “charity” auction block several times to prepare meals for the highest bidder. Tom likes to specialize in Italian and Greek cuisine being of the same heritage, but also enjoys preparing Asian and of course “Good Ole American” foods as well. He concentrates on entrées but also has a few hors d’oeuvres and dessert specialties as well, such as his versions of Bruschetta and Amaretto Cheesecake. For the past year he has been studying the practice of making homemade Italian deli meats and sausages. Tom’s motto: “It’s just cooking, not rocket science, take a chance…..you might like it!” Residing in Chambersburg, PA with his wife JoAnn, twins Jonathan & Katie and “Buddy” their Golden Retriever. Tom enjoys cycling, hunting, fishing, woodworking, raising his children and helping form today’s youth while volunteering with son Jonathan’s Cub Scout pack. Tom can be reached via e-mail at [email protected]
Okay, Lieutenant Tom Papoutsis; I am back, We are in McLean, Virginia, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, and we are making homemade Italian sausage. This sausage -- in my opinion, this sausage pretty much so, blows any sausage away that you can buy in a store. We are using fresh ingredients, and we are kind of -- you can custom tailor it to whatever you want. If you watch my chilli segment, youll know; I dont like to measure things, I just kind of throw stuff in. So we are going to provide a recipe; the recipe is going to actually have the measurements, and then you can take and go from there. The other thing we need to do, I've got some fresh garlic here that we actually need to peel and chop, and in my chilli segment I showed you, just take your knife, take the flat side of the knife, hit it, we are going to just pull that skin right off of there, well set those aside, and thats essentially all you got to do is, just hit it, and we are going to skin that out just like that - theres one, I didnt even need to do it. I think it got scared; didnt want to get hit. Okay. So thats how we are going to do that, take care of these pieces of garlic here. We are going to chop -- and we are going to start out in ingredients to this sausage mixture. Our ground pork is over here to my left, and once we chop this and get it all peeled, we are going to start adding all of our ingredients. Alright, our garlic is all peeled; we are going to start chopping this garlic. I've got about nine cloves of garlic for about eight pounds of ground pork. Pretty much so, you are looking at possibly about one clove of garlic, to one pound of pork, okay? Thats pretty much so whats its going to be. Also, I am going to do, is take my knife -- watch your fingers, keep your fingers back, and we are just going to chop these, and you can see, we just cut it like this, slice it first, then I am going to go in and I am going to start dicing this stuff. But first off, I am just going to do a real quick slice on it, just like that. If you have a food processor, you can certainly run it through a food processor, but you know, thats not a whole lot of garlic. Okay, once we get to this point, then also I am going to do is just take my knife, I hold my tip down, and I just kind of rock it, just like that. And you can see, it gets your pieces -- kind of push them together, run through them, come back the other way, run through them, and just keep chopping that garlic like that, and all that you are doing is pushing down like this; hold the tip down, and run your knife back and forth. Take your knife blade, very carefully just pull it all together. Depends on how fine you want to get it as to how long you go. Thats looking pretty good, and we are almost there. Now, I am just kind of picking the knife up and chopping it. There we go. Okay. So there we have our garlic chopped. What I am going to do, is take that, we are just going to throw it right in. So, nine cloves of garlic -- I've got about eight pounds of meat and nine cloves of garlic. Next we are going to add some salt.