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]
Hi! Lieutenant Tom Papoutsis back; McLean, Virginia, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, Fire Station One. We just got done making our homemade Italian sausage. As you can see, what we've done is, the first one that we did, we showed you how we just make the link like this. When it comes out, it actually will come out in a ring like this or -- not a ring, but itll just come out in a big long section. I like to just wind it into a ring; its a lot easier to work with like that. Now there is -- you can use loose sausage; if you want to make like a sausage meatball or something -- as I said, a lot of times, whenever I am making it, if you want to test it, just take some of this stuff, take your hand, make a meatball, flatten it out into a patty like that, okay? You can make a smaller one, this is just what I had left over -- and then just put it in a frying pan, thats it. Fry it up, give it a taste, see if theres something missing. Like I said, you can always go through, smell spices - oh! Its missing that. This smells right on the money; it smells just like its supposed to, so I think we got it just right. Now, what we are going to do real quick before we wrap things up here is, I am going to show you what to do with this. Essentially, you can take -- if you are going to grill this stuff, if you want to just have grilled Italian sausage, get your rolls, measure out the rolls, say, this is how long its got to be. If you've got a long roll, you can take this much, take your finger like this, pinch it, just pinch it like that, and twist it, okay? Now, you've made a link. Thats a nice big link for a sandwich size. So, you want to take it here, pinch it, same deal, okay? Oops! Guess what happened? No big deal, that just becomes loose sausage, okay? Same thing; and thats all you do is, go through this thing, and pinch it as you go. Now the key part is, is that you roll these. If I am rolling this way this time, I've got to roll it this way this time; okay? That keeps it tight, and you only go about one or two, three, probably about three rolls, okay? So I went that way, now I am going to go this way, and as you can see, what do we have? - Links of sausage, okay? Like I said, this one when I am done, I'll cut that one out, and I'll probably just throw it in with loose sausage, and you can use that if youre going to make like a meat sauce, spaghetti sauce. You can grill this. A lot of times, what I'll do is take this, the individual lingks, I'll take -- for my family, I got a family of four, my wife and my two lovely children Jonathan and Katy, my wife Joanne at home, hi!
, but anyway, when I make spaghetti sauce, I take tomato puree, I take the puree, put the sausage in -- just regular tomato puree, put a little bit of oregano, a little bit of basil, a little bit of margarine, and just spice it up with that. Well put this in raw, low simmer, all day long, or all afternoon, and this will cook in the sauce, and all the flavor from this sausage will just kind of go right out into the sauce and it is so wonderful. It is the best spaghetti sauce, almost as close my grandmother on my Italian side, which, I am half Greek, and half Italian, so I have to be able to cook and of course, I have to be able to eat, but, nonetheless, this stuff, if you put it in spaghetti sauce, it is awesome, and it will make your spaghetti sauce taste so good. So, this is it, this is how we do it. Just link it up - if you want to, if you have a vacuum pack, or what I like to do, is I make a couple of -- if its a get together, well make like 200 pounds of this, and it will split it up, and I might have sixty pounds, that I'll put in -- individually, I kind of freeze it, and then, once its linked, and then I'll put it in vacuum bags, I'll vacuum seal it, keep it in a freezer, it keeps for a long time. Anytime I need sausage, I pull it out, I use it. I make them long enough, that I can make sandwiches with, but this is it, homemade Italian sausage.