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]
Now comes the fun part; we get to add the secret ingredient. The secret ingredient is a nice, dry wine; nice, dry, white wine. You can use red wine; me personally, I found that red wine, I dont think gives it quite as much flavor, or as unique a flavor as the white wine does, but if you think you like it, then go with what you like; if you like red wine, red wine, if you like white wine, white wine. Try both, see which one you like. This stuff is very easy to make, and you can play with it and do whatever you need to do. We are probably looking at, Id say roughly, we are going to use about a cup, okay? I like to just pour it in, we dont want to make it too awful wet, but that should be -- now again, I use my nose and I say, I cant quite smell it the way I like, so I put a little bit more in, and that should be enough for us right there. Now, we are going to add our cracked black pepper -- not a whole lot. Remember, we put some red pepper flakes in, so we are just going to add enough, just to give it some of that black pepper flavor, because the black pepper flavor is actually a lot different than a red pepper. So probably -- you know maybe in a quantity like this, we may have just put in like maybe a tablespoon -- or excuse me, not a tablespoon, maybe two teaspoons, but not a whole lot. So, what we are going to do at this point is, we are going to start mixing this meat. This is where we get dirty. Take your hands, and just start mixing everything together. Squeeze it, move it, turn it, flip it, just mix all those ingredients in with that ground meat. And you are going to start smelling the wine; you are going to start smelling all these flavors starting to come together. Now typically what I'll do is, I'll take and make a patty, and I'll fry a patty, and then I'll check it, and well see just what the flavor is. And then if it needs to be adjusted, it can be adjusted. Today -- you know, I've been making sausage quite a while and I pretty much so know, what its going to turn out like. So today, we are going to save some time, and we are actually not going to do that, but, here we go. Okay, so now we have this all mixed, incorporated, I guess like get your hands in there, and its like making a good meat loaf. If you make a good meat loaf, you've got to get your hands dirty. So, mix it all up, and next, when we come back, we are going to run this through the grinder another time, fine grind it, and then we are going to start casing.