Delicious forcemeats are a staple in certain cultures and a mainstay in the majority of finer dining. The world of forcemeat is wide and there is a lot to cover. The most popular usage of forcemeats is used in sausages and cured meats such as deli meats.
Equipment for Preparing Forcemeats
To prepare forcemeats properly, you should have a food chopper or food processor and a heavy-duty drum sieve with a metal band. You will also need a standard meat grinder or meat-grinding attachment with various-sized grinding plates. We have put together an easy-to-use moderately priced package through our Amazon affiliate program that will make purchasing these products easy. Also, by using our links you can help support our site.
Recommended Forcemeat Equipment Package
There are three common styles of preparation of forcemeats: Country-style, basic (or straight) and mousseline. Each can be produced easily if you have the proper equipment. A well-equipped professional kitchen will have these items readily available.
Other types of forcemeat preparations such as the emulsified mixture used to make hot dogs and bratwurst are not commonly encountered in a professional kitchen operation.
Forcemeat Preparation Guidelines
When preparing any forcemeat, certain guidelines must be adhered to
- Forcemeat preparations include raw meats, liver, eggs and dairy products. If improperly handled, these can become potentially hazardous foods due to the temperature creating a good environment for the growth of microorganisms. To avoid the risk of foodborne illnesses, temperatures must be carefully controlled and all cutting boards and food contact surfaces must be as sanitary as possible at all times.
- To ensure a proper emulsification, the forcemeat must be kept cold — below 4’C (40’F) — at all times. Refrigerate all moist ingredients and keep forcemeats in progress in an ice bath. Chilling or freezing the metal grinder and processor parts help keep the ingredients as cold as possible.
- Cut all foods into convenient sizes that fit into the food processor and grinder openings. Do not overstuff grinders or overfill food processors. When grinding items twice, always begin with a larger plate, followed with a medium or small plate. For exceptional smoothness, press the forcemeat through a sieve after grinding to remove any lumps.
A traditional country-style forcemeat is heavily seasoned with
- juniper berries
- bay leaves
It is the simplest of the forcemeats to prepare and yields the heartiest and most distinctive pates and sausages
The dominant meat in a country-style forcemeat is usually ground once through the large plate, then ground again through the medium plate. This produces the characteristic coarse texture. As with most forcemeats, the dominant meat for a country-style forcemeat is usually marinated and seasoned prior to grinding. Sometimes liver is also added.
Smoother and more refined than a country-style forcemeat, a straight or basic forcemeat is properly the most versatile of all the forcemeats. It should be well seasoned, but the seasonings should not mask the dominant meat flavor. Examples of the basic forcemeats are most game pates and terrines as well as the traditional pates en croute.
A basic forcemeat is made by grinding the meat and fat separately — the meat twice and the fat once. The fat is worked into the meat by hand or with a food processor or chopper. A quicker method involves grinding the fat and meat together and blending them in a food processor. Whichever method you use, some recipes call for the incorporation of crushed ice to minimize friction, reduce temperatures and to add some moisture.
When you properly made a mousseline forcemeat, it is light, airy and delicately flavored. It is most often made with fish or shellfish but you can sometimes use veal, pork, feathered game or poultry.
A mousseline forcemeat is prepared by processing ground meats and cream in a food processor. Often egg whites are added to lighten and enrich the mixture. The ratio of fish to eggs to cream is very important — too many egg whites and the mousseline will be rubbery. Too few and it may not bind together. If too much cream is added, the mousseline will be too soft or will fall apart during cooking. All things you want to avoid.
A mousseline forcemeat can be served hot or cold and it can be used to make fsh sausages and a variety of timbales and terrines. Or you can produce quenelles.