Two Andouillettes in Four Days!
Yes, this is why MyMEGusta travels to places like Paris, to have treats that are virtually impossible to find in the United States, and to enjoy them in more than one restaurant.
(They have museums, too! Something to do between meals!)
This dish is not for everyone, but for those who love these rustic French sausages, they are worth the journey. An unusual twist this time, never previously encountered, was when one waiter asked how I wanted it done. Because they are precooked, it really doesn’t matter if the andouillette is served ‘rare’, but thoroughly heated is myMEGusta’s choice. One time it came with mashed potatoes, the current rage in Paris, and the other with the more traditional pommes frites. They were different, and they both were delicious.
Now, we’re not talking about andouille – either the French kind (a large sausage served cold, thinly sliced) or the classic Cajun spicy/smoked sausage that originated in New Orleans and has nothing to with the andouillettes other than the French heritage of its name. More later about these tasty sausages. And, we’re not talking about Chitterlings (chit-lins), pig intestines, well known and loved in the South, and also found on the occasional (very authentic) Chinese menu, usually as an appetizer.
An andouillette is, quite simply, a sausage stuffed with seasoned chitterlings. They are tender but toothsome, gently gamey in flavor, and with seasonings that vary regionally and by chef.
We love the French affinity for highly organized quality control, sometimes tongue in cheek. In 1970, a group of journalists formed a society (The Friendly Club of Lovers of Authentic Andouillette) to salute this delicacy and recognize the best producers, so look for the AAAAA on the menu when sausage seeking.
To get andouillettes, you either have to get on a plane or produce them yourself, and myMEGusta used to make them, a huge production, but worth it when the next trip to France was years off: clean and poach the pork intestines a very long time until completely tender, cool, chop coarsely, mix with sautéed onions/mustard, whatever, stuff into casings, poach again. Because it’s precooked, it just needs to be heated through, usually grilled, broiled or pan fried, and this adds flavor to the exterior.
For my MEGusta, the first encounter with anything at all like an andouillette was many years ago when she was being hosted for dinner by someone who insisted that the menu be “what real French people eat”, and the main course was a blob of poached pig intestine in a pool of (delicious) sauce. The flavor took a few bites to get used to, but by the end of the meal, she was hooked. This dish has never surfaced again, anywhere, back then or in the decades since, even on the internet. So much for “what real French people eat.”
Until the next trip to France, MyMEGusta will have to be satisfied with other things.
She may have to make a research trip to check out authentic Cajun andouilles on site, and have “A Smokin’ Good Time” at the 41st Annual Andouille Festival at the St. John Community Center in La Place, Louisiana!