Are you having problems supplying your kids with healthy snacks? Paleo school lunches and snacks are a major problem for us as a family. We are constantly experimenting with grain free snack foods that are also low in sugars. They are never really that great tasting, and when you find one that does taste nice, it is invariably expensive to make, and then the kids get tired of it. So we wanted something that is tasty, nutrient dense, cheap and easy to make, and something that the kids won’t easily get tired of.
As an Ex South African I grew up with Biltong(Dried Meat/Jerky) and Droewors(Dried Sausage). We simply could not get enough of it. It is normally made by hanging strips of meat and/or sausages on hooks in a cool room for some days. The process can be sped up by directing an electric fan at the meat. The room does however need to be fly proof. Since I do not have a dedicated pantry at my disposal, I decided that the dehydrator will have to do. We have a cheap 8 tray Luvelo dehydrator that has not been used much. I found that it is one of those appliances that promise the world, and end up being a little disappointing in the real world. The main problem is that with a large family like ours, anything dehydrated just does not go far enough and takes ages to make. I realised that it would be perfect to dry meat. I decided to use cheap mince meat from Coles Supermarkets. It is $5.00 per kilogram and has about 17% fat if I remember correctly. Fat is not bad for you, and remember that if you remove fat from food it tastes like cardboard. To make low fat food palatable, you will see that food producers normally add sugar. So do not worry about high fat. The low fat recommendation is based on flawed junk science produced to favour recommending grain and sugar laden processed foods. Coles mince is not grass fed etc.etc. but it is cheap and supposedly hormone free.
The other worry I had was that as I was making a skinless sausage that it will not stick together. My normal beef patty/meat ball recipe uses egg to bind it all together. As this is dried and not cooked, the use of eggs is not possible. Doing so risks the possibility of poisoning us all.
So I found a Droewors recipe on the net. In true South African style it was for making 7 kilograms of sausage. I was only using 1kg of mince, so I had to reduce quantities. My other issue was that the recipe uses volume measurements for the ingredients and not weight. As someone who makes personal care products, I hate using volumetric measurements as it is not accurate. The original recipe can be found here http://www.watertandresepteviroudenjonk.com/biltong–droeumlwors-resepte.html under the heading PLAAS DROëWORS & TRADISIONELE DROëWORS.
The following is my recipe as converted and improvised. I used Honey in stead of sugar as we do not have or use sugar, and though honey is still sugar, I felt that I needed something to bind the mince.
¼ teaspoon ground Black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground Cloves
½ teaspoon ground Nutmeg
1-2 tablespoon whole Coriander
2 ¼ teaspoons of fine Salt
2 Tablespoons of Honey(Nothing scientific. Just dipped normal dessert spoon in honey twice)
¼ cup of Apple Cider Vinegar.
Dry Fry the Coriander seeds for a few minutes to make it fragrant and crush till reasonably fine.
Add the dry ingredients to the mince and mix in.
Add the Apple Cider Vinegar and mix in.
I rolled small portions of mince in to sausage shaped pieces and placed them on the dehydrator tray. Not too thick as the trays are not very high and the thicker the longer it takes to dry. I used 4 of my 8 dehydrator trays, so next time I will use 2kg of mince.
Switch on the dehydrator and leave for 8 to 10 hours. I like my dried meat more moist and would prefer 8 hours. This batch was done 9 hours and is just dry enough for those that have never eaten dried meat.
It tasted great. Just like the Droewors that I grew up with. Just DO NOT SHAPE THE MEAT BY HAND LIKE I DID!!!
We are currently toilet training a puppy, and this morning we have had an incident with puppy poo. When my second eldest saw me opening the dehydrator he started making mock choking/vomiting actions exclaiming how disgusting my sausages looked. In the process my 4 year old heard this and refused to try some. After a few stern words everyone tried some and loved it. The 1kg of skinless dried sausage did not last long. In the future I will roll the mince flat and cut in to strips. This will make the shape acceptable (Especially for school snacks). The way I did it was not great as I perfectly re created dog poo which would no doubt leave my kids wide open to bullying in the schoolyard. So we learn…
After removing from the dehydrator let it cool down and keep in a container in a grocery cupboard. It needs to be kept dry, so keeping it in the refrigerator will not work.
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