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New Manitoba food product served up

One unexpected offer that came up at this year’s Manitoba Grazing School was the chance to taste a new beef sausage.

Not listed on the 2008 agenda, the Saskatoon Breakfast Sausage nonetheless made an appearance Nov. 25 when plates of the fresh-cooked i tem were pas sed around to the hundreds of participants during lunch break.

“It contains whole saskatoons and Manitoba honey,” said Glenn Friesen, business Development special ist in Forages for MAFRI (Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives) who introduced the sausage at the Brandon Keystone Centre. “We had the recipe created by a Winnipeg chef, and have been working on it at the Food Development Centre at Portage la Prairie. The original recipe was for two pounds, and we have bulked it up to a 30-pound recipe and a 300-pound one.”

The sausage, made with lean trim from Manitoba grass-finished beef, is high in both CLA’s (conjugated linoleic acid) and in omega-3’s, said Friesen, qualities that are reputed to be better for our health than other fats. The gourmet recipe met with mixed results from the tasters, and was a combination of quite finely ground beef with a slightly sweet, almost Christmassy flavour. Most diners were also pretty full from lunch by the time the whole sausages made their rounds.

“I think it should have been fried rather than steamed,” said Friesen. “We want to get this recipe successfully going, and are hoping to get them in a few restaurants this winter as a sampling, and possibly later on the menus.”

The group is also looking at a number of other recipe ideas as a way to bring value-added grass-finished beef to the tables of Manitobans, including a hamburger patty. The trick with grass-finished beef for the home comsumer is to avoid over cooking, and to cook only to rare, or medium rare, said the group. Marinating before cooking can add to the flavour and tenderness, and it was also important not to cook at too high a temperature. Roasts should go in at only 275 C, and resting for several minutes after cooking (in warm conditions) allowed the meat to “relax” and to cook through more evenly.

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