Zadi and Park Share Secrets of Sausage and Terrines at Ecole de Cuisine

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Susan Park demonstrated how to stuff merguez sausage using a natural sheep casing.

In October, Chef Farid Zadi and wife Susan Park established Pasadena as the “Epicenter of North African Cookery in L.A.” For an encore, on January 6, the couple expanded on their vision by hosting a class for a group of food writers at Ecole de Cuisine – their culinary school in east Pasadena – to demonstrate sausage and terrine-making techniques.

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Ecole de Cuisine co-founders Farid Zadi and Susan Park form a formidable duo.

As we learned in October, Zadi was born near Lyon, France, and raised on a diet of fresh baked bread, river fish, frog legs and Charolais beef. Zadi is also a huge proponent of merguez, befitting his Tunisian heritage. As he said, “I grew up making merguez with my mom.”

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Zadi uses lamb shoulder, beef tiny tender and beef suet, a hard fat from around the cow’s kidney.

It’s important for them to grind them meat in-house. Park said, “If we buy pre ground meat, we don’t really know how many farms it comes from.” Sourcing meat and grinding it fresh also allows them to avoid “slaughterhouse scraps,” the undesirable cuts from the cow’s hind quarters. They prefer a 2:1 ratio of lamb to beef for their merguez, with 5% suet binder.

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Zadi said that for merguez, her prefers a “course grind,” adding, “You like to have bite to it.”

The grinder can churn up to 1080 pounds of meat per hour, but during our lesson, Zadi and Park stopped well short of that mark to produce merguez raw materials. When adding the meat to the grinder, add the fat in stages. Otherwise it can get too hot and clog the machine. To push the remaining meat through, just add ice. When finished, add the ground meat to the freezer while adding the sausage attachment.

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To mix the merguez filling, Zadi adds house-made harissa, parsley, cilantro, lemon zest and a spice blend that includes turmeric, coriander, cumin, garlic powder, cayenne and paprika. “None that overwhelm the whole thing.”

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Zadi and Park even revealed their secret weapon – plum powder – which helps ground meat retain moisture and color and serves as an anti-microbial agent.

Before stuffing the sausage, it’s important to make sure the taste will be correct. They suggested forming a patty and grilling it. Otherwise, that could cost you a large batch of ingredients.

The second dish that Zadi and Park demonstrated was their Pate Maison, a veal and chanterelle pate. Zadi said this was but one example of the craft. A terrine requires fat, meat and good seasoning. Other than that, it’s anything goes. Zadi called charcuterie “a tradition” and said, “Like a butcher shop, it’s always father to son.”

For their Pate Maison, Zadi uses chanterelles, smoked magret, pistachios, fresh thyme, parsley, caramelized onions, white wine, salt and pepper. This may sound complex, but as Park said, “It’s a really fancy meatloaf.”

When loading the terrine in the mold, use either olive oil or wrap it in fat, but enough fat to keep it moist. Zadi also suggested an option to cover it with dough for pate en croute.

“One of the reasons people don’t make this at home is because the terrine molds are so expensive,” says Park, who estimated a $150 price tag. Still, Zadi was convinced the mold is worth the extra expense because it conducts heat more evenly than aluminum and comes with a lifetime warranty.

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Zadi recommends meat inlays for contrasting color, flavor and texture. He layered smoked magret – “duck bacon” – before topping off with remaining mixture.

Before baking, add the lid, which has a little hole so steam releases. Add to simmered water in hotel pan to cut cooking time in half in the oven. It should be 325-350 degrees for about 1 hour 20 minutes.

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After cooking, the terrine sets in the fridge. Warm the terrine to release it from the mold. As Zadi said of the terrine: “Bread, cornichons, mustard, you’re good to go.”

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We joined staffer Ronnie Gilman outside to see his meat smoker, which sports twin axe handles.

Last year, Gilman hauled the smoker from East Texas Smokers. Since returning to L.A., he smokes merguez, veal bacon and brisket using avocado and orange wood to smoke, to name just three meats.

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Our surprise lunch began with a slab of Pate Maison, a salad and toast topped with a single quail egg.

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Plump links of merguez appeared with crusty baguette.

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We even got to try Gilman’s brisket. Probably for the first time ever, Texas-style brisket appeared with harissa.

Products of Zadi and Park’s efforts is available at NeoMeze (merguez, veal pate), Café Stella (merguez) and The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills (merguez, rabbit foie gras pate).


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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