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Posted on May 1, 2009 | 10 comments

Rooster sausage bento from A to Z

Rooster sausage bento from A to Z

Feather pileToday’s lunch uses sausages with a back story. A couple of weeks ago I had the rare opportunity to learn how to butcher roosters from an expert: Hank Shaw of Hunter Angler Gardener Cook. You might remember Hank from the Food Blog Awards — his excellent hunting and food blog was also recently nominated for a prestigious James Beard Award. I drove up to Sacramento to join him, Elise from Simply Recipes, and Garrett from Vanilla Garlic for an educational afternoon of primal food prep in which one of the roosters got away. I didn’t take anything home with me that day, but the following weekend Hank and girlfriend Holly generously sent me home from a Greek party with sausages he’d made from the same birds — a rare treat.

If you’re interested, see Hank’s full write-up of our rooster excursion, my rooster photos on Flickr (yes, I look demented in my close-up), Elise’s rooster photos on Flickr, and Garrett’s write-up of the rooster afternoon and subsequent Greek party.  All contain graphic images, so the meat-squeamish may want to pass.

Rooster sausage bento lunch for preschooler

Hank's homemade rooster sausage

Contents of preschooler bento lunch: Rooster sausage (see Hank’s sausage recipe) and sauteed onions with balsamic vinegar, ketchup (Bug’s request), broiled asparagus, blueberries, and a wrapped cheese under the asparagus. We were struck by how dark the rooster meat and sausages were (“running-around meat” is I think how Hank described it).

Morning prep time: 6 minutes, using leftover sausage and sauteed onions from dinner the night before, and leftover asparagus. In the morning I assembled the sandwich, and cut the asparagus into bite-size pieces. Actually, I packed this lunch for my four-year-old a day earlier and dutifully brought it along to preschool, only to be reminded that that was the day of their monthly school lunch where parent volunteers cook a hot lunch for all of the children. D’oh! Many other parents had forgotten as well, and the kids were having a great time telling everyone carrying a bento that they should have their parents take it home and bring it the next day. So that’s just what I did. (Read on for full lunch details.)

Collapsible sandwich case with elastic Silicone food cups for bento lunches

Packing: The lunch is packed in a collapsible sandwich case to accommodate the large hoagie bun. Specifically, it’s in a Feel at Ease sandwich case, bought for about US$1 from Ichiban Kan discount store. Even though it was longer than Bug’s normal little Peanuts sandwich case, I still had to lop off a couple of inches from the bun for it to fit inside. I used reusable silicone food cups I bought from Daiso discount store (US$1.50) to hold the blueberries, a little paper food cup for the asparagus, and tucked in a small Anpanman food pick (not pictured) for the asparagus. Ketchup went into a cute flip-top squeeze bottle I got off of eBay a long time ago.

Verdict: Too big, which I kind of figured judging from the bento box size guidelines and Bug’s usual appetite. Four-year-old Bug ate all but an inch of the sausage sandwich, leaving the cheese and most of the asparagus (depending on the day, he either loves or hates asparagus). He’d devoured one and a half sausages the night before at dinner and specifically requested it for his bento the next day, though, so I’d seen what a fan he was of the rooster sausage. I considered cutting the sausage up and putting it in a smaller bento box, but the inside of the sausages was a little crumbly so better off kept whole for ease of eating.

Elise, Garrett & Hank at rooster pen

A big thanks to Hank for teaching us the nitty gritty of butchering a bird. One of my friends said that if she’s ever in a Survivor-type situation, she’d like me on her team now. (Dubious honor?)

FURTHER READING:

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  1. Does the bread get hard by the time Bug eats it for lunch? Also, did any of the onions spill out?

    I have one of those collapsible sandwich cases myself, but I’m always hesitant to actually put a sandwich in there without wrapping it in saran wrap first.

  2. My God, this all crack me up. Awesome bento. XD

  3. OK, I may need to up the ante. Octopus bento, anyone? How about squirrel?

  4. @1 from Christina: The bread was fine — we’re not in a particularly dry climate here in San Francisco, and I’d packed the whole sandwich case in a cloth lunch bag. The concern about the onions is a valid one, but because the roll fit so high in the box, the lid actually came in contact with the top of it when closed, keeping things intact. If the roll were lower or the lunch packed less compactly that would definitely be a real prospect, though!

    I do use saran wrap sometimes when using the collapsible sandwich case with gooey fillings that might get messy if they escaped — think chicken salad, etc.

  5. What an excellent adventure! The sausage looks pretty darn good.

  6. My dear, sweet, Biggie. I am so glad that you are still at it. Everything looks wonderful! :) One day I will have more time and I will return. I miss bento so! xoxo

  7. @7 from Ngoc: NGOC!!!!! Wow, so great to hear from you! How’s the baby and mom life mom treating you?

  8. Thank goodness for Daiso :) We have them up here in Seattle and its quite a popular store!

    I’ll be honest I skipped the meat tutorial since I am vegan. I didn’t want to feel a little ill.

  9. This is really delicious, but don’t you think that the sausage sandwich is a bit too big and fatty for a 4 year old?
    Thanks