Portland, Oregon chef Greg Higgins is considered one of the stars of the Northwest Pacific's creative culinary scene. An avid sausage maker, Higgins is currently in Mongolia as part of a Mercy Corps program, where he is bringing his west coast sausage making and charcuterie skills to the steppes. The result? Camel sausage, it appears. From his report, in the Willamette Weekly:
Another brilliantly clear mountain day in Khovd. It's a welcome respite from the dense, throat-parching smoke and occasional dust storms that seem to be the norm in western Mongolia.
In the sausage kitchen at Ochir, a restaurant where I'm working, it was a big day. After two days of discussions, explanations, shopping and improvisations, we finally were going to taste some products.
There's a dearth of pork here. Odd since I'm a charcutier, which by definition means a maker of cooked pig. But, from my long lists of recipes and photos Ulziikhuu, the owner of Ochir, had chosen Boudin Blanc, Genoa Salami, Terrine de Campagne, Preskopf and Black Forest ham. No easy task to translate, let alone fabricate without pork or many of the traditional seasonings.
It's key that we work within the confines of available products—both seasonings and meats—as well as respecting their food traditions. No cutting edge gastronomy here. The available meats are typically camel, goat, sheep, horse, an occasional yak and sometimes beef. Everything must be fully cooked—despite our notions of hard riding Mongol hordes subsisting on partially dry or raw meat these folks like their meat cooked and lots of it!
You can follow Higgins's ongoing Mongolian adventures here.