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A sausage sampler: chaurice, Italian, andouille and more


* Chaurice: A fresh Creole hot sausage usually made with chili powder, red, white and black peppers, salt and other seasonings, chaurice is popular for po-boys or grilled and served as hors d'oeuvres. Some versions are simply fresh pork sausage with lots of pepper. It is also used to flavor red beans, jambalaya and cooked greens.

* Italian sausage: Popular in New Orleans, Italian sausage has various seasonings but is usually a fresh pork sausage flavored with peppers and anise seed or fennel. It is often used in spaghetti sauce or is removed from casings and cooked in Italian dishes such as lasagna.

* Fresh pork sausage: Pure pork ground and mixed with seasonings such as red, black and white peppers and onions. Many supermarkets now make their own and display it in fresh-meat cases.

* Andouille: A highly seasoned, heavily smoked, lean sausage made for years in small communities along the river and primarily used in gumbos and jambalaya. Usually from pork shoulder, the meat is stuffed into casings in chunks or pieces or is coarsely ground. The classic French andouille is made from pork chitterlings and tripe.

* Boudin: A Cajun sausage made of rice, pork, liver and seasonings. It is similar to a rice dressing that is stuffed into casings and was a product of the popular Cajun boucherie, or hog-slaughtering.

* Smoked sausage: Sausage usually made of pork, but can be beef, chicken or turkey with seasonings such as red, black and white peppers and salt. It is 100 percent cooked. The sausage is smoked in high-tech facilities, and some companies add liquid smoke to the product. Louisiana-brand smoked sausage is spicier than that produced elsewhere.

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