Local Foodie: Adam McMarlin of Wren the Butcher

October loves sausage. And we love what Adam McMarlin is doing at his new eatery, Wren the Butcher (Wren being Adam’s daughter’s middle name), tucked into the back corner of the bustling new State Street Marketplace. Adam came to his profession the organic way: up through the ranks of stock boy in a grocery, then working in restaurants in San Diego and Traverse City—most notably a four-year stint at The Cooks’ House, a veritable incubator of culinary genius. When the opportunity arose at State Street Marketplace with its on-site Monkey Fist Brewing Company, Adam figured sausage and beer was a sure bet. Just months into his new operation, marvelously large stainless bowls of rose- and cream-colored fresh ground pork rest on a stainless table next to chopped raw onions and fresh herbs—ingredients that will go into Bratwurst, Merguez and Farmhouse sausages that, in turn go into sandwiches and charcuterie plates. With an eatery menu like that, you have to know his rendition of Chorizo Risotto (below) is going to sing.

Chorizo Risotto

Chorizo

  • 2 pounds pork shoulder
  • 1 pound backfat
  • Garlic to taste
  • 1⁄2 cup dry red wine
  • 1⁄4  ounce paprika
  • 1⁄4  ounce chili powder
  • 1⁄4  ounce fennel seed
  • 1⁄4  ounce coriander seed
  • 1⁄2 ounce cumin seed
  • 1 ounce salt
  • 1⁄4 ounce sugar

Dice pork and back fat, chill. Grind spices. Marinate pork and back fat with all other ingredients. Chill meat again before grinding. Mix by hand until sausage is uniformly seasoned and textured. (You will have more than enough to make the risotto so freeze the rest for later use.)

Risotto

  • 2–3 tablespoons butter
  • 1  shallot, minced
  • 2  cups Arborio rice
  • 1⁄2 cup white wine
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 6 ounces chorizo
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Mince the shallot and sweat in a large sauté pan with a tablespoon of butter until translucent. Add the rice, cook until lightly toasted. Add wine, cook until reduced. Stir continuously while adding hot chicken stock a cup or so at a time. Wait for the rice to absorb each addition of stock before adding another. With your last addition of stock add about 6 ounces of chorizo and stir into the rice. Adjust salt to taste, stir in a few knobs of butter and a generous handful of Parmesan cheese. Finish with sauteed mushrooms, the rest of the Parmesan cheese, chopped cilantro, chopped parsley, grated garlic and lemon zest.


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