Sunday, December 30, 2012

Herb Breakfast Sausage

There is something so satisfying about making homemade sausage. Don't be deceived, it may sound complicated, but it's really quite easy (as long as you own a meat grinder- don't worry they're cheap and they'll last you a lifetime). You simply grind your meat of choice with spices and herbs and that's all there is to it! I like to mold this sausage into patties and avoid casings (although I hear the vegetable casings are easy to use). Freezing a bunch of patties at once allows you to always have them on hand.

The original recipe for these breakfast sausages comes from Alton Brown. I've played with it over time, eventually leaving out the fatback (which is called for in the original recipe). I find there's enough fat on a nicely marbled cut of pork butt and that the extra fat isn't necessary. The herbs give just the right balance to the pork without overwhelming the entire sausage. 

This herb sausage is mild with just a touch of heat, making it versatile for all kinds of stuffings. I use this sausage every year in my Thanksgiving stuffing and used it again last week in a sausage, apple, and chestnut stuffing for our Christmas goose. My mouth is watering just thinking about it! 

Adapted from Alton Brown, Good Eats

2 lb. pork butt (2 1/2 lb. bone-in), cut into 1/4-inch pieces
2 tsp. kosher salt 
1 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. minced fresh sage leaves
1 tbsp. minced fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp. minced fresh rosemary leaves
1 tbsp. light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg (fresh if you have it)
1/8 to 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

In a large mixing bowl, combine the diced pork with the rest of the ingredients. Mix well, cover, and refrigerate for an hour. Using the large blade of a meat grinder, grind the seasoned pork (use a large bowl or a tray lined with waxed paper to catch the ground pork). Repeat the same process on the same blade size, or remove it and replace it with a finer blade. 

Once the sausage has been ground twice, either mold it into small patties or refrigerate for another use for up to 1 week. If cooking patties, saute the sausage over medium-low heat. Cook until brown and cooked through, about 10 to 15 minutes. 

Yield: 2 lb. sausage

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