Monday, March 7, 2011

Sweet Italian Sausage

Zach and I made this Italian sausage in a trial and error sort of way. We've tried the pre-packaged spice blends, but no matter how "all natural" they claim to be, there's always an artificial aftertaste that sort of takes away from that homemade satisfaction. So we went online and did a recipe search for sweet Italian, and to be honest, after tasting a few, they were quite bland. The majority of the ingredients you find on-line is parsley, salt and fennel. So we took that and jazzed it up a bit. When you make sausage, before you fill all your casings, take a little dab and throw it into the frying pan to see if you like it. If you think it needs something, you can still add it.
The recipe I give here is for 4 lbs of pork. We actually made 12 lbs total. But 4 lbs is a good manageable amount. You can double it, triple it, halve it...what ever works for you.

The pork we used was boneless country rib. We cut it up into approximately 1 inch cubes. LEAVE THE FAT!!! We made the mistake of cutting all the fat off of our first sausage, and it was dry like sawdust. Yum! The fat gets churned in and keeps the sausage moist. Most of it will cook out.

We feed the pork into our hand crank meat grinder and while Zach cranked the first grind, I soaked the casings.

We use all natural pork casings, yes, it's what you think it is. But I figure it this way, we eat all the rest of the pig, what's the difference really? And at least it's not synthetic silicone. The casings we get are packed in salt and they're kind of dehydrated and leathery. I soak them for a half hour, which softens them, then rinse once or twice.

Once the meat goes through the first large grind we season.  

Our concoction, going clockwise was chopped fresh parsley, fennel seeds chopped, salt, fresh cracked pepper, brown sugar, and minced garlic. Since this original post, we've tweaked the recipe to include sage, thyme and pepper flakes. 

Then we stirred it well and put it through the grinder again, with a finer grind plate.

While Zach was grinding for a second time, (he's such a trooper) I fitted the nozzle with the casing and tied the knot. The casing can be hard to open up at the end. If you hold the tip under running water, sometimes the water will catch the lip and inflate the casing, and you can find the opening.

We stuff the casings from our grinder. We attach the nozzle and grind the sausage through. As it comes out it turns into sausage.

When you fill one long casing, The sausage can then be twisted into links. Pinch it a bit before you twist because it's easy to break the casing. We leave the sausage in the fridge overnight, then cut them into individual pieces. The time in the fridge seems to firm everything up and the casings don't open up when cut.  

Recipe: (New and improved with a bit more herbs and a kick of spice.)
  • 4 Lbs pork shoulder country rib
  • 6 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. chopped fennel seeds
  • 3 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 Tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh sage


Jennifer said...

this looks awesome! I wish I had the equipment to try it

Jennifer Sartell said...

Jennifer, if you don't have the equipment you can still make this sausage. If you have a food processor you can use that to grind the meat then just add the spices and form into a loaf. You can slice it and fry it in a pan in patties. Hope you give it a try!!! Thanks for the comment!

Jennifer said...

oooh that I can definitely manage! I'll be giving it a try when I get the chance :)

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