Monday, September 1, 2014

Make Your Own Breakfast Sausage

One of my students, Jason Goertz, joined me recently to share a few recipes.  He's a great cook, a true glorified home chef, and amateur sausage maker. I had a wonderful afternoon working with him on several recipes that I'll be sharing here on my blog.  The first is for homemade breakfast sausage.

When I was young, my dad made homemade breakfast sausage from time to time. I remember the savory smell of the pork and the sage drifting out of the kitchen on a Sunday morning. There's nothing like the taste of homemade sausage along side a steaming stack of pancakes swimming in butter and maple syrup.  Look at me getting all misty and nostalgic. 

Anyway, you are going to love this recipe. It's so simple and tasty. Consider it a jumping off point. From here, you can try playing with the recipe to suit your taste. Maybe you like more sage or black pepper? Perhaps you'd like to add a little allspice? Or, if you are a die-hard breakfast junkie, you can take Jason's advice and grind up a little bacon in your sausage! 

Sage Breakfast Sausage

Serves 4 to 8
2 lbs ground pork shoulder, course or fine, depending on your preference*
1 1/2 teaspoons rubbed sage
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons fine sea salt or table salt
1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Place the ground pork in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle the spices evenly across the pork. Using your hands, gently knead the spices into the ground meat. Work until well blended.

The sausage can be used immediately, however it will develop more flavor over time. You can refrigerate it, covered, for up to 24 hours to enhance the flavor.

When you are ready to cook, preheat a skillet or griddle to medium heat. 

Form the sausage into even patties, approximately 2 to 3 inches in diameter and 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick. Use your thumb in make a slight indention in the center of each patty. This will keep the patty from shrinking and puffing up during the cooking process. 

Place the patties on the preheated skillet. Cook until golden brown on the bottom, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Flip the patties and continue to cook until the sausage is fully cooked, approximately 4 to 5 minutes longer. Cooking time will vary so be sure that the sausage is cooked through. There should be no pink visible when you cut it open. You can use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. The temperature should read between 160 and 165F. Let the sausages rest for 5 minutes and serve.

Note: This sausage recipe can also be made into breakfast links. If so, use finely ground pork, add 4 tablespoons of ice water when mixing in the spice. Stuff the sausage into lamb casings. Brown and serve.

*We started by grinding our own pork but you can also simply purchase ground pork, or even ground chicken or turkey, if you prefer. You will see that we used a KitchenAid Food Grinder attachment to grind our pork shoulder. I think it's the perfect size for beginning sausage makers.  

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