Happy Friday, y’all! Boy, I love a short work week, don’t you?
Today I would like to talk about sausage. Fresh sausage, free of casings, ready to be used in meatballs or a meat sauce, meatloaf or formed into patties and fried up for breakfast. It’s the easiest of sausages to make yourself – all you need is some ground pork and the necessary spices, depending on the flavor of sausage you want.
We never ate Italian sausage when I was growing up; being from Texas, the only Italian food we ever encountered was either spaghetti or lasagna, and my mother made those with ground beef. However, in northeast Ohio Italian food isn’t so much a cuisine as it is a religion, and Italian sausage is its Messiah.
Yes, I am totally blaspheming in the name of tasty pork products.
At any rate, I guess that makes me a convert because I’ve discovered that I just love the stuff, especially the hot variety. Until recently, when we would buy a whole hog, I’d order a third of our fresh sausage made into hot Italian. These days, however, I decided I wanted to experiment with the whole fresh sausage thing, and have begun ordering all of our fresh sausage as plain ground pork, to see what I can do with it.
Quite a lot, as it turns out, including making my own Hot Italian Sausage.
This is the recipe I used when I made Creamy Pumpkin “Pasta” a few weeks ago, and it is an excellent one. The thing I like best about it is, of course, I control the seasonings and can make it as mild or as hot as I like. This recipe, as written, has a bit of a kick to it, but isn’t burn-your-tongue-off spicy either. And yes, I made it for breakfast, just ’cause it’s so darn good, but like I said – you can use it in any recipe calling for hot Italian sausage. If one pound is too little, the recipe can easily be doubled and tripled.
For my non-pork readers, I have three words for you: Ground chicken thighs.
Oh, and for those of you doing a Whole30 this January – yup, you can eat it.
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 heaping teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoons fresh basil, finely chopped
- 3/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon ground fennel seed
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh oregano, finely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
- Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl and combine well, using your hands, until all of the spices are evenly distributed throughout the meat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before cooking to allow the flavors to permeate the pork.
- Nutrition (per serving): 308 calories, 24.2g total fat, 81.7mg cholesterol, 536mg sodium, 372.2mg potassium, 1.9g carbohydrates, <1g fiber, <1g sugar, 19.6g protein