Homemade breakfast sausage has never really been on the top of my culinary accomplishments to tackle. It seemed difficult and messy, and I wasn’t sold on how much better it would taste. I was wrong on all counts. Well, except for the messy part…you do need to get your hands in there.
I started to rethink the benefits of making my own sausage from scratch when I saw this month’s Charcutepalooza Challenge: Grinding. For those who are unfamiliar with Charcutepalooza, it’s a monthly online cooking group, like Daring Bakers or French Fridays with Dorie, where everyone makes their take on one dish and posts about it on a given date. In this case, it is all about meat.
Now, I love me a fine prosciutto any day, but admittedly, I’m not a huge charcuterie lover by nature. My husband, on the other hand, can frequently be seen in the kitchen around 9:30 p.m. making himself a plate of meat dessert. Charcutepalooza was just the thing I needed to step up my carnivorous game.
This month’s challenge focused on free form sausage-making (sans creepy skin casings). A good way to ease into things, I thought. First thing’s first, I needed to get my hands on some pork shoulder and fatback. I’ve never asked for fatback before; it felt a little badass.
The inspiration behind my breakfast sausage seasonings comes from some tasty Chorizo Sausage Patties I had once in New York. I had done a remake of them at home before, using store-bought sausage and chorizo and adding a blend of seasonings, but this time I would attempt to do it all from scratch.
I raided my spice drawer and decided on a healthy dose of chili powder and smoked paprika, cayenne for some heat, cumin, ground fennel seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and a touch of garam masala to keep it interesting.
I also added some brown sugar, garlic, and lots of fresh thyme and sage.
This party of flavors got doused over the meat and fat, and it all chilled and mingled together for two hours.
Since I don’t have a grinder, I used the food processor method. I worked in small batches, pulsing until everything was evenly ground. To this I added an egg yolk, a bit of milk, and vinegar to help bind it all together. I fried up a test patty, and it was good…but something was missing. My brain when to burgers (it does that sometimes) and voila! I knew what I needed – the secret ingredient to my homemade burgers: caramelized onions.
That did the trick. My sausage patties were tangy, smoky, sweet, and savory, with a hint of heat. I think the biggest difference between my homemade sausage and store-bought was the texture. These definitely have more chew to them, and the fat added some great flavor. I’m already fantasizing about the killer breakfast sandwich I’m going to have tomorrow. And then, the day after that? This with Huevos Rancheros.
At this rate, I may just be on my way to meat dessert too one day.
Chorizo Breakfast Sausage
Spicy and smoky, sweet and tangy, this homemade chorizo sausage is the breakfast of champions. The meat is ground using a food processor, so you don\'t even need a meat grinder!
Prep Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours, 50 minutes
Yield: Makes about 30 (3-inch) patties
- Place your mixing bowl (metal is best) and food processor blade in the freezer. Lightly caramelize the onion over medium heat, about 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside.
- Cut the meat into 1\" cubes and the fat into 1/2\" cubes. Place in the chilled mixing bowl. Add the spices and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for two hours, the last 1/2 hour in the freezer.
- Working in small batches, pulse in food processor, checking and scraping down the sides, until the meat and fat are evenly ground together. Place in a large mixing bowl.
- Add the caramelized onions, egg yolk, milk, and vinegar. Using your hands, mix the sausage meat well to combine and reduce the air in the mixture.
- It\'s a good idea to fry up a test patty at this point to check your seasoning. Form the remaining sausage mixture into patties. Over medium heat, fry the sausage patties in a lightly oiled skillet until crispy on the outside and cooked through. (Note: To freeze, form the patties and place them on a plate lined with parchment-paper. Freeze solid, then transfer the patties to an air-tight bag.)
Twitter Hashtag: #Charcutepalooza
This post was published on KQED’s Bay Area Bites on May 15, 2011.