There was an Italian deli near my house that made fresh sausage for the holidays. You could pre-order either Italian or Polish (my Dad swears it was about the best he’d ever had) sausage by the pound. This might not seem like a big deal if you’re back East. But out here in the wild, wild West, delis are not on every other corner or even in every other town. It was a sad day when the deli closed its doors.
I tried to gain support for a “we should make our own sausage” campaign in my family to no avail. My Dad thought it would be way more expensive to make your own (it’s not) and neither brother or brother-in-law (the latter of whom I was certain I could sway to my side) seemed interested. Sigh!
Then, if by magic, the universe did its thing and I met Alicia at an event. Turns out, Alicia makes sausage all the time. And, she was having a sausage-making tutorial/party/event at her house that coming weekend which I promptly wormed my way into. Hallelujia!
Being a typical Italian, Alicia had only a rough outline of what goes into said sausage. I took a picture of the “recipe” and transcribed it here.
- 4 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1.5 tablespoon salt
- 1 cup hearty red wine
- 15 to 20 pounds pork shoulder or pork butt
- 3 tablespoons black pepper
- 1 large can diced tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons oregano
- 3 tablespoons basil
- 3 tablespoons parsley
- 2.5 tablespoons fennel seeds
- 4 tablespoons red pepper (reserve for hot batch).
- 1.5 containers Romano cheese, grated
- Pork casings
The directions are a little murky. Making sausage is pretty much a trial and error process. Alicia has a Waring Pro Meat Grinder that runs about $80.00. I must admit to a wee bit of gadget envy. I think I need a grinder, too!
Soak casings in a small bowl of water to make them pliable.
Cube pork into medium pieces so that it will go through the grinder. Keep some fat on the pork as its adds flavor and prevents the sausage from being too dry. Loosely grind pork and transfer to large container.
Split the batch in two. Mix in spices; add the red pepper to the batch that will become the hot sausage. Err on the light side. You can always add more but it’s hard to overcome if you add to much of anything (especially salt).
Make small patties and fry up to taste test. Adjust the seasonings as needed, frying up more samples until you’re happy with the taste.
Gently feed casings on to large Sausage Attachment. Its helpful to lubricate the attachment with a little olive oil so the casings go on smoothly.
Once the seasonings are correct, feed pork mixture through the grinder with large Sausage Attachment and casings in place. Keep feeding the sausage through the casing, coiling it as you go.
Once the meat has been all fed through, cut the pork in desired lengths. Portion out into plastic baggies. Uncooked sausage links can be stored for 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator and several months in the freezer. Brown the sausage using the usual methods. It is pork, after all, so make sure its cooked all the way through!
Kat’s tip: A little bit of research (and I do mean little and a long time ago), led me to conclude that the main difference between Italian and Polish sausage was the spices involved. That’s what makes experimenting with different samples so much fun. You could start with a base recipe and make different batches depending on what flavor profile you want to achieve.
Related article: A Day of Sausage Making