When it comes to sausage, we are very lucky, here in the Pioneer Valley. We can find great market-made options at shops around our region. But it's very easy to make your own if you'd like to control the spices, meats and fat content.
This recipe is incredibly adaptable:
- We prefer our sausage meat to be 75-80% lean and we are huge fans of a pork sausage. That said, there is no reason why you can't substitute ground turkey, chicken, duck or beef for some or all of the pork. If you'd prefer a leaner sausage, you can use a less-fatty meat mixture. But a good rule of thumb is, the leaner your mix, the more gently you should cook your sausage (over lower heat).
- If you've got access to a meat grinder, you can grind your own meat, but it's much easier to purchase ground pork from your butcher.
- Change the spicing to suit your palate. We like a salty, savory sausage, so we use the full 2 teaspoons of salt. If you prefer less salt, try the lesser amount first––you can always add more salt if you desire.
- Sage is a traditional seasoning for this type of sausage. We used lovage in one batch and its celery notes made for a nice change.
- Check your seasoning: any time you make sausage (or meatballs, or meatloaf, or any seasoned ground meat mix for that matter), it's a smart practice to fry up a small amount of the seasoned mix and make sure the salt, heat, and spicing makes you happy.
Makes about 2 pounds of sausage
2 pounds ground pork, 75-80% lean
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage or lovage
1 to 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon maple syrup or brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
Using your hands or a rubber spatula, mix all ingredients together, using the lesser quantity of ingredients, if preferred. Heat a small skillet and fry up a small amount. Taste for salt and other seasonings. Adjust the seasoning of the mixture if needed.
Leave the sausage loose to use as bulk sausage or form the sausage into small patties. Separate patties with squares of parchment or waxed paper.