For three years I did not eat sausage.
After I was diagnosed with severe food allergies to anything derived from a hot pepper (paprika, cayenne, chipotle, chili, etc) and tree nuts, I discovered that sausage is pretty much always made with some variety of pepper. No more Jimmy Dean or MickeyD’s breakfast sandwiches for me.
I’d had several people tell me I could make sausage, but I was convinced that the process itself would be so gross and disgusting that I would never want to eat it again. So I said no, thanks. (cue squinched-up face in disgust). Until my neighbor Liz decided that we could do it.
“I’ll handle the raw meat,” she said. “It’ll be easy.”
Liz is a force of bubbly nature when she gets an idea in her mind, so I knew this was happening. She texted me a picture of the meat she had chosen (ground pork) to make sure it was allergy-okay, and brainstormed ideas for fillings. She sent me a YouTube video. She told me to make sure I had Saran-wrap. I was confused and skeptical – since I hadn’t watched the YouTube video – but pulled out the Saran-wrap anyway. There was a knock at the door.
“Okayy, let’s do this! Are you ready?” she asked, eyes wide with excitement.
“Yeah,” I responded. I grinned and made a face. “Is it gonna be gross?”
“I’ll handle all the meat, promise.” And she did.
We pulled out all the ingredients and got to work. It was no more disgusting than making meatballs! And it was really, really easy. I couldn’t believe it. Let it go on the record that I was wrong and Liz was right. Here’s how you do it, with all credit going to Liz:
In a mixing bowl, place ground pork or turkey. Mix in spices you want (I did one version with basil, garlic, oregano, and a bit of parmesan cheese; one version with feta, dill, garlic, and basil). To make it all stick together, I’d recommend adding one egg. We didn’t this first time but I plan to next time.
Take a big handful and roll it hot-dog style on a piece of Saran-wrap. Wrap the Saran-wrap around it and twist the ends. Do this for all the meat.
Par-boil the sausage by placing it (inside its Saran-wrap casing) in boiling water. Leave it until the meat turns white and the shape is solid; use tongs to remove from the water and let cool. Remove from the “casing” and either freeze it or cook it the rest of the way.
You can grill it or cook it up in a skillet. It wasn’t grilling weather the first time around, so I went for the skillet option, added some extra feta and carrots, and here’s what I got:
And it tasted as good as it looks. YUM. Thanks, neighbor.