Italian sausage is simply amazing! I can’t get enough of the savory and sometimes spicy meat. It makes pasta sauces shine and pizza delightful.
While living in Mexico I couldn’t just run to the store to buy Italian sausage when ever I had a craving for it. I could have bought it in the States on my every few month trip but that would have gotten pricey so instead I started to buy ground chicken or turkey to make my own.
I really do enjoy a good pork sausage but a good healthy option has never been easy for me to find so I took to making my sausages with ground chicken or turkey. Both have a mild enough flavor palate to take on the flavor of the herbs and seasonings similar to pork. The key when using a fowl instead of pork is adding a little extra fat when you cook it. You could use ground beef or some other game, which I have done but the flavor of those meats have a stronger flavor.
Someday I have dreams of making my own sausage links and building a smoker. That requires buy a meat grinder, sausage stuffer and having a place to build the smoker. Non of those are in the budget right now but someday….
What I love about making your own loose sausage is that it is a frugal option that is easy to make at home. You don’t have to have any special equipment (even if you really want it).
This simple homemade Italian sausage may be my favourite sausage that I make (sorry, breakfast sausage crumbles). For years I made Italian sausage but they flavor was never quite right. Then one day while savoring and (dissecting) a bowl of Zupa Tusscana at Olive Garden I noticed a few fennel seeds in the sausage they used in the soup. The next time I made Italian sausage I added fennel seeds and realized that fennel seed was what had been missing all those years. Why I never googled it I’ll never know.
I frequently use this sausage in my own version of Zuppa Tuscana, on my soaked whole-wheat pizza, on top of my garlic pasta with fresh peas , tomato sauce or my friend, The Nourishing Gourmet’s yellow split-pea and Italian sausage stew.
When I’m on top of my game I make a large batch of this sausage, portion it out in approximately 1 pound potions in freezer bags. I stick them in the freezer and they are ready to defrost last minute for what ever recipe I want to use it in. You could also make them into logs of raw sausage, defrost and cook when you want to.
- 1 lb ground chicken, turkey or pork
- 2 TBS olive oil (if you are using pork you may not need the added oil)
- 1 tsp unrefined salt
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp dried basil
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- ½ tsp fennel seeds
- Mix the ground meat, salt, and herbs together in a bowl.
- Add the olive oil to a medium-sized skillet, warm over medium high heat.
- Once the skillet is hot add the meat mixture.
- Stir continuously to break the meat into small pieces. Cook until done, about 5-8 minutes.