Sunday, February 26, 2012

Homemade Spicy Italian Turkey Sausage

Bruce Grinding Pepper with Mortar and Pestle
Grinding Up Spicy Red Pepper

Recipe by Bruce

Two things that I appreciate about my husband Bruce are his ability to cook and his willingness to do so. One of the first meals he made for me, 15 or so years ago, was spaghetti more or less like his Dad used to make it (recipe tomorrow)--plus the addition of his homemade turkey sausage. Back in those days, not many men made sausage unless they were professional chefs. Even my cynical roommate seemed impressed, and she didn’t even get to taste the results.

Bruce first started making sausage when he realized that commercially-made turkey sausage had a surprising amount of calories, fat, and additives compared to ground turkey. After researching sausage spicing he decided to make his own. He briefly considered using casings, but rejected the idea for simplicity’s sake. Sausage in this recipe is cut into crumbly chunks, but you could make more formal mini-patties or mini-meatballs if you have time, or stuff casings if that’s your preference.

All Spices from Spicy Sausage
Closeup of Spices
Note that this sausage is quite spicy. If you like it milder, cut down on the ground red pepper flakes and/or reduce the cayenne. Bruce says he wants to try adding ground fennel seed to this, starting with ¼ - ½ tsp., so feel free to add your own inspired ingredients. Be sure to use dried herbs that are still fragrant and within the “best when used by” dates.

Spicy Turkey Sausage Cooking
Browning the Sausage
Spicy Italian Turkey Sausage
serves 6 – 8 when added to pasta sauce

1 – 1 ½  tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. ground dark turkey meat
1 tsp. dried summer savory
1 tsp. poultry or Italian seasoning
1 tsp. garlic salt
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
¼ tsp. black pepper
¼ tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

Grind red pepper flakes with mortar and pestle. Stir ground red pepper with summer savory, Italian or poultry seasoning, garlic salt, cayenne, black pepper, and sea salt.

Put ground turkey in bowl and break into chunks. It’s easiest to do this with a wooden spatula. Add mixed herbs and use spatula to mash together with meat until blended.

At this point you can choose to make patties, mini-meatballs, or stuff casings, or simply make crumbly chunks for pasta sauce or soups.

Add olive oil to electric frying pan and turn heat to 400 degrees (medium high). When hot, add meat and chop up large chunks into approximately 1-inch pieces. Brown for 4 minutes, turning once to brown all sides. Meatballs and casing sausage will take longer to brown and require more turning to brown all sides.

When all sides are brown, reduce heat to 350 degrees and cook about 4 more minutes, until meat is cooked through.

We like this in spaghetti sauce, but it can be used in any way that you like other sausage, as long as you shape the way you enjoy it.

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