Make your own Italian and Breakfast Sausage

A quick post this evening, due to a discussion I have been having with fellow expats about how to adapt US recipes to the available ingredients in Ireland.  Of of the most common food-related questions I hear is “where can I buy Italian sausage?”  or “Can I buy Jimmy Dean here?”

In Ireland, sausage usually refers to either blood sausage, or “white” sausage, both of which are served at breakfast.  There really isn’t a Jimmy Dean-style breakfast sausage equivalent available.  Italian sausage is also hard to find here. You can make your own sausage with a few basic ingredients, and no scary equipment.  I buy ground pork, or “pork mince” at my local butcher or Polish grocery store.  I find that the ground pork I get at the Polish grocer is the best. For both of these recipes, I try to make the sausage at least 24 hours before I need it, as the time gives the ingredients time to come together.

Below are two recipes I use to make my own sausage.

Italian Sausage

Yield: 3 1-pound portions

3 pounds (1.5 kg) ground pork
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder – if you can’t find onion powder, either omit, or add extra garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried basil
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
3/4 teaspoon ground fennel seed.  I usually throw in about a teaspoon of whole fennel seed as well.
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon dried oregano

Mix ingredients together, separate into three 1-pound (500g) portions.  Freeze until needed.

Adapted from this recipe.

American-style breakfast sausage

Yield: 1-pound breakfast sausage

400-500g ground pork
1.5 tablespoons of sage
1 tablespoon of dried marjoram
1 tablespoon of dried thyme
1/4 teaspoons of red pepper flakes
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
1/2-3/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper

Mix ingredients together. Once combined, I roll this sausage into 3″ logs, and freeze. When I want sausage patties, I let it thaw slightly and then slice, and cook.

Both recipes are really flexible.  I add additional spices, or omit spices, depending on what is in my cabinet at the time!