Friday, July 25, 2008

Experiments in Meat: DIY Turkey Breakfast Sausage

Jaime’s tremendous Seitan post on Tuesday got me thinking about meat. More specifically, it made me wonder if I could create my own variety of turkey sausage using ingredients I had lying around the kitchen. (What? It’s a logical leap. … Kind of.) I’d tried it before with some success, but really wanted to nail it this time.

After some searching, I stumbled upon these instructions from Free Cooking Recipes. They looked simple enough, and I had all the flavorings stashed on our spice rack/IKEA-CD-tower-we-use-as-a-spice-rack. So, I defrosted eight ounces of ground turkey, gathered my courage, and went to work.

For the first batch, I tried the recipe almost as-written, substituting ground sage and thyme for poultry seasoning and forgetting the ginger by accident. The end result was salty, a little powdery from all the sage, and definitely more of an evening sausage. I might serve it with pasta in a pinch (after halving the salt).

Batch #2 was more successful, but in a different way. Based on the results for Batch #1, I added some fennel seed, eliminated the poultry seasoning entirely, slashed the salt by 25%, and jacked up the liquid smoke to 3 drops. (P.S. When I say “jacked up the liquid smoke to 3 drops,” I actually mean “accidentally poured 3x the asked-for amount into the bowl.” Hey, if it worked for vulcanized rubber...)

Somehow, someway, this created a decent breakfast sausage. Despite being (still) a tad salty, it had a pleasantly smoky flavor with a nice kick of cayenne at the end. The meat held up well in crumble and link form, and The Boyfriend and our roommate C both gave it the thumbs up.

The recipe for Batch #2 is what’s listed below. Compared to two ounces of yer average turkey breakfast sausage, you save 40 calories and 6 grams of fat per serving. Price depends on how much you pay for the ground turkey, but I worked the cost of this out to $0.14/oz. Not too shabby.

Readers, have you ever tried this? Does anyone have their own recipe for turkey sausage? Maybe something more suitable for the evening? Let’s go MAD WITH MEAT POWER together.

P.S. I just discovered the Enhance function in iPhoto, so my pictures are now guaranteed to be 14% less hideous. I'm comin' for ya, Annie Liebowitz!

DIY Turkey Breakfast Sausage

Makes 4 2-oz links, patties, or crumble servings
Adapted from Free Cooking Recipes.

½ pound 93% fat free ground turkey
2-3 drops liquid smoke
½-¾ teaspoons salt
2/3 teaspoons ground sage
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 pinches fennel seed
1 teaspoon olive oil (a little more if making patties)

1) To a large bowl, add turkey, liquid smoke, salt, sage, sugar, black pepper, thyme, cayenne, and fennel. Combine gently using your hands. If making patties or links, shape the meat into loose-but-stable form.

2) Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add sausage to pan. Cook until no longer pink. Do not overcook.

Approximate Calories, Fat, and Price Per Serving
95 calories, 4.25 g fat, $0.27

½ pound 93% fat free ground turkey: 325 calories, 16.2 g fat, $0.75
2-3 drops liquid smoke: negligible calories and fat, $0.02
½-¾ teaspoons salt: negligible calories and fat, $0.01
2/3 teaspoons ground sage: 4 calories, 0.2 g fat, $0.16
1/2 teaspoon sugar: 8 calories, 0 g fat, $0.01
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper: negligible calories and fat, $0.01
¼ teaspoon dried thyme: 1 calorie, 0 g fat, $0.03
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper: negligible calories and fat, $0.01
2 pinches fennel seed: 1 calorie, 0.1 g fat, $0.04
1 teaspoon olive oil: 39 calories, 4.5 g fat, $0.04
TOTAL: 378 calories, 21 g fat, $1.08
PER SERVING (TOTAL/4): 95 calories, 4.25 g fat, $0.27

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Jaime said...

Ooh, those pictures are pretty!

(What, did you think I'd have a comment on the meat? This is what you get, with two vegetarian contributors. Just wait till I bust out the mayo recipe.)

Anonymous said...

That sounds good! I have some ground turkey at home that I was going to do "something" with this I can't wait to give this sausage a shot. Thanks!

ering said...

The "Annie Liebowitz" comment made me laugh out loud. Thanks.

Joel said...

Italian Turkey Sausage (evening wares):

8 ounces 93% ground turkey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
1/4 tsp olive oil

Pretty simple: toast the fennel and red pepper, smoosh everything together, and treat it like the "real" stuff...

Joel said...

...have to try yours for breakfast though. Amy does love biscuits and gravy!

Anonymous said...

Now don't freak! Here is the instructions for my fav homemade sausage.
Sweet Italian Venison Sausage
4 lbs lean venison(trim away all fat)
2 lbs boneless beef chuck roast(leave all the fat on it)
1/4 c Legg's Old Plantation Sweet Italian Seasoning
Cube the meat.Grind meat through the coarse plate on your grinder. Mix in seasonings in mixer for 2 minutes. Regrind through the finer plate.
Makes 6lbs of sausage.
You can get Legg's at -
A.C.Legg Packing Co.Inc.
Birmingham AL 35203
The ingredients listed on the package are salt,fennel,black pepper, and sugar in that order.
My grinder is an attachment on my kitchenaid mixer. I use the chili grind plate for coarse and the hamburger grind for fine. The beef is necessary or the sausage will just fall apart when you cook it.