Author Topic: Sweet Italian Sausage  (Read 14035 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline loowaters

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 610
  • Age: 45
  • Location: Somewhere...in Iowa.
  • Where's my knife and fork?
Sweet Italian Sausage
« on: April 28, 2009, 10:16:21 AM »
I'm trying to cut costs and make a better sausage.  This is my latest effort and while I won't call it great, it is good. 

- 3 lbs. Pork Shoulder (85/15)
 
- 1 1/4 T Ground Fennel (maybe use 1 1/2 T if you just crack the fennel)
 
- 1 T Kosher Salt
 
- 1 T Ground Black Pepper
 
- 1 t Dried Basil
 
- 1/2 c Ice Water

Cut the pork and fat into 1" cubes and place in freezer for 30-45 minutes before grinding.  I use my KA grinder attachment's smaller grind plate for this. 

Add all the seasonings to the ice water and then into the pork it goes.  Combine thoroughly using your hands.  I make 1/2 lb. patties and wrap in foil for freezing but you can obviously use your stuffer attachment and stuff into casings at this point.

The first time I used this it was really fresh and I was disappointed in the bland flavor.  The next time, using some that had been frozen, it was much better.  Flavor penetration? 

I'm tinkering with this in an effort to make a great sausage, not simply a good one.  In the past I've used red wine and may revisit that instead of the cold water or possibly a combination of the two.  This summer when I have some fresh basil I'll probably go that route.

Loo


Using pizza to expand my waistline since 1969!


Offline tdeane

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 486
  • Age: 42
  • Location: British Columbia, Canada
    • Pizzeria Barbarella
Re: Sweet Italian Sausage
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2009, 12:30:22 PM »
Try using a dry white wine instead of water. You don't need the basil in it imo and a traditional fennel sausage has cracked fennel not ground. You should be able to see the seeds in it. My fennel sausage has ground pork shoulder, cracked fennel, salt, pepper, ground coriander, a little sugar and white wine.

Offline loowaters

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 610
  • Age: 45
  • Location: Somewhere...in Iowa.
  • Where's my knife and fork?
Re: Sweet Italian Sausage
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2009, 02:27:20 PM »
Adding some coriander was also something I was looking at for my next attempt.  Thanks.

Loo
Using pizza to expand my waistline since 1969!

Offline jeff v

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 1422
  • Location: Orland Park, IL
  • I'm Valentino not Varasano :)
    • Pizzeria Valentino
Re: Sweet Italian Sausage
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2009, 03:00:51 PM »
I think you're very close. Here's how I would change your current recipe...

No basil
cracked fennel instead of ground
Is there enough salt? (blandness?)
I grind through the large die on the KA (that is personal prefernce I suppose)

The wine is another option, but I usually use water. When I do use wine it's a Pinot Grigio. Be careful when mixing by hand as well-too much body heat will begin to melt the fat and make a greasy, poor tasting sausage. I would mix it in the chilled bowl of the KA til you get a nice tackiness.

My .02,

Jeff

Offline tdeane

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 486
  • Age: 42
  • Location: British Columbia, Canada
    • Pizzeria Barbarella
Re: Sweet Italian Sausage
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2009, 03:12:17 PM »
I think you're very close. Here's how I would change your current recipe...

No basil
cracked fennel instead of ground
Is there enough salt? (blandness?)
I grind through the large die on the KA (that is personal prefernce I suppose)

The wine is another option, but I usually use water. When I do use wine it's a Pinot Grigio. Be careful when mixing by hand as well-too much body heat will begin to melt the fat and make a greasy, poor tasting sausage. I would mix it in the chilled bowl of the KA til you get a nice tackiness.

My .02,

Jeff

Yeah, I think the recipe is a little light on salt.

Offline loowaters

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 610
  • Age: 45
  • Location: Somewhere...in Iowa.
  • Where's my knife and fork?
Re: Sweet Italian Sausage
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2009, 04:51:12 PM »
How much more salt?  A 1/4 T?  1/3 T (1 t)?
Using pizza to expand my waistline since 1969!

Offline mmarston

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 534
  • Location: Altamont, NY (Albany)
  • I can stop eating Pizza any time I want!
Re: Sweet Italian Sausage
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2009, 05:42:58 PM »
While I like Fennel seed in my Italian sausage, I have encountered more than one Italian butcher that think Fennel is sometimes used to cover lower quality meat. There is a great deal of variation of the meat to fat ratio in Italian sausages from different sources. I prefer the leaner style (usually from an Italian store) for pizza or a quick pasta sauce. I remove it from the casing and saute it briefly. I like the fattier types in a Ragu (slow cooked sauce) or grilled.

tdeane,

When I lived in Carroll Gardens there was a pork store on the West side of Court Street that made their sausage in plain sight of the customers, without fennel. Sadly they are long gone.

Michael
Nobody cares if you can't dance well.  Just get up and dance.  Dave Barry

Offline jeff v

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 1422
  • Location: Orland Park, IL
  • I'm Valentino not Varasano :)
    • Pizzeria Valentino
Re: Sweet Italian Sausage
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2009, 06:07:40 PM »
How much more salt?  A 1/4 T?  1/3 T (1 t)?


Hmmm. Are you using Morton's Kosher?

I'm on the road, and use a larger batch size so sorry I can't get you exacts what I use. Start small and fry a small patty to taste-I'm thinking 3lbs could use 1.5T and maybe even more salt. I could be off, but that's my thought.

Watching very well known butchers in Chicago make Italian sausage always seemed like they used alot of salt until I tasted it. My previous sausage reflection can be found here-  :P

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,7302.msg63169.html#msg63169 --

"You know how to make great Italian sausage? Just use salt and pepper-and more salt than you'd think you should.

While I cant speak about Anichini Bros, other very famous sausage producers in Chicago, and 1 or 2 in NY that my family also knows do this. For sweet they'll put in some fennel seeds too, but that's it period. I know when I taste it I swear there is something else in there, but I have seen it made. Then the grind and emulsification are a whole nother thing. "


Hope this helps,

Jeff

Offline tdeane

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 486
  • Age: 42
  • Location: British Columbia, Canada
    • Pizzeria Barbarella
Re: Sweet Italian Sausage
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2009, 06:48:31 PM »
While I like Fennel seed in my Italian sausage, I have encountered more than one Italian butcher that think Fennel is sometimes used to cover lower quality meat. There is a great deal of variation of the meat to fat ratio in Italian sausages from different sources. I prefer the leaner style (usually from an Italian store) for pizza or a quick pasta sauce. I remove it from the casing and saute it briefly. I like the fattier types in a Ragu (slow cooked sauce) or grilled.

tdeane,

When I lived in Carroll Gardens there was a pork store on the West side of Court Street that made their sausage in plain sight of the customers, without fennel. Sadly they are long gone.

Michael
If there is no fennel, it's not italian sausage. It's just sausage. Italian sausage is called fennel sausage. I lived just a few blocks from that store on Court St. It was at Court and Union wasn't it? I never tried the sausage there.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2009, 06:50:49 PM by tdeane »

Offline mmarston

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 534
  • Location: Altamont, NY (Albany)
  • I can stop eating Pizza any time I want!
Re: Sweet Italian Sausage
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2009, 07:22:22 PM »
The store at Court and Union actually sold sausage with and without fennel.
The one I mentioned was closer to 1st place.

Many Italian stores carry three versions of basic Italian sausage, Fennel, Sweet (no Fennel) and Hot.

Michael
« Last Edit: April 28, 2009, 07:30:39 PM by mmarston »
Nobody cares if you can't dance well.  Just get up and dance.  Dave Barry


Offline tdeane

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 486
  • Age: 42
  • Location: British Columbia, Canada
    • Pizzeria Barbarella
Re: Sweet Italian Sausage
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2009, 08:00:42 PM »
The store at Court and Union actually sold sausage with and without fennel.
The one I mentioned was closer to 1st place.

Many Italian stores carry three versions of basic Italian sausage, Fennel, Sweet (no Fennel) and Hot.

Michael
Sorry, but I have never heard of any Italian sausage without fennel. I'm sure there are Italian made sausages with out fennel but traditional Italian style sausage is fennel sausage by definition and there are three variaties that I know of, sweet, mild and hot. They all have fennel.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2009, 08:03:53 PM by tdeane »

Offline mmarston

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 534
  • Location: Altamont, NY (Albany)
  • I can stop eating Pizza any time I want!
Re: Sweet Italian Sausage
« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2009, 08:18:23 PM »
Nobody cares if you can't dance well.  Just get up and dance.  Dave Barry

Offline loowaters

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 610
  • Age: 45
  • Location: Somewhere...in Iowa.
  • Where's my knife and fork?
Re: Sweet Italian Sausage
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2009, 08:26:46 PM »
Hmmm. Are you using Morton's Kosher?

I'm on the road, and use a larger batch size so sorry I can't get you exacts what I use. Start small and fry a small patty to taste-I'm thinking 3lbs could use 1.5T and maybe even more salt. I could be off, but that's my thought.

Watching very well known butchers in Chicago make Italian sausage always seemed like they used alot of salt until I tasted it. My previous sausage reflection can be found here-  :P


Yes, I'm using Morton's Kosher salt.

I did do the small patty fried in a pan taste test and it seemed bland.  

I had a buddy that at one time knew what Fabbri was putting in their sweet Italian sausage.  When I asked him to think hard about it he gave me "the fennel is the important part".   ::) Thanks, I know that.  I was asking him to think back to over 20 years ago, though.  I've seen coriander, oregano, basil, parsley, sweet paprika, anise seed, and carraway seed in various recipes but I know it's just a very simple sausage.  It's just getting the amount of seasoning right.  It looks like some NY sweet sausages do not use fennel but I know most of these Chicago pizza places use sausage with fennel with the exception of maybe Uno's and Malnati's...maybe.  I know you'll tease me about this but I think Johnsonville's "Natural" sweet Italian sausage is good (the bulk package not the links) and it uses fennel and "fresh basil".

Jeff, how much are you making?  I can scale the recipe or just make a larger batch.  I live in Iowa, hogs galore, I'm buying 3 lbs. of pork shoulder for under $5.  

Loo
Using pizza to expand my waistline since 1969!

Offline Jackitup

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 3618
  • Age: 59
  • Location: Hastings, MN
Re: Sweet Italian Sausage
« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2009, 08:53:01 PM »
Anyone that wants to 'play with their sausage'....Len Poli's site has alot to offer. Check it out. http://home.pacbell.net/lpoli/index.htm  Also when looking up sausage recipes search for "sausage formulations" or "commercial meat formulations" and you will get a much better list of professional meat makers recipes and procedures and such.
Jon
Save A Cow, Eat A Vegan....Totally Organic And Hormone Free!!

Offline tdeane

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 486
  • Age: 42
  • Location: British Columbia, Canada
    • Pizzeria Barbarella
Re: Sweet Italian Sausage
« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2009, 09:01:36 PM »
Sweet Italian sausage, no fennel.

http://www.brooklynporkstore.com/PRODUCTS/FRESH_ITALIAN_SAUSAGE/sweet_links_sausage.htm

Well I guess that is something they have come up with. Their own specialty.

Offline mmarston

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 534
  • Location: Altamont, NY (Albany)
  • I can stop eating Pizza any time I want!
Re: Sweet Italian Sausage
« Reply #15 on: April 28, 2009, 09:25:29 PM »
I already mentioned 2 other stores in Brooklyn that had sweet sausage without fennel. I'm sure I could find others but believe what you like. Obviously Italian sausage with fennel is far more common however the other type is well known in Brooklyn. FYI I lived in Brooklyn for almost 30 years and have first and second generation Italian relatives.

I have no more to say regarding Italian sausage.

Michael
Nobody cares if you can't dance well.  Just get up and dance.  Dave Barry

Offline tdeane

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 486
  • Age: 42
  • Location: British Columbia, Canada
    • Pizzeria Barbarella
Re: Sweet Italian Sausage
« Reply #16 on: April 28, 2009, 09:55:59 PM »
I already mentioned 2 other stores in Brooklyn that had sweet sausage without fennel. I'm sure I could find others but believe what you like. Obviously Italian sausage with fennel is far more common however the other type is well known in Brooklyn. FYI I lived in Brooklyn for almost 30 years and have first and second generation Italian relatives.

I have no more to say regarding Italian sausage.

Michael

Relax, I'm not sure why you are getting so worked up. My point is that the sweet sausage without fennel is just that, sweet sausage. It is not really Italian sausage,imo. They might call it that but it is not Italian sausage as I know it. I have eaten probably 100 sausage and peppers sandwiches at various street fairs around New York. Both sweet and hot and not once did I have one without fennel. I don't even call it Italian sausage, I call it fennel sausage. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_sausage I'm not even sure why you want to argue about it? You already said you like your sausage with fennel.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2009, 10:03:57 PM by tdeane »

Offline jeff v

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 1422
  • Location: Orland Park, IL
  • I'm Valentino not Varasano :)
    • Pizzeria Valentino
Re: Sweet Italian Sausage
« Reply #17 on: April 28, 2009, 10:14:39 PM »
Relax, I'm not sure why you are getting so worked up. My point is that the sweet sausage without fennel is just that, sweet sausage. It is not really Italian sausage,imo. They might call it that but it is not Italian sausage as I know it. I have eaten probably 100 sausage and peppers sandwiches at various street fairs around New York. Both sweet and hot and not once did I have one without fennel. I don't even call it Italian sausage, I call it fennel sausage. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_sausage I'm not even sure why you want to argue about it? You already said you like your sausage with fennel.


Not to totally get this thread OT, but Terry your wrong here. You may or may not call it Italian sausage, but there are many many places that make Mild Italian Sausage, and that has no fennel.

Offline Jackitup

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 3618
  • Age: 59
  • Location: Hastings, MN
Re: Sweet Italian Sausage
« Reply #18 on: April 28, 2009, 10:29:04 PM »
Actually....you're all right. Just like the Germans or Poles, the Italians make a plethora of different sausages, not just the narrow view of what Americans identify them as. But I think that is the point here, "MOST" people here, probably 80% or more if asked, would identify Italian sausage as one made with fennel, basil and garlic or some similar combination, just to throw my 2 cents in. But, needless to say, I've met few sausages I don't love. I'm an old German boy and love sausages and salami's, dried, cured, fresh, smoked....it's all good stuff ;-)
Jon
Save A Cow, Eat A Vegan....Totally Organic And Hormone Free!!

parallei

  • Guest
Re: Sweet Italian Sausage
« Reply #19 on: April 28, 2009, 10:37:30 PM »
Getting hungry thinking about all the wonderful sausage out there!  I think tedeane is right in that most folks would certainly expect their local pizza joint's sausage to contain fennel.  I think the fennel is a southern Italian thing (but I may be wrong).

But don't limit yourself on the fresh Italian sausage front!  Being a big fan of pork products, I've made a point of sampling fresh sausage on the trips we've taken to northern Italy.  I seem to remember sausage in Emilia Romagna seasoned with different spices including allspice, nutmeg and other things I couldn't identify.  Cotechino leaps to mind.   As a child in San Francisco, the fresh Italian sausage my father always bought didnít have fennel in it either.  His parents were both born in Liguria.  So maybe it is a southern thing.  I'm not sure.  The only fresh sausage I make is for New Year, and it is the closest I can come to what I like best from northern Italy.  It includes pork butt, pancetta, garlic, white wine, allspice, salt and pepper and a bit of nutmeg.