Author Topic: Sweet Italian Sausage  (Read 17625 times)

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Offline tdeane

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Re: Sweet Italian Sausage
« Reply #25 on: April 28, 2009, 11:42:24 PM »

My opinion just happens to align with some of the most well known sausage makers in Chicago, and NY who happen to also be Italian.


As does mine.


Offline November

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Re: Sweet Italian Sausage
« Reply #26 on: April 28, 2009, 11:45:20 PM »
And just to make this more official, the USDA claims Italian sausage contains fennel and/or anise.  (Probably where the Wikipedia information originated.)

'"Italian Sausage Products" are cured or uncured sausages containing at least 85% meat, or a combination of meat and fat, with the total fat content constituting not more than 35% of the finished product. It contains salt, pepper, fennel and/or anise and no more than 3% water. Optional ingredients permitted in Italian Sausages are spices (including paprika) and flavorings, red or green peppers, onions, garlic and parsley, sugar, dextrose and corn syrup.'

http://www.fsis.usda.gov/FactSheets/Sausage_and_Food_Safety/index.asp

I hope the debate can draw to a close now.

- red.november

Offline tdeane

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Re: Sweet Italian Sausage
« Reply #27 on: April 28, 2009, 11:48:37 PM »
And just to make this more official, the USDA claims Italian sausage contains fennel and/or anise.  (Probably where the Wikipedia information originated.)

'"Italian Sausage Products" are cured or uncured sausages containing at least 85% meat, or a combination of meat and fat, with the total fat content constituting not more than 35% of the finished product. It contains salt, pepper, fennel and/or anise and no more than 3% water. Optional ingredients permitted in Italian Sausages are spices (including paprika) and flavorings, red or green peppers, onions, garlic and parsley, sugar, dextrose and corn syrup.'

http://www.fsis.usda.gov/FactSheets/Sausage_and_Food_Safety/index.asp

I hope the debate can draw to a close now.

- red.november
Sounds good to me!

Offline jeff v

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Re: Sweet Italian Sausage
« Reply #28 on: April 28, 2009, 11:55:17 PM »
Italian sausage in the United States is generally identified as containing fennel just as the aforementioned Wikipedia article stated.  If it were not so, U.S. pizza operators who offer both sausage and Italian sausage would be in a true marketing fix.  How else is a consumer supposed to know the difference between "sausage" and "Italian sausage" when the "Italian sausage" might not contain fennel?  Many chains offer both.  The one I worked at many years ago certainly did, and the difference was unmistakably fennel.

Perhaps those of you who don't believe that the sausage nominally known as "Italian" contains fennel could explain what consumers are to look for and expect in the differences between said sausages when they order a pizza.

I italicize the term "nominally" above to emphasize that what we're talking about is a nominal classification, not taxonomic.  In the same way a "two-by-four" is not actually 2" x 4".

- red.november

Nominally indeed. The pork sausage used at the pizza store I worked at way back when was pre cooked, and closer to breakfast sausage. The Italian sausage was bulk raw sausage. I don't remeber if it contained fennel.

ETA: I don't want to start with my thoughts in the USDA, and how that does or doesn't support your case.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2009, 12:00:49 AM by jeff v »
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Offline November

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Re: Sweet Italian Sausage
« Reply #29 on: April 29, 2009, 12:05:15 AM »
Nominally indeed.

I think it's important to state that it's nominal only, otherwise it may be confused with other sausage products of Italy.  However, that is the whole point of labeling though: to eliminate confusion.  That is why I think the USDA (the organization responsible for maintaining food labeling standards in the U.S.) has the last word on the matter.

Offline November

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Re: Sweet Italian Sausage
« Reply #30 on: April 29, 2009, 12:10:04 AM »
ETA: I don't want to start with my thoughts in the USDA, and how that does or doesn't support your case.

There's a question over whether the USDA can support my case?  That's pretty funny.  You're talking about the agency that can shut you down if you label the food products you manufacture wrong.

Offline tdeane

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Re: Sweet Italian Sausage
« Reply #31 on: April 29, 2009, 12:21:18 AM »
I don't think Italian(fennel) sausage is actually Italian is it? It's more of a American or Italian American thing, I thought. Do they eat sausage and peppahs in Italy?

Offline Matthew

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Re: Sweet Italian Sausage
« Reply #32 on: April 29, 2009, 07:44:38 AM »
My family is from Sicily has been making sausage for decades & fennel is a matter of taste, some of my family members love it & some of them hate it.  When my parents make sausage they make a batch with & a batch without.  Like pizza, sausage recipes vary from region to region.  Is is one more authentic than the other? No! My wife's grandmother is from Rome & uses orange peel in her sausage & no fennel because that's how it is made in her town.  There are probably thousands of different sausage recipes within various regions in Italy & if they don't contain fennel does it make it "non italian"?  IMO, Commercially manufactured "so called" italian sausage with or without fennel is about as far from authentic as you can get.  It is only labelled as such so that it can be identified by the average person with no sausage knowledge.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2009, 07:46:52 AM by Matthew »

Offline mmarston

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Re: Sweet Italian Sausage
« Reply #33 on: April 29, 2009, 07:55:45 AM »
Well said, Matthew.

Michael
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Offline November

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Re: Sweet Italian Sausage
« Reply #34 on: April 29, 2009, 08:35:26 AM »
It is only labelled as such so that it can be identified by the average person with no sausage knowledge.

That's partly true.  I wouldn't say that a Chinese buffet is labeled "Chinese" because the average person has no knowledge of food consumed in China.  It's labeled such because it's as close to authentic Chinese food the average person would want to eat.  Can you imagine Americans eating fish head soup and millet from a buffet?

Offline Matthew

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Re: Sweet Italian Sausage
« Reply #35 on: April 29, 2009, 09:07:18 AM »
That's partly true.  I wouldn't say that a Chinese buffet is labeled "Chinese" because the average person has no knowledge of food consumed in China.  It's labeled such because it's as close to authentic Chinese food the average person would want to eat.  Can you imagine Americans eating fish head soup and millet from a buffet?

I meant it more as a visual.  Most commercially produced sausage looks very similar & could be very easily confused without proper labelling.   A prime example is Chorizo & hot Italian.
Bring on the fish heads!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ;D
« Last Edit: April 29, 2009, 09:08:54 AM by Matthew »

Offline November

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Re: Sweet Italian Sausage
« Reply #36 on: April 29, 2009, 09:09:52 AM »
Most commercially produced sausage looks very similar & could be very easily confused.

That is certainly true.  Hence the reason for the attempt at labeling standards in the United States.

For some additional perspective, I don't see anyone getting in an uproar over the labeling of Canadian bacon.  It's not as though the term refers to its place of origin.  It just a back bacon cut.  An even more important illustration is the Neapolitan pizza.  Neapolitan pizza is simply a style.  It's not as though everyone in Naples, Italy always make pizza that way.  It's just a label.

- red.november

Offline Matthew

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Re: Sweet Italian Sausage
« Reply #37 on: April 29, 2009, 09:21:48 AM »
That is certainly true.  Hence the reason for the attempt at labeling standards in the United States.

For some additional perspective, I don't see anyone getting in an uproar over the labeling of Canadian bacon. 
- red.november

Hmm! Anyone feel like starting a new thread? ;) I am born & raised in Canada & don't know much at all about Canadian Bacon except that it's much leaner than regular bacon.

Offline loowaters

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Re: Sweet Italian Sausage
« Reply #38 on: April 29, 2009, 10:30:32 AM »
I won't be home til Friday night, so I can get you the recipe then if you'd like. I want to say it's 4T per 6lbs of meat and fat, but I can let you know for sure.

Jeff

Yes, please, Jeff, I'd love to see it and possibly give it a try. 
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Offline jeff v

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Re: Sweet Italian Sausage
« Reply #39 on: April 29, 2009, 12:16:31 PM »
There's a question over whether the USDA can support my case?  That's pretty funny.  You're talking about the agency that can shut you down if you label the food products you manufacture wrong.

So permissable = right?

This is an area for "nominal" only IMO, because obviously this is more for safety than authenticity. I wonder what would happen if I asked my buthcher to throw some corn syrup, and dextrose for me in his next batch?
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Offline jeff v

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Re: Sweet Italian Sausage
« Reply #40 on: April 29, 2009, 12:16:47 PM »
Yes, please, Jeff, I'd love to see it and possibly give it a try. 

No prob loo.
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Offline November

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Re: Sweet Italian Sausage
« Reply #41 on: April 29, 2009, 12:20:39 PM »
This is an area for "nominal" only IMO

I'm glad you understand.


Offline tdeane

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Re: Sweet Italian Sausage
« Reply #42 on: April 29, 2009, 02:02:27 PM »
I am not denying the fact that Italians make sausage without fennel. I am simply saying that what makes an "Italian" sausage vs a. Italian "made" sausage is the addition of fennel. That is what makes it Italian sausage!(or what I call fennel sausage which I think is much more accurate) I mean if a Spaniard makes a sausage is it automatically called Chorizo? No. I think sausages are categorized by what's in them, not who made them or where they were made.  :)

Offline PizzaHog

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Re: Sweet Italian Sausage
« Reply #43 on: April 29, 2009, 06:58:46 PM »
The Italian side of my family was from the areas near Perugia (Nonna) and Roma (Nonno).  It was pretty clear they felt a distinction between themselves and "southern" Italians in many things, including sausage.  Nonno's homemade sausage never contained fennel - that was a southern Italian thing - and I never even tasted sausage with fennel until I was an adult, which I really liked.  My mom was not too thrilled about that.  So a rose by any other name...
Anyway, after my Grandfather passed, my mom struggled trying to reproduce the flavor of his simple recipe, which is pretty much what Jeff v posted (without the fennel, of course), which drove her crazy since it always her job growing up to assist and she had seen it done a thousand times.  The bad news is she never really nailed it and we finally decided it was a physical step she was lacking.  The closest she got, which was very, very good, was only after the addition of what seemed like way too much salt.  Unfortunately, my main involvement at the time was as a taster, but I recall all the rejoicing and comments about how much salt!  Despite only 4 ingredients, it was very flavorful indeed.  The missing step was the hanging of the sausage in the unused coal room down in the basement. 
Aw, memories.  Now I'm getting misty.
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Offline tdeane

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Re: Sweet Italian Sausage
« Reply #44 on: April 29, 2009, 07:24:48 PM »
I just made a batch of sausage today: 3lbs ground pork
                                                    1/4 cup dry white wine
                                                    21/2T Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt
                                                    1/2T ground coriander
                                                    1T black pepper
                                                    1/2T sugar
                                                    1/2T chili flakes(ground in a spice grinder)
                                                    11/2T cracked fennel
This is my recipe and I like it very much. I just recently started adding the coriander and it made a big difference.

Offline NepaBill

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Re: Sweet Italian Sausage
« Reply #45 on: April 29, 2009, 07:47:03 PM »
Wow funny I should stumble on this post.  I just finished making my own sausage topping for my pizza.  I tried to skip over all the bull%$# in this post about what is or what isn't Italian sausage.   I just tried a sample of my sausage and felt it was too bland (lacking salt)..  I then started looking for nutritional info on sausage products.  Johnsonville sweet Italian sausage has up to 30% sodium in some of their sausages..  (http://www.johnsonville.com/home/products/italian/sweet-italian-links.html) So at that rate 1lb of pork (approx 448g) would require 134g of salt.  Wow that seems high..  I used roughly 8% in my latest recipe.  I will test it out pizza tomorrow and see how it is.

Bill

Offline jeff v

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Re: Sweet Italian Sausage
« Reply #46 on: April 29, 2009, 08:01:13 PM »
Wow funny I should stumble on this post.  I just finished making my own sausage topping for my pizza.  I tried to skip over all the bull%$#& in this post about what is or what isn't Italian sausage.   I just tried a sample of my sausage and felt it was too bland (lacking salt)..  I then started looking for nutritional info on sausage products.  Johnsonville sweet Italian sausage has up to 30% sodium in some of their sausages..  (http://www.johnsonville.com/home/products/italian/sweet-italian-links.html) So at that rate 1lb of pork (approx 448g) would require 134g of salt.  Wow that seems high..  I used roughly 8% in my latest recipe.  I will test it out pizza tomorrow and see how it is.

Bill

Bill,

I think the 30% you're looking at is % of daily allowance. The serving size is one link which is 85g, and 30% of that would be 25.5g. The sodium listed is "only" 710mg.

Jeff
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Online Pete-zza

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Re: Sweet Italian Sausage
« Reply #47 on: April 29, 2009, 10:18:31 PM »
I just made a batch of sausage today: 3lbs ground pork
                                                    1/4 cup dry white wine
                                                    21/2T Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt
                                                    1/2T ground coriander
                                                    1T black pepper
                                                    1/2T sugar
                                                    1/2T chili flakes(ground in a spice grinder)
                                                    11/2T cracked fennel
This is my recipe and I like it very much. I just recently started adding the coriander and it made a big difference.

Terry,

Do you grind your own pork and, if so, what is its starting form? Are the chili flakes the same thing as red pepper flakes?

Peter

Offline tdeane

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Re: Sweet Italian Sausage
« Reply #48 on: April 29, 2009, 10:44:04 PM »
Terry,

Do you grind your own pork and, if so, what is its starting form? Are the chili flakes the same thing as red pepper flakes?

Peter
I grind pork shoulder(butt). Yeah, they are the same thing. I have tweaked this recipe a lot trying to get the right flavour. I started adding the chili(pepper) flakes and coriander about a month ago and it really gave the flavour some depth. I just add a little so it's subtle, but you really can taste the difference.

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Re: Sweet Italian Sausage
« Reply #49 on: April 29, 2009, 10:59:08 PM »
Peter:

As recommended in some recipes, I start by cutting the pork butt and fat (if using) into pieces that will easily fit into my grinder.  About 1 to 1 1/2-inch cubes in my case.  Then the pieces go into the freezer for 30 to 40 min. to firm up.  The time in the freezer does seem to help avoiding "squashed" meat and seems to give a better texture, at least in my kitchen.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2009, 11:11:08 PM by parallei »