Spicy Italian Sausage

By • July 30, 2014 2 Comments

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Author Notes: This is a straightforward recipe for a classic sausage, with some heat from the red pepper flakes and a good amount of fennel seeds, which are left whole. My idea of sausage heaven is an Italian on a soft bun, piled high with cooked peppers and onions. If you want, you can leave this sausage uncased, rolling it into meatballs or using it as a pizza toping. [email protected]


Makes 3 pounds of sausage

  • 2.8 pounds boneless pork shoulder (or a combination of cuts), cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons ice water
  • 2 tablespoons white wine
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • Hog casings, rinsed (optional)
  1. Place the pork on a rimmed baking sheet, transfer to the freezer, and chill until crunchy on the exterior but not frozen solid.
  2. In a medium bowl, add the ice water, wine, salt, fennel seeds, and red pepper flakes and stir to combine.
  3. Nest a large mixing bowl inside a larger bowl filled with ice. Grind the pork shoulder through the small die of a meat grinder into the bowl set in ice.
  4. Add the spice mixture to the meat and stir with your hands until well incorporated; the mixture will look homogenous and will begin sticking to the bowl.
  5. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the meat mixture into a nonstick frying pan and spread it into a thin patty. Cook the test patty over low heat until cooked through but not browned. Taste the sausage for seasoning and adjust as necessary.
  6. You can leave this sausage uncased, or stuff into hog casings and twist into links. Cook right away or freeze for longer storage. The cased sausages can be grilled to an internal temperature of 145° F. Uncased sausage can be crumbled and browned in a sauté pan over medium heat, or added raw to a pizza before it’s baked.

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