Sunday, June 7, 2009

In the Kitchen with Sausage Skills!

If you weren't aware, those commercial sausages you see at the store are packed with lots of salt, not to mention other ingredients that may not be as healthy as they could be. So today friends came over to learn about sausages and making healthy, yet flavorful versions at home.

I was inspired to host this sausage event after a trip to Trader Joe's grocery store. They have a nice stock of various chicken sausages in delicious flavors. If they weren't so expensive for 4-6 links, I'd buy one of each and have myself a sausage fest! But more importantly, when reading the nutritional information for the sausages, I was disappointed with how much sodium is packed into each link. This gave me the idea of making my own flavorful poultry sausages at home with all the flavor and without all the salt.

In researching sausage making, salt is a pretty key component and is necessary for a good sausage...
Salt is a necessary component of sausage's flavor and texture, If you use too little salt or leave it out altogether, the sausage will taste flat and bland. Salt is also necessary to stabilize the muscle proteins that act as a glue to bind the individual particles of meat together - without it, the sausage would be crumbly and dry. -- Bruce Aidells of Aidells Sausage
As for making the sausage, it's not as hard as you think, especially if you make bulk sausage rather than links. This allows more versatility in using the sausage, just as you would ground beef. All it takes is some grinding/processing, blending in some spices and flavors and wrapping it up to use later.

Once might think a meat grinder is necessary... but it really isn't! If you have a food processor, you're in luck because that's the only piece of equipment that you'll probably need. How is it done? Well, click the links to the recipes of our chicken & turkey sausage menu below!

Chicken & Apple Sausage
Southwest Green Chile Sausage

Italian Turkey & Sun Dried Tomato Sausage

Thai Chicken & Turkey Sausage

Here are some candid pictures of the event where we all were hands on in the kitchen: