I discovered my love for Italian sausage later in life. Probably, at least in part, because my parents didn’t feed me pork as a child. Unfortunately, most commercial sausages contain one (or more) ingredients I don’t want to feed my kids, or myself. I first attempted to create my own Italian sausage following Emeril Lagasse’s instructions for Homemade Mild Italian Sausage.
Almost immediately, I ran into problems: I didn’t have ground anise or Italian parsley or red wine or a meat grinder or a day and a half to wait for supper. So I improvised. I discovered that I didn’t have to let the meat and spice mixture sit for 24 hours before grinding it, and using already-ground meat worked just fine. Lemon juice was a perfectly acceptable substitute for the acid provided by the red wine. I also found that both pork and beef make a good sausage, but the amount of spice required to flavor each pound of meat varies.
Later, when I learned I couldn’t have nightshades, I was surprised to find the recipe tasted just as good without paprika. Finally, in a light bulb moment, I realized I could mix up a big batch of the seasoning blend and just measure out what I needed for the meat I was cooking at any given time. Plus, put it in a pretty jar and you have a fabulous, homemade gift for your favorite cook!
3 T garlic powder (24 g)
2 T dried basil leaves (3 g)
2 T salt (36 g)
1 T black pepper (6 g)
1 T whole fennel seed (6 g)
1 T dried rosemary (3 g)
- Stir all ingredients together
- (optional) Process for 30 seconds in an electric coffee grinder or small high-speed blender
Yield: ½ c seasoning
For pork sausage, add to 1 lb ground pork:
1 T seasoning mix (10 g)
1 t lemon juice
For beef sausage, add to 1 lb ground beef:
4½ t seasoning mix (15 g)
1½ t lemon juice
I’m a big believer that herbs and spices can make, or break, a dish. For that reason, all seasoning blends need labels. You don’t want to accidentally put a spoonful of poultry seasoning into your apple pie. Apple pie spice in your chicken casserole might work slightly better, but it still wouldn’t come out quite as intended.
Whether you want to prepare a small batch of seasoning for yourself or you’ll be giving several away this holiday season, I’ve created a simple label for you to use. Click here or on the label image to download the PDF.
How do you like to use Italian sausage in your cooking?