Friday, July 25, 2008

Experiments in Meat: DIY Turkey Breakfast Sausage

Jaime’s tremendous Seitan post on Tuesday got me thinking about meat. More specifically, it made me wonder if I could create my own variety of turkey sausage using ingredients I had lying around the kitchen. (What? It’s a logical leap. … Kind of.) I’d tried it before with some success, but really wanted to nail it this time.

After some searching, I stumbled upon these instructions from Free Cooking Recipes. They looked simple enough, and I had all the flavorings stashed on our spice rack/IKEA-CD-tower-we-use-as-a-spice-rack. So, I defrosted eight ounces of ground turkey, gathered my courage, and went to work.

For the first batch, I tried the recipe almost as-written, substituting ground sage and thyme for poultry seasoning and forgetting the ginger by accident. The end result was salty, a little powdery from all the sage, and definitely more of an evening sausage. I might serve it with pasta in a pinch (after halving the salt).

Batch #2 was more successful, but in a different way. Based on the results for Batch #1, I added some fennel seed, eliminated the poultry seasoning entirely, slashed the salt by 25%, and jacked up the liquid smoke to 3 drops. (P.S. When I say “jacked up the liquid smoke to 3 drops,” I actually mean “accidentally poured 3x the asked-for amount into the bowl.” Hey, if it worked for vulcanized rubber...)

Somehow, someway, this created a decent breakfast sausage. Despite being (still) a tad salty, it had a pleasantly smoky flavor with a nice kick of cayenne at the end. The meat held up well in crumble and link form, and The Boyfriend and our roommate C both gave it the thumbs up.

The recipe for Batch #2 is what’s listed below. Compared to two ounces of yer average turkey breakfast sausage, you save 40 calories and 6 grams of fat per serving. Price depends on how much you pay for the ground turkey, but I worked the cost of this out to $0.14/oz. Not too shabby.

Readers, have you ever tried this? Does anyone have their own recipe for turkey sausage? Maybe something more suitable for the evening? Let’s go MAD WITH MEAT POWER together.

P.S. I just discovered the Enhance function in iPhoto, so my pictures are now guaranteed to be 14% less hideous. I'm comin' for ya, Annie Liebowitz!

DIY Turkey Breakfast Sausage

Makes 4 2-oz links, patties, or crumble servings
Adapted from Free Cooking Recipes.

½ pound 93% fat free ground turkey
2-3 drops liquid smoke
½-¾ teaspoons salt
2/3 teaspoons ground sage
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 pinches fennel seed
1 teaspoon olive oil (a little more if making patties)

1) To a large bowl, add turkey, liquid smoke, salt, sage, sugar, black pepper, thyme, cayenne, and fennel. Combine gently using your hands. If making patties or links, shape the meat into loose-but-stable form.

2) Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add sausage to pan. Cook until no longer pink. Do not overcook.

Approximate Calories, Fat, and Price Per Serving
95 calories, 4.25 g fat, $0.27

½ pound 93% fat free ground turkey: 325 calories, 16.2 g fat, $0.75
2-3 drops liquid smoke: negligible calories and fat, $0.02
½-¾ teaspoons salt: negligible calories and fat, $0.01
2/3 teaspoons ground sage: 4 calories, 0.2 g fat, $0.16
1/2 teaspoon sugar: 8 calories, 0 g fat, $0.01
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper: negligible calories and fat, $0.01
¼ teaspoon dried thyme: 1 calorie, 0 g fat, $0.03
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper: negligible calories and fat, $0.01
2 pinches fennel seed: 1 calorie, 0.1 g fat, $0.04
1 teaspoon olive oil: 39 calories, 4.5 g fat, $0.04
TOTAL: 378 calories, 21 g fat, $1.08
PER SERVING (TOTAL/4): 95 calories, 4.25 g fat, $0.27


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