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I read fellow blogger, Deborah Hayes, blog for Friday. In it she mentioned, among other things, her on-going quest to find a compliant breakfast sausage for her family. I have found myself in the same position in the past. I’m guessing that if she and I have the same problem that there are probably others out there as well. So, that’s my topic.
I finally got so frustrated trying to find the sausages that I just gave up. Now, I make the elusive meat product myself (I was already making just about everything else myself, why not these as well?). You don’t have to be a charcutier to have it turn out right as long as you know the basic ratios to start with. For every 1 lb. of ground compliant meat that you use, add 1 Tab. dried seasoning(s) of your choice. Next, add any additional flavorings like cheese or chopped olives or chopped spinach or both. You can make as many different variations as you can think of. If you have no idea how to get the flavor you are aiming for, try reading the ingredients lists on whatever sausage you used previously. That will usually give you at least a place to start. If you make extra and do not cook it, store it in your freezer - not your refridgerator. Unlike traditional sausage, you will need to add a bit of a neutral flavor compliant oil to your pan when you cook your creation(s). I usually use either extra-virgin olive oil or canola.
The one that I find myself making the most often is one my family calls turkey “sausage”. I use one pound (½ kilo) of ground dark turkey with 1 Tablespoon (15 ml) of Italian herbs, and a few chopped garlic cloves. I make this one so often because I can also use it as meat in lasagna or add an egg and some spelt breadcrumbs (break up a slice of bread and run it a bit in a food processor) to make meatballs to go with pasta.
Anyway, use your hands (yes, your hands, this is important - I’m not joking) to really mix up the meat, herbs/spices, and any additional items - pretend you are making meatloaf. Shape the meat mixture into patties and fry or bake them in cupcake/muffin pans at about 350*F for 20-30 minutes.
If you cook them in the “Texas” style (extra-large sized cups) pans, you have INSTANT portion control (since they are larger, they will need to cook a bit longer).
Don’t limit yourself to the traditional sausage type meats. For example, if you puree a pound of cod fillets in a food processor with some celery, green onion, a bit of chili powder, and an egg (you won’t taste the egg, it acts as a binder) then you have cod cakes or cod cake flavored “muffins”. Add a side of mayonnaise flavored with a little lemon zest instead of tartar sauce since it’s not a good idea for us AB’s to have pickles. Another option would be a compliant cocktail sauce: tomato paste thinned with water to whatever thickness you would like, some lemon zest, a bit of horseradish, and some sea salt (if you like it sweet, add a little sugar).
No matter which type of protein you chose to use, if you bake a bunch of ‘em and freeze ‘em, you not only have instant portion control - you also have a fast breakfast idea. Just be sure to remember to thaw them the night before...otherwise you’ll be waiting around forever for ‘em to resemble something other than hockey pucks.
Here’s something else that I’ve thought of as I typed this blog that you might like to try:
Remember that nice smoked flavor you used to get with your grill? How can you get that without the carcinogenic smoke? How can you get it year round regardless of the weather? You might like to try a method called plank cooking. If you’ve never heard of it before, it’s using a piece of wood that makes food taste good (like alder, western red cedar, or hickory) instead of a roasting pan or baking sheet to cook your food(s) on in your oven. Planks can be purchased online from specialty places or in some shops if you look around. They’re cheaper than your gas grill was, you don’t have to keep buying replacement grill bricks and propane (or, if you went traditional, the briquettes and lighter fluid). They are also much easier to clean. Unlike firewood or briquettes, they are reusable, and when used to cook vegetables or fish “steaks”, they don’t have the problem of the food falling in-between the spaces of a grill grid.