I have wondered why Mild Italian Sausage also known as Sweet Italian Sausage. It is not as if sugar or some other sweetener has been added, but there is no mistaking the flavor of a Sweet Italian Sausage when you take that first bite. Now imagine that first bite when the sausage has been made in your own kitchen.
There is something amazing in how the the combination of salt, fresh cracked black pepper, fennel seed, minced garlic, dried oregano, ground allspice and red wine when combined transforms ground pork to entirely different dimension. I know that I am biased towards Italian-centric sausage recipes, but this same transformation can be said for any number of possible combinations of seasonings mixed with ground pork.
If I was to recommend two or three sausage recipes for the curious to try, whether or not the seasoned ground pork mixture was stuffed into a casing, I would suggest Sweet Italian, Hot Italian or American Country Breakfast. None of the spices, seasonings or flavorings are so exotic that you do not have an opinion on the suggested seasoning. Whereas Hot Italian can be too hot or spicy for some, the level of seasoning for Sweet Italian can be modified (lessened or increased) to adjust for an individual’s taste.
Ingredients for Sweet Italian Sausage (modified from Bruce Aidells’ Complete Sausage Book):
- 3 Pounds of Pork Loin
- 1 Pound of Pork Fat Trimmings
- 1/2 Cup of Red Wine (a little extra splashed is not a bad thing)
- 1 Tablespoon of Minced Garlic
- 2 Tablespoons of Fennel Seeds
- 1 Tablespoon of Fresh Ground Black Pepper (I prefer the pepper corns to be cracked large)
- 4 Teaspoons of Kosher Salt
- 1 Teaspoon of Dried Oregano
- 1/8 Teaspoon of Ground Allspice (If not in your spice rack, it is fine to leave out)
After you have Ground the Pork Loin and Pork Fat Trimmings and have Mixed and Chilled the Combined Ingredients you are not ready to Stuff the Casings. The sausage is now ready to eat, but it is recommended to Air Dry in the Refrigerator overnight / 24 hours to tighten the casing and enhance the flavor. Fresh sausage will keep in the refrigerator if wrapped for a few days and for a few months if properly packaged and frozen.
I can say with certainty, that once you have eaten your own hand crafted, home made Italian Sweet Sausage, sausage purchased in a grocery store or eaten at a restaurant will pale in comparison. It may not be “sweet”, but the combination of flavor, seasonings combined with the red wine will make the experience memorable.