The Sausage Chronicles


I had made two batches of chicken sausage prior to today.  They were both variations of the same recipe, but one had more crushed red pepper and thus, spicier.  I thought...If a batch was good, a quadruple batch would be even better!  After all, the machine was already out, already dirty, and there are always more hog casings than I ever need.

Boy, was I wrong!  I like to make this sausage as dietetic as possible, my wife Colleen likes that.  But to cut all of the fat off of 16 pounds of chicken was a great project.  Also, the recipe calls to cut the chicken into 1 inch cubes so as to better distribute the seasonings; this also added to the work.  I dulled three Forschner knives in the process.

I did learn a few things, however.  My largest pans and bowls would hold all of the meat and seasonings, but I had to use a trash bag to mix all of the cheese and spinach; it worked well.  I also noticed that this is a two person job and that additional time could have been saved if I prepared the seasoning the night before "The Grind".  I also came to the realization that warmer water relaxes the casings and that I really need to encase only 50% of a batch.  This saves a great amount of time.

I used some bulk sausage to stuff some peppers.  I cut them into boats; each using 1/3 of a pepper and about 1/2 cup of sausage mix.  375 for 35-40 minutes was fine.

Chicken Sausage
3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
8 ounces crumbled Feta cheese
4 cloves of minced garlic
1T oregano
2 tsp. basil
1 tsp. chopped lemon zest, about 1  small lemon
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
4 ounces fresh, chopped spinach

From the Waring Pro MG800 Manual


To gear up for the Patriots first preseason home game I decided to make some more chicken sausage.  Besides tailgating my wife and I have several other parties to attend so I figured why not make another big batch, but learn from the mistakes last time.  I used the same basic recipe but doubled the spinach, crushed red pepper, and got the casings from Peterson's Market because they have already been soaked.

Chicken Sausage II                         Approx. 25 lbs.
15 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
5 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
40 ounces crumbled Feta cheese
20 cloves of minced garlic
5T oregano
3T. basil
5 lemons zested
3T kosher salt
2T freshly ground black pepper
2T crushed red pepper
40 ounces fresh, chopped, baby spinach

I chopped all of the chicken, baby spinach, and garlic and mixed it with the remaining ingredients in a trash bag.  I let this mixture marinate overnight and then ground and stuffed it the next morning in two batches.  One was constantly in the fridge.

* Using baby spinach allowed me to delete the step of desteming all of that spinach.  This saved at least 20 minutes.
* An air conditioned house allows me to do this year-round. 
* Next time measure the chopped garlic and use the same amount from a jar to save another 20 minutes in the subsequent batch.