We don't eat pork, and I'm from Tennessee. In Tennessee, sausage is defined as pork with good stuff mixed in and fried up. Don't try getting a Tennessean (except me and a few exceptions) to eat fancy sausage made from something else...you'll usually get a blank incomprehensible stare. Nothing personal. :)
I haven't yet gotten the spice combination down where I can duplicate a good Tennessee breakfast sausage with some other kind of meat, but I'm working on it.
At the moment, I have a decent stand-in I make for Jack using ground turkey meat. We keep it easy, so forget any casings...this is a mix-it-up by hand sort of thing that gets pattied and keeps a few days uncooked in the fridge, and freezes well in patty form for quick pan-cooking later down the road, if desired.
It's not perfected, but it's quite good. And when I say it's good, Jack requests it often, scarfs it, makes loud man-noises in the process, and asks for seconds. It is responsible for his delaying his early morning urge to stop at a drive-through on his way home from the night shift long enough to walk in the door and smell good things on the stovetop...and that has saved us considerable money...and is so much healthier.
I'd love to know if any of you have a wonderful standby spice combination for breakfast sausage.
Here's the one we're using now...amounts of each spice/ingredient are not listed since I am still varying it a lot. I'd also like to find a substitute for the saltines:
Ground turkey meat
Olive oil or your choice light-flavored oil (enough to give a nice feel to the overall mix...it's needed because the turkey is almost no-fat)
eggs (number depends on quantity of meat), beaten lightly
Saltines, mashed to crumbs
Small amount sea salt
Garlic powder (plenty)
Minced sweet onion
Shots of hot sauce
Fennel Seed (go easy)
Vary spice and ingredient amounts per your preference. I usually use 2 lbs ground turkey and 1 to 1 1/2 sleeves crushed saltines, 2 or 3 eggs, and 1/4 c olive oil. As far as being heavy handed with the spices, when in doubt, leave it out and add it after testing a small bit later in the process. Mix well by hand in large bowl. Test a small piece in skillet...cook and taste and adjust spices accordingly. Go easy on the hot things if you're not sure...they intensify after mixing. When spices are how you like them, press remaining uncooked portion into oiled loaf pan and store covered with foil or greased paper/wax paper in fridge, airtight, overnight for spices to mingle well. Patty as needed to cook in hot oiled skillet for breakfasts, or freeze patties for later cooking.
Here are some other spice combinations I have yet to try...I found these different lists on the internet:
1. Rosemary, sage, salt, marjoram, basil, garlic, cayenne
2. Sage and Savoury
3. Onion, basil, parsley, garlic, salt, thyme, ginger, red pepper, black pepper
4. Salt, Pepper, brown sugar, ginger, sage
5. Nutmeg, thyme, salt, sage, cayenne
6. (for English "bangers") Lemon zest, black pepper, cayenne, nutmeg, mace, thyme, marjoram, sage
What's your favorite combination? Help, we love sausage, and now I know it's so easy to mix up, I want to try more :) Honestly, it's as easy as making meatloaf, which I also used to think would be hard to make, until I did and it turned out great and is now an old standby. We're not eating as much meat as usual, but it's still on the table. Homecooked's the best, hands down!