Sausage has long been a favorite way to prepare animal protein. Available in many cultures, sausage mixes herbs, spices, meat, and fat to make a flavorful ingredient that can make all of your recipes sing.
Flavorful Sausage Varieties
There are three main types of sausage used in cooking.
- In America, sausage recipes are often associated with breakfast and is served in patties or little links. These can be smoked or uncured links. The primary flavoring in breakfast style sausage is sage and other savory herbs.
- Italian sausage recipes come in mild or hot and are usually spicy, with the hot variety having much more pepper and other hot spices to give it the characteristic burn.
- Smoked-cured sausage is very salty with a smoky flavor imparted by the curing method. It is often eaten out of hand or as cold cuts in sandwiches or salads. Russian zakuska, or appetizer plates, prominently feature sausage and other smoked treats, such as smoked trout.
Sausage recipes should usually be considered a high-fat food, so people watching their consumption of fats would do well to limit sausage in their diet to an occasional treat.
Italian Sausage Hamburger
This tasty recipe is a twist on typical burgers.
Yield: 4 servings
- 4 sourdough buns, sliced lengthwise
- 1/2 pound ground beef
- 1/2 pound bulk Italian sausage
- 1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- 2 cloves of garlic, put through a garlic press or finely minced
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning
- 1/4 cup commercially prepared pesto
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- Toast buns and set aside.
- Mix ground beef, sausage, bread crumbs, cheese, garlic, and Italian herbs thoroughly.
- Shape sausage mixture into appropriate sized patties and sauté or grill until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.
- Mix mayonnaise and pesto. Spread on prepared buns.
- Top with hamburger/sausage patties.
Sausage recipes are thought to be the oldest prepared food, dating back to the Sumerians over five thousand years ago. Sausage is a frugal food and uses all the leftover bits of meat from the animal, like the entrails, that might be unappetizing served on their own. Bits of meat and fat were finely chopped or ground, seasoned with herbs and spices both to flavor and preserve the meat, and tightly packed in animal intestines.
Sausage that is appropriately made stays edible for long periods of time without being refrigerated. So, in pre-refrigerator days, it was a natural and non-wasteful way to use up all the nutritious parts of a slaughtered animal.
Today, sausage is usually not encased in intestine, but in a manufactured casing. Some sausage casings are edible but most are not, and the sausage must first be peeled before eating.
The term sausage also can refer to meat ground up and seasoned with herbs and spices that give it the sausage flavor, but the meat itself is sold loose. Purchased in this manner, the sausage can be used for forming into sausage patties or as a ground meat in casseroles, on a pizza, or in a white gravy for biscuits 'n' gravy.
A Great Addition
With its relative affordability and complex flavors, sausage is a great addition to every meal.