I’m often asked how I come up with interesting sausage flavors. I thought it would be fun to document my latest attempt to show what process I use. It’s deceivingly simple, nothing crazy or mysterious, just basic kitchen work.
This is really part one of a two part process, the second being the actual linking of the sausage. Because there is so much time involved between trial and error and actual linking, I’ll have to write about that at a later time.
So, how to come up with new flavors. First I start with a dish I really enjoy. It can be something with different Italian flavors, or meat with a delicious sauce. I think about whether it would translate into a good sausage, and then, would someone else be interested in eating those same flavors. Believe me, some of my favorite foods would not be best sellers. (Like hamburgers with blue-cheese!) Since I am currently on a Moroccan food kick, I thought of the delicious and hard to find Merguez sausage. Merguez is a very flavorful North African sausage typically made with lamb.
I researched several recipes, and then came up with a starting formula. The one I especially liked was from the Moroccan website.
In making a spice blend for this sausage, I wanted to toast the fennel, cumin and coriander to make them more fragrant. I thought this would add a lot of flavor.
Another ingredient I absolutely wanted to use was harissa. I already had homemade harissa from previous tagines I’ve made. If you want to make your own, there are several different recipes on various cooking sites. Here is a collection of the main ingredients.
After grinding the lamb, I mixed in all the ingredients and formed a couple of small patties. It’s so much work to stuff sausages, so I always taste my mixtures again and again until I’m absolutely sure I like it. These turned out pretty tasty.
Once I’ve decided on a recipe I like, I take it to the USDA plant and have a small sample made up. After getting a few more opinions, I submit a label application to the USDA in Washington DC. (I can’t sell anything without an approved application). Once product labels are made I can sell to the public!
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