Formula (Number) One Breakfast Sausages
The Quest for a Perfect Low Sodium Sausage Recipe Continues
Jane Fyffe's "Secret" Formulas for Different Sorts of Sausages
As some of you know, I've been engaged in a crash course in low sodium cookery over the past few months, ever since my father-in-law came down with congestive heart failure and agreed to move in with us. I've been trying to come up with low sodium versions of his old favorites. Something he misses badly is sausage - the stuff that's available in the grocery store is packed with sodium, so I've been trying desperately to come up with a low sodium alternative that won't send him back to the cardiac ward. While my father-in-law enjoyed the results of my first attempt ( foodtribe.com/p/low-sodium-breakfast-sausage-Iqg3s4kDSZeqo2DJPXm1qg ), he did not think it tasted much like sausage, so I wanted to somehow improve the recipe to achieve a more sausagey sausage taste. I'm kind of handicapped in meat cookery because I'm a vegetarian, so I reached out to Jane Fyffe, who kindly agreed to assist me in my quest. I hadn't planned to post this "recipe," because I wasn't sure if this was her secret formula or something, but she encouraged me to post away... so here it is. Thank you, Jane!
Jane sent me a picture of notes she'd made for various sausage seasonings, and suggested a formula for breakfast sausage that she'd "...put together many moons ago," which included four teaspoons brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon crushed pepper, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon sage and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg for each pound of meat. She strongly suggested that I visit a butcher to obtain some unseasoned sausage meat or ground pork. Next time I go grocery shopping, I'll inquire at the meat counter to see if they can help, but for this attempt I had to use ground turkey because it was all I had on hand.
So this time around, I combined a pound of ground turkey, 2 teaspoon brown sugar, 2 teaspoon maple sugar, 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon sage, 1 teaspoon thyme, 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1 teaspoon fennel seeds. I formed them into patties and baked them for 20 minutes at 350°F, flipping them halfway through. I have to admit that they smelled pretty darn good as they cooked!
So how did they turn out? My father-in-law liked them! Unfortunately, he admitted that he no longer remembers how real sausage tastes, but said that I should stick with this formula because it's good. When I told him that I planned to buy some ground pork the next time I'm at this grocery, he said not to bother because the turkey was just fine. So for him, the formula is a winner, but I didn't know if it would appeal to others... I needed a carnivorous guinea pig, so I shanghaied my son.
Then I ran into a problem. Even though my father-in-law loved them, my son tried it and gave me an honest review: He told me the sausage patties were "kind of bland" and didn't really taste like sausage at all. And then came the knockout blow : "This is one of those low sodium things, isn't it?" While I appreciated the honesty, I didn't know what to do about it. Jane suggested that I just tell you folks what happened and let you all take it from there.
I'm pretty sure, based on the ingredients, that it would be probably be more sausage-like if one uses ground pork and properly salted the mix. Jane pointed out that the formula is "...just a starting guide line anyways." It can and should be tweaked to please individual tastes. Jane says that people like my son, who aren't on a low sodium diet, could add salt to bring out the other flavors.
Jane explained that when she's trying to season something like this, she "...would fry up a sampling and try it and adjust and fry up another sampling," until she finds the right combination of flavors, but since I don't eat meat, I need to rely on other people's taste buds. In this case, the person it's intended for likes it just fine the way it is, so I guess my job is done. But please don't hesitate to play with your food - it's the only way to make it your own!