Herbed Turkey & Pork Sausage with Wine

With my homemade sauerkraut being such a rousing success, naturally I would feel the need to make sausages to support the kraut in a bun. Add in some seasonal bargains and a sausage is born.

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching and with it come turkey bargains galore.  I was able to secure one turkey at a bargain price and the other for free.  I don't really need thirty-five pounds of turkey to eat in its purest form so I decided my sausages would be of the turkey genre.  After cutting the meant from the twenty-pound bird I used the carcass to make and can six quarts of soup in order to get the most "bang for my buck" so to speak.  I ended up making three kinds of sausage (one--or three--of my "creative explosions").  I created the recipe featured in this post "Herbed Turkey & Pork Sausage with Wine" along with a "Turkey & Sundried Tomato Sausage" and a mild pork sausage.  Pork roasts were buy one get one free so I just had to work those in as well.

In making sausage you need to consider the fat content of the end product.  When working with lean meat you will want to add supplementary fat to the mix.  Fifteen to twenty percent fat will produce a moist sausage without excess greasiness. For turkey, you can add fat by using some or all of the skin.  Another option for adding fat is to use pork trimmings.  I did not use all of the fat and skin on my turkey because there was a lot more than I wanted.  I left the skin on the breast and thigh meat but did not use any of the globs of fat and skin that get tucked under the end of the bird.  From the twenty-pound bird I got roughly fifteen pounds of ground meat.  To this, I added two pounds of ground pork trimmings for flavor.  Pork trimmings can be purchased from your local butcher and include both fat and bits of meat.

Cleanliness and safe food handling are imperative when working with ground meat.  Make sure all meat products are kept cold and all work surfaces and utensils are spotless.

To start your sausage, first cut the cold meat and fat into chunks.  Then feed the chunks into your meat grinder.  I use the meat grinder attachment, like the one shown at left, on my kitchenaid stand mixer.  The ground meat extrudes out the end and falls onto a full-size sheet pan I've placed on the work surface.  When all the meat is ground make sure it is mixed well so the pork trimmings are evenly distributed throughout the turkey.  Divide the ground mixture into two equal piles roughly 7.5 pounds each. Refrigerate one portion and add three pounds of ground pork to the other portion then refrigerate this as well.  The turkey and pork combination will be used for this recipe.

Meat Summary:
Grind together the meat from a 20# turkey and 2# of pork trimmings and divide equally.  Grind 3# of lean pork and add to one of the mounds of turkey.  Set the other mound aside for a different sausage.  Refrigerate all of the ground meat while you create the seasoning mixture(s).

RB Herbed Turkey & Pork Sausage w/Wine

7.5# Ground turkey*
3# ground pork roast
2 med apples (grind with or grind and add to the pork)

3T Kosher salt
2T Sugar
1T White pepper
2T Loose/heaping, dry sage leaves (crumble)
1 t. Onion powder
1 t. Garlic powder
1T Lemon Thyme
1 t. Tarragon
2T Maille Dijon mustard
4 oz. Homemade Spinach pesto
1c. Pinot Grigio
Juice of 1 lemon

*20# turkey (use some skin) + 2# pork trimmings = 15# ground meat/fat
This recipe is for 7.5# (half) of the above total plus an additional 3# of lean ground pork.

Combine the dry herbs and spices listed above.  Sprinkle over the ground meat and mix well. Next incorporate the wet ingredients.  When thoroughly combined, feed the mixture into the sausage stuffer or shape into patties.

You will also need sausage casings and a sausage stuffer.  I prefer natural hog casings to give my sausage the customary "snap".  These may be available from your local butcher but if you cannot buy casings locally there are many internet companies that sell them.  You can even find them at many hunting and outdoor stores like Cabela's, Bass Pro and Gander Mountain. Look in the hunting department. As for a sausage stuffer, you can buy a stand-alone model or, if using a Kitchenaid, you can buy a stuffer attachment, like the one shown at left, that works with the meat grinder assembly.
For casings packed in salt, soak the casings in warm water for one hour to soften.  Once soft, they will separate easily.  Rinse well, both inside and out.  Feed the casing onto the stuffer tube.  Turn on the mixer (stuffer machine) and let it run until the meat reaches the end of the tube.  Tie a knot in the end of the casing.  With the speed set on 4, let the mixer run to extrude the meat into the casing.  You may need to push the meat into the tube with the wooden plunger.  Pinch the casing when the sausage reaches the desired link length to facilitate twisting later.  Once you have filled an entire length of casing remove it from the stuffer allowing a bit at the end to tie off.  Twist the links alternating direction with each link.  Refrigerate so that the meat firms up in the casing.  Snip the links apart and freeze or pressure-can the sausage.

With the remaining 7.5# of ground turkey I created a "Turkey & Sundried Tomato Sausage" that is divine!
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