Wiener piglets

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Another guest post by Sander.

(btw, Sander’s opinion on ketchup is not mine!!!)

Wieners – or hot dogs, as they are known in the United States – are nice-tasting fully cooked sausages. You can do about ten thousand foods with them – use as a meat in salads, boil, fry with eggs, make sandwiches… sky is the limit!

But since childhood, my favorite way of making wieners is wiener piglets – incredibly easy to make, great-tasting and great-looking food. I think half of my relatives come to the parties held at my parents just to get cheese’n’mayo sandwiches and wiener piglets…

Wiener piglets are especially popular with kids – they look good (click on the picture to see larger version), have a funny name and taste great. And – kids can actually help to make them.

But how?

You take the sausage, cut a small cross in the end – about an inch deep – and put to hot oven (around 200..250 degrees Celsius). Depending on the type of sausages, they will take 10 to 20 minutes until ready – when the puffy ends start to get brown, they are done.

And that is it, all ready to eat. You can have them separately or as a side dish for salad/rice/potatoes. If you have crappy sausages or dead taste buds, you can use ketchup or mayo on them.

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Sausage, Mushroom & Sage Dressing

Thanksgiving dinner with Turkey just isn’t quite complete without “stuffing”, or dressing.  This recipe is one I kind of made up really quick when I was told I was making the dressing about an hour before Thanksgiving dinner was to start.  I thought about what my mother had done, and then the flavors of dressings that I have always liked.  Sausage stuffing has always been something I just loved, and it was always liked by everyone, so, I went to the refrigerator, grabbed what I had, and started in. 

I have my notes from the day here beside me now – the only thing that is “exact” measurement was the sausage – everything else was an estimate.  I later made this recipe again, being much more careful about measurements, and the note taking. 

One thing I will say about this recipe —  it goes fast, and I do mean that.  Super fast.  Make extra if you want leftovers.  This recipe should serve 6-8 easily.

 

Sage

Sausage, Mushroom & Sage Dressing

1/2 pound Italian sausage
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/2 pound mushrooms – sliced
3/4 cup celery, chopped
1 medium onion – chopped
salt and pepper to taste
6-7 cups dry bread, cubed
1/2 teaspoon dried sage or 1 teaspoon fresh sage, minced fine
2 1/2 –3 cups chicken stock
drippings from the turkey

In a frying pan, brown the sausage, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks.  Once the sausage has cooked, remove the sausage and set aside. Drain away the grease from the frying pan, leaving a bit left in the pan.  Add the butter, and melt it.  Add in the onion, celery and mushrooms and cook 3-5 minutes, or until the onion is clear. Add in the sage, and then salt and pepper.  Add the sausage back in, add the cubed bread, and enough of the stock to moisten the bread. 

Place in a greased baking dish.  2 quart casserole dish is best, but a 9×13 cake pan will work fine, too. Cover and bake at 350F for about 30 minutes.  Add in a few teaspoons of drippings from the turkey once or twice, just to give that extra depth of flavor.  Uncover and bake about 10 more minutes.

Notes:

  • If the Italian sausage you get is in casings, just remove it and break it up as much as possible.  Well.. cut it into tiny pieces, as it is impossible to actually “break” up.
  • Mix up the sausage – use sage sausage, or your favorite sausage
  • I don’t really like poultry seasoning, which is why you see drippings from the turkey added into this recipe, but if you do, add in about 1 teaspoon when you mix in the sausage to the onion-mushroom-celery mixture.
  • Try other additions:  raisins, currents, any kind of good fresh mushrooms, water chestnuts
  • One final note – you can easily double the amount of sausage in this recipe, and it’ll be just as fantastic (if not better – but then again, you all know I love sausage!! :D )

Sausage and Rice Stuffed Peppers

pepper_yellow_redThis dish is a quick and easy one to put together, and excellent for lunch the next day. You can use any kind of sausage you like (though I’d not use a American ‘breakfast sausage’ type.

This recipe comes from my son’s Great Aunt Josie — she taught me quite a few traditional Italian-American recipes over the years I knew her, and this is one of my all time favorite of the dishes she prepared.

Aunt Josie made these for family get together’s’ in the autumn and winter. She would make 15-20 of them, and keep them warm over a sterno, along with other dishes such as ‘sausage and peppers’, ‘baked ziti’, ‘meatballs’, and the ever present lasagna.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I always have.

Sausage & Rice Stuffed Peppers

6 large peppers
1 pound Italian sausage (sweet or hot style)
1 large onion, chopped fine
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds mushrooms, chopped
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
3 cups cooked rice
1/2 to 3/4 cup of tomato sauce
3/4 cup of parmesan or Romano cheese

Wash the peppers, and then slice the tops off. Remove the seeds, and cut away the white veins inside the peppers.

If you are using cased sausages, remove the casings. Chop the sausage and brown in a skillet. Break up the bits of sausage as best as possible with a spatula, so you have small pieces.

Once the sausage is cooked, remove it from the skillet. Add the garlic and onions into the skillet and saute 3-4 minutes. Add in the 3 cups of cooked rice, and saute with the onion/garlic for a couple of minutes. Add the sausage back into the skillet and mix. Add 1/2 cup of tomato sauce and 1/2 cup of the cheese.

Spoon the sausage mixture into the peppers, filling them completely. Put the peppers into a baking dish that has been lightly greased. Spoon the remaining tomato sauce over the peppers. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake in a 425F oven, for about 45 minutes.

Note:

  • I use red, yellow or green peppers. I prefer the red peppers, as they are sweeter and, quite frankly, Yuma.
  • I like these made with ‘hot’ Italian sausage.
  • You can mix in the tomato sauce, instead of placing it on top.
  • Mix in the cheese, instead of placing it on top.
  • I’ve seen these made with the peppers cut in half, as well, which might be a nice idea if using the peppers as a side dish, instead of the main dish.

Italian Sausage and Orzo Soup

I was in the mood for something /other/ than turkey tonight.  I’ve cooked a couple of turkeys over the past few weeks, and well, I’m just a bit tired of it ;)

This recipe serves 6 easily, so I halved it for tonight’s dinner.  I also didn’t have any fresh parsley nor basil, so I used the dried I had in the cupboard.  I used 1/4 teaspoon of each.  I should have used 1 teaspoon of basil.  Add it in about 10-15 minutes before you are ready to serve, so the herbs have time to re-hydrate, and flavor the soup.

Enjoy!image

 

 

For those that are not familiar with orzo, it is a regular semolina pasta, shaped like rice, but not made from rice.

 

Sausage and Orzo Soup

1 pound of Italian sausage
2 carrots, shredded or grated
1 onion, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1 stalk of celery, chopped
1 can of tomatoes, chopped (with the juice)(a 28 oz can)
6 cups of chicken stock (if not making your own, use low-sodium)
1/2 cup orzo pasta
1/4 cup parsley (Italian, if possible), chopped
1/4 cup basil, cut in chiffonade
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt & pepper to taste

In your soup pot, cook the sausage until browned and then remove, cutting into 1/2 to 1 inch pieces.

Add the carrots, onion, garlic and celery and sauté.  There is usually enough oil left in the pan from the sausage, but if not, add a tablespoon.  Once the vegetables are sauteed, add the tomatoes and chicken stock, and simmer on medium for 15-20 minutes.

Return the sausage to the pot and continue to simmer.

Meanwhile, cook the orzo until it’s al-dente.

Add the parsley, salt & pepper, and red pepper flakes. 

Serve soup over the orzo, and garnish with the fresh basil.

You can also cook the orzo in the soup, if you like.  There is enough liquid to allow for the cooking.  After you put the sausage back into the pot, add the orzo and cook about 20 minutes on a low boil, until the orzo is done. 

Notes:

If you cook the pasta in a different pot, you’ll be able to freeze this soup easily.  Also, if you don’t add the pasta to the soup, it will not absorb all the broth of the soup.

If you don’t have orzo pasta, use your favorite rice.  This is really good with wild rice.

Sage Breakfast Sausage

Updated August-01-2008

To go along with the Hash Brown recipe I uploaded the other day, here are my favorite two breakfast sausage recipes. One is pretty much a standard breakfast sausage, one is by Bobby Flay. Both are really good.

Enjoy!

Sage Breakfast Sausage

1 pound pork, ground
2 teaspoons dried sage
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon cloves or allspice

Combine all ingredients, except pork. Once mixed together, add to the pork and mix together well. I use my hands and smush the sausage and spices up until well incorporated.

Separate the pork into even portions. This recipe is for six patties, but you can make as many as you like. I usually make 8 to 10 patties.

Once you’ve shaped the sausage into patties, refrigerate for about 1 hour. Saute the patties over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes on each side, or until the sausage has browned and is no longer pink inside.

Notes:

I like to double this recipe, and then freeze the patties. Make the patties as usual, and then layer with waxed paper. One patty, one piece of waxed paper, etc. Place in a ziplock or a tightly covered container, and freeze.

If you cannot get poultry seasoning, use this recipe to make some. Then measure out, and use as above:

Poultry Seasoning

2 tablespoons Parsley
2 tablespoons Sage
2 tablespoons Thyme
1 tablespoon Marjoram
1 tablespoon Rosemary
1 tablespoon Savory
1 tablespoon Black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg

Mix together, and store in an air-tight container for up to 6 months.

Variations:

  • Add 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram, 2 teaspoons brown sugar, and a pinch of red pepper flakes.
  • A variation that I like a lot is the one below, (the recipe is by Bobby Flay)

Sage-Mustard Breakfast Sausage

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons whole fennel seeds
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage leaves
1 pound ground pork
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a medium saute pan or griddle over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft. Add the garlic and fennel and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat, stir in the mustard and sage, and let cool for 5 minutes. Place the pork in a bowl, add the onion mixture, and gently toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Form the sausage mixture into 8 equal size patties. Cook on both sides until golden brown. Reduce the heat, cover, and continue cooking until just cooked through. Serve warm.

Update:

Cooks Illustrated recently posted a recipe for breakfast sausage that I thought I would share here:

Homemade Breakfast Sausage

Don’t make this recipe with lean or extra-lean ground pork: The resulting sausage will be dry, crumbly, and less flavorful.
2     pounds ground pork
1     tablespoon maple syrup
1     clove garlic , minced (optional)
1/2     tablespoon table salt
1/2     teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2     teaspoon dried sage
1/2     teaspoon dried thyme
1/4     teaspoon cayenne pepper
4     teaspoons vegetable oil

1. Spread the pork out in a large bowl and sprinkle with the maple syrup, garlic (if using), salt, pepper, sage, thyme, and cayenne. Using your hands, gently fold the flavorings evenly into the pork, then portion and shape into sixteen 2-ounce patties (about 1/4 cup each).

2. Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add half of the patties and cook until well browned on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate. Wipe out the skillet, add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil, return to medium heat until shimmering, and cook the remaining patties.

Hot Italian Sausage

2-1/2 pounds ground porkimage
3/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ground paprika
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon anise seed
1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Place the ground pork into a very large bowl. Season with salt, garlic salt, black pepper and paprika. In a blender or food processor, blend together the oil, anise seed, fennel seed and red pepper flakes. Mix everything into the ground pork until well blended – (And ?NO!! A spoon isn?t going to work!! You have hands and fingers – use them!!?).

Refrigerate for 24 hours to let flavors meld. Wrap and freeze for up to 2 months.

*Note – to make this ?sweet?, do not add the red pepper flakes.

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