Chicken sausages. If you’re like me, you might think those two words together are a little weird. Pork? Definitely. Lamb? Of course. Beef? Sure. Chicken? What? Well the change starts here. Thanks to this super recipe, from this point forward the chook snag is no longer going to be a poor relative to the red meat version.
Like with all great homemade sausages, the secret is getting the seasonings right and, of course, using the right cuts. While chicken has a mild flavour, chicken sausages needn’t be bland. In fact, that very mildness makes chicken (or turkey if you’d prefer) ideal for mixing herbs, spices, and other ingredients to create a gourmet bundle of flavour. These sausages sing with the winning combination of familiar and loved Italian ingredients – fresh, sweet basil and sun-dried tomato tied together in a garlic and white wine marinade.
Don’t you just love being able to choose your cuts and leave out the additives and fillers that commercially-available processed sausages are notorious for? Sausage making is really an opportunity to have fun and be creative.
With poultry always use the darker meat or a combination of the dark and white meat to ensure a succulent sausage. Breast meat alone will be far too dry and bland. Grind a good portion of the skin along with the meat to improve the texture and increase the flavour. I chose the Maryland cut (leg and thigh) which has darker meat and lots of skin. My butcher removes the bone and leaves the skin on and I keep the bones to make chicken broth at home.
Unless you are entertaining, this recipe makes enough chicken sausages for an average family to ensure some end up in the freezer for another time. You can certainly double the ingredients though if you would like to stretch them even further. They really will leave you looking forward to more.
2 kg boneless chicken thigh meat with the skin
¼ cup fresh basil leaves tightly packed
4 - 5 cloves of garlic, crushed
3 spring onions
100 grams sun-dried tomatoes in oil (or semi dried)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of salt
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup dry white wine
5 metres of casing
1. Chop the chicken and skin into 5 cm chunks.
2. Place the chicken into the freezer for approximately 30 minutes to snap as cold as possible.
3. Set up the meat grinder on the bench then secure the 8mm cutting plate into the grinder head.
4. Soak the casing in cold water and set aside.
5. Finely chop the spring onions, sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil leaves then toss together in a bowl.
6. Add the crushed garlic, salt, pepper, red wine vinegar and wine, stir to incorporate then place in the fridge until the chicken is ground.
7. Remove the chicken pieces from the freezer and turn out onto the plate.
8. Turn the grinder on then use the food pusher to drive the meat through the grinder into a bowl.
9. Place the bowl of ground chicken meat into the freezer while you prepare for the next stage.
10. Fit the 4mm cutting plate into the grinder head.
11. Take the ground chicken out of the freezer and the seasoning mixture from the fridge and mix together with your hands.
12. Turn the power on the meat grinder and feed the chicken mixture through the grinder a second time.
13. Place the bowl of ground chicken back into the freezer while you remove the grinding plate and attach the sausage making nozzle to the meat grinder.
14. Rinse the casing under running water then carefully thread it on to the sausage making nozzle. Do not tie a knot into the end of the casing just yet.
15. Take the ground chicken out of the freezer once again and turn it into the tray for the last time.
16. Turn the power on and then push the meat through just enough until the mixture reaches the end of the sausage nozzle. Turn the power off.
Pull a small section of the casing off the nozzle and carefully tie a knot in the end.
17. Place a plate under the sausage making nozzle.
18. Turn the power back on. Push the sausage mixture through the grinder with one hand and use the other to support and gently pull the casing from the nozzle as the mixture comes out. When all the ground meat has been used, leave a few centimetres of casing at the end of the last sausage. Do not tie off the end at this stage.
19. Carefully pinch and twist your length of sausage at even intervals. Twist each link in alternating directions until you reach the end.
20. Tie off the end of the casing and trim off any excess.
21. Cover the sausages and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight before cooking. The sausages will keep in the fridge for another day or in the freezer for 3 months.
22. Cook the chicken sausages as desired.