This afternoon, the doorbell rang. When the Chef opened the door, he found the Fed Ex man waiting. All day, we had been hoping for a package. Here it was.

As the Chef signed for our beauty, the Fed Ex guy leaned his nose into the house. “Wow, it sure smells good in there.”
“Thanks,” the Chef said. I laughed as I sat at the computer, with Little Bean in the sling, falling asleep.
“Is that barbeque you have going?” he looked in, obviously yearning.
“No, it was breakfast.” (We would have given some if there had been anything left.)
“Breakfast? What did you have?” the guy asked, perplexed.
“There was chorizo involved,” the Chef told him.
“Oh. Wow.” He shook his head as he walked down the steps.

Oh, sausage. You make me sigh too. Plump and juicy, the best of pork condensed, you inspire me every time I smell you to run toward the kitchen. Sausage, I will never be over you.

The Chef and I have been tweaking and playing with our homemade sausage recipe for months. I love it — I have from the first batch. But that Chef, he’s persnickety. If it’s going in our book, he wants it right. Oh darn, that means more sausages. Tomorrow, we’re headed to Don and Joe’s for another bag of creamy white fatback and fennel seeds from World Spice. We’ll stuff casings and laugh about it in the evening after Little Bean goes to bed. (But even she has been in on the fun of finishing this recipe.)

Can I say, as an aside, how arduous and rewarding it is to write recipes? After years of writing them, on this site and other places, I feel as though I am just now hitting my stride. The best recipes are like stories, imagining the space before the stove and sharing it between us. Our hope is that you will feel we are standing in the kitchen beside you when you read our book. We’ll be off to the side, watching you, confident that you know how, but always there to grab something from the refrigerator if you need it. That’s the tough work in these last weeks before the deadline — making the recipes sound possible.

You can do it too. You can make sausages.

Whether squeezed into sheaths or slapped into ample patties, sausages make people happy. Flecked with oregano or twitching with chiles, every sausage has a personality. I’m not done exploring yet. I bet you’re not either.

So, if you eat sausages….what are your favorite kinds? And what foods do you cook with sausages?

63 comments on “sausages

  1. Tanaya

    I’ve never tried making my own sausages but am so excited about a recipe being in the next book.

    My favorite sausage ever is Uli’s Chicken Apple.

  2. amanda

    I love to steam Asian lup chong sausages and slice them up to put in fried rice. When they’re cooked, the flesh of them is firm and sort of glossy, like they’re oozing honey (though it’s probably just fat!).

  3. raiuchka

    My favorite is chipolatas wrapped in bacon, then fried. An English Christmas staple, and hard to beat. Not healthful, obviously. 🙂

    Or Toad-in-the-Hole: put long Lancashire sausages in a 9x13x2 pan; get them going in a very hot oven in some lard. Yes, you need the lard, because then you’re going to pull it out of the oven, immediately pour a batch of Yorkshire pudding batter into the sizzling lard, and the pudding puffs up around the sausages. Put it back into the oven until the pudding is golden brown.

  4. Anna

    I simply love sausages!

    In my family we use to have fried precooked pork sausages with carrots and mashed potatoes.
    Our German butcher does Silesian white sausage (German Weisswurst) only during Christmas time and they are great simply with gravy!
    Another sausage I love is patato sausage which is a Hessian speciality of the region where my grandpa comes from. Those are so good!

  5. rachel

    homemade pork fried rice but made with loose sausage. A soup made with chicken sausage, white or black beans and hearty greens. Or perhaps my favorite patties at breakfast dipped in maple syrup.

  6. Dana McCauley

    Too funny – at our test kitchen the delivery guys often end up leaving with care packages. Needless to say, our packages are handled with infinite care!

  7. Jennifer B

    Since my mother is of Portuguese extraction, we always ate chourico and linguica. Among my favorites are Portuguese kale soup and chourico & pepper sandwiches. The smell of hot chourico, green peppers, and onions is irresistible to me!

  8. cara harjes

    okay! i am so happy you posted this today! my husband and i have been making sausages on new years eve for three years – then we serve them to our friends the next day when they come over to watch football and love on each other one last time before everyone has to go back to work the next day. anyway, we finally got the seasonings down this year but they were still really really dry! i kept saying, “i think we need to actually add FAT but i have not seen it in any of the recipes!”
    so to read about fatback, is leading me in the right direction! i have NO idea what it is or where to find it or how much of it to put in, but at least you have confirmed that there is added fat in sausages. thanks! 🙂

  9. Anita (Married... with dinner)

    mm, sausage. one of my favorite foods. we like to have parties where we have multiple friends come over and bring a pork butt and their kitchenaid mixers; we all make different sausages and then trade them at the end. so much fun, and we end up with a freezer full of yum.

    Our favorites are chorizo (which we use in all kinds of things, including sloppy joes), kentucky-style breakfast sasusage (which is sometimes used in our meatloaf), and — our favorite — an italian-style spiral sausage that has provolone cheese in it. Needless to say that gets eaten all on its own, with a big salad and a glass of red wine. 😀

  10. wanderluck

    I’m not a fan of patties – probably from an overabundance of too-fatty, unappealingly greasy Jimmy Dean sausage throughout my childhood. Yuck.

    Now I have access to a lab that sells local meat, including handmade Italian sausage, bratwurst, firm smoky chorizo (my personal favorite) and the ubiquitous sausage patty chub. I’ve fallen in love with their Italian sausage and chorizo, especially.

    However, soon I’ll (well, DH will) be getting the KitchenAid appliance for sausage making. I can’t wait.


  11. Shannon

    I’ve never made sausage but perhaps I will in 2009!

    We love linguica – on pizza, in rice, it is delicious.

  12. One Food Guy

    Hi Shauna, happy new year! I like using hot italian turkey sausage in my chili. And I like smoked chicken apple sausages with breakfast.

    But of course, in my kitchen nothing beats a good old fashioned pork sausage patty on a bagel with an egg and some manchego cheese!

  13. Erin

    I love making my own sausages! I have made chicken apple and Lincolnshire style, so delicious!

    Next up andouille!

    I like Don and Joe’s and go there for some things, but my heart belongs to Mr. Fero across the way.

  14. Mama JJ

    Our neighbors just butchered the other day and they brought us some of their homemade sausage—I look forward to it every year.

    They also brought us some pan-hause (no idea if that’s how you spell it)—a mixture of polenta/pork odds and ends in block form—I think you fry it up and eat it like scrapple. I’m not too fond of it, so I’ll be passing it on to a friend.


  15. Crystal

    We're not picky….sausage, like bacon and certain cheeses, is practically religion in our house.

    We particularly love it on homemade pizza, for breakfast with maple syrup, and steamed (in the case of a lovely chicken italian) with red & yellow peppers & pasta.
    (I have a particular fondness for black pudding, as well, but that's almost impossible to come by where I live, and no doubt contains oats…so it remains a fond memory.)

    Never have tried making it though, and fascinated by the prospect.

  16. Anonymous

    We have some Italian sausages in the house – and are thinking of using the braised sausage and plums in red wine recipe from Molly Stevens’ book, All About Braising. We did not make the sausages, but the plums are from the fall harvest in our backyard (and frozen.) And the wine is from the neighbors – grown and bottled in Seattle!

  17. Kharina

    There is a lovely spicy one called the Cajun Scorcher here in the Sausage Shop in Bath. It’s just so darn gorgeous in the way that every bite is like an explosion. Eat that with a good mash and you can’t go wrong. There is also the earlier mentioned lap cheung, steam it with rice and the rice gets that beautiful sweetness. In Sweden there is ‘Jukkorv’ Christmas sausage – it is also a normal pork sausage, but it has been spiced with cloves, nutmeg and other x’massy flavours.

  18. Stephanie

    So what are the chances you’ll try to make g-f vegetarian sausages after this?!

    I love the Trader Joe’s soy chorizo, but haven’t found any other safe vegetarian sausage.

  19. Rachel

    So, what was in the package you had been waiting for?! Am I the only one nosey enough to ask?! 😉

  20. Janet

    We like chicken, turkey, elk or venison-based sausages as we don’t eat pork.

    I recall a lovely turkey sausage with peaches. I can’t recall what else was in it but it was yummy.

  21. Andreal

    I LOVE sausage corn chowder on a cold night.

    p.s. this is the first time I’ve commented after almost 2 years of reading your blog.
    Thank you for sharing beauty.

  22. Shawna

    Shauna, I can’t wait until your book comes out! So exciting.

    I would love to make sausages, but since I haven’t ventured much into sausage making (yet) I just buy them for now.

    I must confess that I love sweet breakfast sausages… turkey or pork (pork is a new addition to my diet) with maple, honey, sage, and all of those other wonderful ingredients that bring together salty, sweet, and savory flavors. Mmmmm.

  23. Carole

    Sausages with brussels sprouts! I steam the brussels sprouts for about 5 minutes, then finish them by adding them to a hot pan of sliced chicken sausage (the spicier, the better).
    When the ‘sprouts are just a little browned, I scoop everything out and serve it up over lentil-sized Israeli couscous from Trader Joe’s. The sausage and ‘sprouts are good by themselves too.

  24. Jennifer Rafferty

    I used to make homemade sausages with my partner. Somehow, we got out of the practice since we don’t do barbeques too often anymore. It was a very “primitive” method of stuffing the casings by cutting a plastic sprite bottle, and using the funneled end to stuff the casing with a spoon. It worked though! We would stuff them the Colombian way, with pork pieces, a citrus mix, garlic, and cilantro. The pork was not ground. Will have to see if he will write down the recipe for us…
    Why can’t I see the picture of your sausages! 🙁

  25. Allison the Meep

    I love love love sausage, but have a very difficult time getting over the gross poop chute casing. Blehhh.

    I don’t live anywhere near a Trader Joe’s anymore, but when I did, I really liked their chicken sausages without casing. And they say GF right on the label. Woot!

  26. Anne @ Pink Galoshes

    Oh, this is exciting. I would love to try to make my own. My favs would have to be any kind of chicken apple variety!

  27. La Niña

    I am smitten with Uli’s lamb sausage. Booth grills it, and I make a casoulet with smoked beans (the last batch was made with the Scarlet Runner Beans we grew), black kale, leeks, oyster mushrooms, bacon… and the lamb sausage goes in… perhaps a jigger of sherry, too- and then it gets topped with grated Romano cheese and Flax Seed Meal, then it is finished in the oven.

    Just bought my first piece of Le Creuset- the 5 quart oval oven roaster… (on sale for HALF PRICE at Williams and Sonoma) specifically for more casoulets!

  28. GFE--gluten free easily

    Getting to see a picture of the Little Bean is better than the sausage (my apologies to you and the Chef and your hard work on the recipes, of course). She’s just adorable. Love early book lovers. Yes, mom and dad’s efforts are the secret to that habit. In no time, you’ll be going to the library and bringing home 20 or 30 at a time. 😉

    About the only thing I do with sausage other than breakfast sausage is jambalaya and that’s enough. It’s so good. I need to make some of that soon. (Works great as a crock pot meal, adding the shrimp at the end.)

  29. karla

    All I can tell you, my virtual friend Shauna, is that if I start making sausages, my husband will think he’s died and gone to heaven. Really? Regular folk like me can make sausage???? I’m intrigued.

  30. jbeach

    Wonderful post. I am so very excited about your book! And hoping hoping that I get to work on your cookbook when it’s transferred to production!!

    I love sausage and it’s often exploding taste…my all-time favorite is Hoffman’s sausage, a local hometown wonder.

    My bf is a vegetarian and we recently tried these Field Roast Grain Co. vegan sausages. Surprise, they’re actually delicious and I love their ingredients! Have you tried these?

  31. Diana Lee

    One of our favorite way to eat great sausages this time of year is to chop them up and throw them into a yummy chili. So, so good.

  32. Lovie

    “Twitching with chiles”? That is why I read your blog! I don’t have an allergy to gluten and don’t know anyone who does, but I read you religously. With your imagery, you you make the mundane precious, the humble, royal, the plain and simple, elegant and special. I can’t wait for the cookbook! I salivating as I write.

  33. k

    Oh, sausages. Yum. I would love to try and make my own.

    I love sausages in lots of things – they go with so much, potatoes, perogies, on pizza. I especially enjoy pulling them out of their casings and making quick meatballs (trick from Jamie Oliver) to go with pasta.

  34. JulieVR

    I just got an attachment for my KitchenAid and am dying to make my own! thanks – can’t wait!

    My favourite ways to eat them… lentil and sausage soup. Sausage and black bean soup (both can stretch one sausage into a family meal). Braised lentils with (lamb) sausages nestled in. Thrown on the grill. Pan fried with gravy and mashed potatoes. Toad in the hole. Or just squeezed out of their casings into a hot pan, making instant sausage meatballs to simmer in tomato sauce and eat over pasta. I do love sausages! Thanks for the reminder.

  35. Gemma

    I used to live near an incredible butcher that did some of the best sausages I have ever eaten, if you ever find yourself in Edinburgh it’s Crombie’s. Now in London I had been struggling but at Christmas bought pork chipolatas and smoked streaky bacon from the butcher’s van at the local farmer’s market and they were amazing. For sausages in bacon/kilted sausages (such a lovely name) just wrap each chipolata in some bacon and oven cook for about 30 minutes. I did them in the roasting tin with a chicken so they soaked up lots of roast chicken juices. Otherwise bangers and mash, toad in the hole, sausage sandwiches…

  36. sara

    I have half a pound of chorizo to use up in the fridge…

    My favorite use for it is as a topping added to flat bread spread with hummus, topped with shrimp, chorizo, manchego cheese and then a sweet salsa on top. Mmm!

  37. Anonymous

    Spicy Italian sausages (from a local farm) chunked up in chicken-brothy soup with wild rice, onions and lots of spinach, dusted with grated romano. Warms the mouth and the belly!

    But I love sausage of almost any kind and in almost any way… Maybe someday when we have a farm and a pig, I will use your recipe! (Until then I’ll be lazy and buy it from my friends at the farmer’s market.)

    Kris in rainy Virginia

  38. liannallama

    Oh, I adore sausage! I think it’s my Polish genes, LOL! I like just about every sausage, except I’m not fond of hot dogs and I had the pleasure of eating at the Google cafeteria once where they served Elk sausage and I wasn’t thrilled with that either. I think Pork makes the best sausage.

    DH always jokes that when I am lazy I will cook kielbasa (I say “kabossy”) with peas for dinner and he’s right. It’s not a favorite of his so he rarely lets me cook dinner, LOL!

  39. Pearl

    i don’t eat sausage, but i bet that fed ex man thought about that delicious scent the entire day!

  40. jbeach

    Ooops! Accept my heartfelt apologies — I just realized that the Field Roast Grain sausages are NOT gluten-free. Forgive me!!

  41. Anonymous

    I love to make a scramble with soy chorizo or morningstar sausage, green chile, and queso blanca.

    Have you ever tried sweet potato cookies? I had some at a race this weekend, in CO, and they were fabulous. The ingredients in the ones I had were sweet potatoes, blueberries, pecans, honey, canola oil, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla.

  42. Lauren

    Oh my I have been wanting to make my own I just have to go out and buy everything I need but I do have a Kitchen Aid now with a meat grinder I’m sure I am equipped with what I need. I probably will just make a nice breakfast sausage with lots of fennel seeds ad that is what makes them so tasty. Then maybe a semi spicy Italian Sausage oh and lets not forget Scrapple I love Scrapple!

  43. Kinderhook

    About 35 years ago, my father-in-law was in a veteran’s hospital in southeastern Colorado. While visiting him, we had breakfast at a little place that had fresh homemade sausage. It was (and still is) the best sausage I’ve ever eaten. I can’t remember the town the hospital was in or the restaurant, but the sausage? Oh, yes. Amazing.

  44. MsJess

    I recently got super hot red pepper sausages from the farmer’s market. There is a stand at my local market that sells goat and lamb sausages as well as the usual beef and pork varieties. Let me tell you this sausage was spicy!

    I fried them up in kind of a migas style dish by first frying up the sausages and then frying up chopped corn tortilla in the drippings, and then frying up peppers, onins (was sadly out of jalapenos). I put everything back in the pan with some salsa then whipped this mixture into some scrambled eggs and topped it all off with spicy cheese and sour cream. It. was. so. good.

  45. KatyBelle

    I love sausages! WIth all my heart and soul. Any kind, just about any way: Bangers and mash, breakfast links, chorizo, keilbasa, smoked, etc.

    When it comes down to it, my favorite way to eat sausage is to just take some nice pork breakfast ones, the skinny ones that look like fingers, cook them so they’re crispy on the outside, and then eat them hot, on bread or a bun with TONS of ketchup. I

    It’s not fancy, or gourmet, but it’s delicious and reminds me of my childhood.

  46. cajun girl

    Having grown up in Louisiana, we would always make homemade sausage called boudin most commonly referred to as blood sausage in Europe but we (my grandparents and parents) would also make “white” boudin as well minus the blood. Nothing of the pig goes to waste as my parents would say. These days we prepare homemade pork sausage for gumbos and stews. Goes well with black eyed peas.

  47. Christi Flaherty

    Hi Shauna, I’ve been reading your blog for awhile and finally decided to comment. (Guess the sausages brought it out) First off, thanks for your book. I read it because a friend was gluten intolerant and I wanted to make her a food gift. Then in November, I was told with some finality that I must cut gluten out of my diet. Now your book means more than ever and I keep coming back to your blog for support in this new process. Anyway, back to sausage… Chorizo, potatoes and green chiles topped off with Cotija; Italian Sausage (heavy on the red chile flakes and fennel, thank you) with sauteed chard or kale over a big bowl of rosemary flavored cheesy polenta. That’s just a start, because I too love sausages as do my two little chefs. One more curiosity, I live in Napa Valley and curious if you’ve been here and where you have found to eat that is gluten free.

  48. Tori

    Our neighborhood grocery store (New Seasons Market) makes sausages every day. There are usually 15 made of chicken and 20-25 of pork. My favorite part is that if you call the night before they’ll make you a custom blend. I like to order sweet Italian sausages without fennel for making meatballs in Sugo.

    The sausages I most often grab, when they’re available, is a lamb with feta and spinach. I make a batch of garbanzo bean salad (from Orangette, with the amount of garlic that Brandon would use). I serve the beans heaped in half an acorn squash that’s been steamed until it yields to a fork. A little douse of olive oil and a pile of Parmesan cheese in the bottom of the squash makes it rich.

    I’m also a huge fan of breakfast sausages. Zenners, in Portland, makes some of the best I’ve had.

  49. SarahKate

    YUM! In Australia we call them “snags” and my fav is a lamb, lemon and oregano one from my local butcher. Great post!

  50. Tina

    I love sausages of all kinds but only make one. It’s a turkey breakfast sausage patty. Don’t turn your nose up because it’s not pork, it’s still delicious and not dry. It’s ground turkey with lots of grated granny smith apple a bit of nutmeg and cayenne to boot. It’s fantastic with fried eggs.

  51. Lauri

    My husband and I have been talking about making our own sausage for awhile now. We just need to find casings. Thanks for the inspiration.

  52. Rae

    *Sigh* Sausages…I love sausage. Happy Food Dance. I can still taste the ones I had for dinner last night–fresh, bursting with juicey delicate porkiness. The casings, so tender, barely aquainted with their charges, carried the kiss of the grate, tatoos of wood fire; and smoke–oh, the smoke–! So, so beautifully simple. Just perfect. Charcuterie has been on my wish list for some time. So many passions! I want it all, now! Yes, yes, yes!
    So looking forward to your books-collaborations rock.
    I foresee a flurry of sausage-making around the country–just look at all these fabulous ideas!!
    Bright Blessings!

  53. eatatjoes

    I just discovered the simple joys of sausage making at home. I started with a simple chicken breakfast sausage. Patties at first, but now I’m stuffing into casings. Great either way, and no nitrites or other preservatives. And homemade chorizo is awesome for breakfast.

  54. MJ

    I have to steer clear of pork, and wouldn't you know it… I tend to CRAVE it now. It's another one of those forbidden foods for me.

    Not to worry. I found a suitable replacement. Chicken! They have chicken sausage with roasted red pepper and corn, chicken and apple and oh so many more (organic to boot). Thank you Costco!

    I'm a spicy hound so I have to doctor some of them up a bit, but they have satisfied the craving.

    They are great with breakfast, replacing that hot dog to dip in my Dijon or as an addition to a pasta salad, GF of course.

    I've never attempted to make sausage. What would you & the Chef recommend instead of pork casings?

  55. Dancing kitchen

    I am in love with the little lamb sausages sold at the butcher at Pikes Place. Every time I am in Seattle, I have to…just have to run over and get a package or two. I am over the top with the smell, the taste and the absolute delight that these sausages bring me. It doesn’t hurt that the guys behind the counter are absolute delights, but even if they were crabby warty smelly old men..I’d still do a dance of joy and delight in anticipation of my little lamb sausages. And yes, there is hand clapping involved.

  56. Karen

    I love the mild sweet Italian sausages. I make a pretty good Italian Mushroom Stew. The original recipe was vegetarian, but we like some meat, so I add two or three Italian sausages to it. They add just enough meat for chewiness and flavor. Mmmm, now I’m going to have to make it tomorrow.

  57. Jill Stevens, Licensed Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist

    I have never made my own- but my favorite are the Marin Sun Farms Breakfast Sausages. I buy them from my organic delivery that I get and they are AMAZING. I never know what form they are going to come in- sometimes it comes in a 1 lb block that I have to make my own patties (I love that!) and sometimes they come in a several foot long link. I fry them in coconut oil- and they are absolutely the best. Add in that they are from all grass fed pastured animals – and there is not a whole lot that I like better.

  58. Rumela

    Wow!! These sausages looks truly succulent. I would love to have some of these. Thanks for the recipe. I an going to try it next weekend. thank you for shearing your post.

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