I feel a sense of shame having let the entire summer go without churning out a few different sausages. When I first made the switch from the slow and cumbersome KitchenAid stuffer to a true five-pound vertical stuffer last year, the ease at which I could stuff sausage into casings had me churning out great links like chorizo and spicy mango. It's time to bust out the grinder again get back into the game.
I've had the most success with chicken sausages, like this one for roasted garlic and feta chicken sausage. It's a nod to my Greek dominated neighborhood of Astoria, New York. I tried to keep it simple, letting the garlic and feta do most of the work flavoring the sausage, but also added in appropriate additional seasonings of shallots, oregano, vinegar, and lemon juice.
I was quite pleased with the results, having a sausage that didn't overwhelm with too much flavor—something pre-packaged grocery store sausages do too often—letting the chicken gently meld with the garlic and getting a nice bite of sharp and salty feta here and there. It reminded me why homemade sausages are so great, and that I really need to ramp up production and back on the sausage wagon.
- 3 small heads garlic
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 pounds pounds skin on, boneless chicken thighs, cubed
- 10 ounces feta cheese, crumbled, divided
- 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, chilled
- 2 tablespoons juice from 1 to 2 lemons, chilled
- Natural hog casings, soaked in lukewarm water for at least 30 minutes and rinsed
- Type of fire: Direct
- Grill heat: medium-high
Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut top quarters off of heads of garlic. Place garlic cloves, cut side down, in center of a sheet of aluminum foil and drizzle with olive oil. Seal foil and place directly on oven rack. Cook until cloves are browned and very soft, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool for 10 minutes, then squeeze cloves out of the skin into a small bowl.
Combine garlic, chicken, 1/2 of the feta cheese, shallots, oregano, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Chill until ready to grind.
Grind the mixture through a meat grinder, fitted with small die, into a bowl set in ice.
Using paddle attachment of a standing mixer, mix on low speed for 1 minute. Add remaining feta, vinegar, lemon juice, increase speed to medium, and mix until liquid is incorporated, about 1 minute more.
Form a small sausage patty; place rest of sausage mixture in refrigerator. Cook patty in a small frying pan over medium-high heat until cooked through. Taste and adjust seasonings of sausage if necessary.
Stuff sausage into hog casings and twist into 6-inch links. Refrigerate until ready to cook.
Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over entire surface of coal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Grill over medium-high direct heat until sausage registers 160°F when an instant read thermometer is inserted in middle of link. Remove from grill, let rest for 5 minutes, and serve.
Meat Grinder, Sausage Stuffer