Last weekend Locati Cellars owner, Mike Locati, invited Jason, my husband and me to make sausage with his cronies. All of them grew up making sausage with their families here in the Walla Walla Valley; they have been gathering each year like this for about the last fifteen years. I am so thankful they are carrying on the tradition and maintaining the family recipes… and teaching me! It was a fun Saturday morning experience and I hope to use my new-found knowledge to make sausage in the future. Have you made sausage? Lets talk about it, I would love to hear about your experiences!
Not one person was willing to divulge the family secrets, but I know my way around the spice cabinet enough to guess some of what is used: salt (less in the sausage than in the salami that was also made), white/black pepper (including whole pepper corns), garlic powder, onion powder, fennel seeds (in some but not all, optional), red pepper, paprika, were definitely present. Sangiovese, Locati Sangiovese went into Mike’s batches, with a head of garlic crushed and infused into the heated wine. The hot wine helps to warm the meat that has been kept cold so it goes through the sausage maker a bit easier.
Some families made salami that will hang in the atmosphere-controlled curing shack/shed until dry. At the end Mike tied links to dry that were called ‘saki’ but I can’t find that sausage anywhere to know precisely what it is. When I know, I will update this post.
Not exactly the old-fashioned root cellar hanging, but it works. Happy to take home some fresh sausage, my husband and I were impressed with the consistency of the links, about 1/4# each. Most of the packages went right into the freezer, but one has been used during the week as: part of Sunday breakfast, Frikadellen (recipe below), and in cabbage rolls for tonight’s dinner. We are finding there are many German and Danish recipes from our families that work perfectly with this Italian sausage… and with Italian wine varietals.
My mother’s family had a butcher shop in Singen, Germany for many years. Sausages and cured seasoned meats are apparently part of my ancestral make-up and I plan to find time to make sausage, if not rig a curing shed eventually. Meanwhile, I am including a recipe for the meat patties we made with the sausage since it is common to both my Hubby’s family and to mine:
1 # lowfat ground beef
½ # ground pork (preseasoned sausage works fine)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
½ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 cup breadcrumbs
salt, pepper and paprika to taste
*(seasoning is personal, feel free to use what you are familiar with)
olive oil or butter to fry the patties in
Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Squeeze and mash together until well blended, form into patties of typical hamburger size (or smaller for meatball-sized) and carefully place in heated oil in frying pan. Cook over a medium heat to ensure the middles are done and the outsides are browned. Serve immediately. Make twice as many as you will use as they store very well in the fridge and can be eaten cold later on.
*the Italian sausage seasoning was wonderful, I didn’t add any additional spices.
Hope you are enjoying the holiday season, family and friends, excellent food and wine and other tasty treats. Cheers!