It can be hard to find good Italian sausage. Usually the mild will have added sweetener and no kick whatsoever and the spicy is so hot the kids cant eat it. I love being able to make my own and use it in Italian dishes or crumbled on top of homemade sourdough pizza. Its also great crumbled in omelets or on top of salads. You can control the fat content, because sausage is usually a very high percentage fat. You can also control the source of meat. Its easier to find pasture raised ground pork or grass fed ground beef than the equivalent in sausage form. And its way cheaper to make and only takes a few minutes.
1 lb ground meat (usually its pork, but ive used beef , chicken, and turkey before too)
1 Tbs red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tsp parsley
1 tsp each salt, garlic powder, onion, basil
3/4 tsp each pepper, paprika
1/4 tsp fennel
1/8 tsp each oregano, thyme
1/4-1 tsp red pepper flakes, depending on desired spice level.
Place all spices in a spice grinder (small food processer like a magic bullet or a coffee grinder). Add ground meat and vinegar to a bowl with the spice and combine well with your hands. Let it sit, covered, in the refrigerator overnight before using in your favorite recipe.
One of my all time favorite meals is corned beef and cabbage. I love it for dinner and I love it on sandwiches with mustard the next day. But over the past few years Ive had a hard time sourcing a good grass fed organic corned beef brisket without nitrates. Whole foods had ones that were hormone and antibiotic free without nitrates but it wasn’t grass fed or organic. They also had a ton of celery seed added which is just a natural source of nitrates. I wanted to try it without any added at all and see if it still worked well. We just recently bought part of a cow and I was so excited to try making my own corned beef. Well it worked wonderfully and probably some of the best corned beef I’ve ever had. It wasn’t that typical bright pink color though because there weren’t any nitrates added. I wish I had more briskets because I am now rationing out the few I have! I may have to try it with a different cut of meat and see if it works.
Corned Beef Brisket:
4-5 lb beef brisket
6 cups water
1/2 cup salt
1/3 cup brown sugar or coconut palm sugar
5 garlic cloves, crushed or diced small
3 crushed bay leaves
1 Tbs pepper
2 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp dried ginger
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
Heat water and all spices in pot until combined. Cool brine completely. Submerge brisket into brine completely, cover, and store in the refrigerator for 3-10 days.
When ready to cook, take out of brine. Skim out maybe 2 tsp of the seasoning from the brine (try to avoid any clumps of salt if there is any) and add to a crockpot along with the brisket and enough water to cover it. Cook for a few hours on low. Add carrots and potatoes. Cook for a few more hours. Add cut up cabbage and cook for another hour or two.