12 Days of Cooking Christmas: Sweet Italian Fennel Sausage

Did you ever think you could make your own sausage? It’s a lot easier to make in your own home than you might thing! In our 12 Days of Cooking Christmas, we bring you this popular recipe from Chef Mark Haskell’s Kitchen 101: Sausage Making class.



5 pounds pork butt, cut into 1-inch cubes

2 teaspoons black pepper

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons fennel seeds, toasted, rough ground

1/4 cup dried sage, ground

1/4 cup chopped garlic

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

3/4 cup chicken/pork stock, chilled

Court bouillon or seasoned water, for poaching

Olive oil, for sautéing

Please note that I have omitted curing salt. These sausages are “green” sausages, meant to be eaten soon after they are made or frozen. And they can be cooked and eaten without being in casings as well.


In a bowl combine the pork, black pepper, fennel seeds, garlic, sage sugar and cayenne pepper. Mix to make sure seasonings are well distributed throughout the pork. Freeze for 30 minutes.

To prepare the forcemeat, pass the mixture through a meat grinder using the large hole plate. Transfer to an electric mixer, using the paddle on the lowest speed, and mix for 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and slowly add the stock and mix for 2 minutes. Switch to high speed and mix for 30 seconds. Pipe the forcemeat.

In a large saute pan bring court bouillon to a simmer. Prick or pierce the sausages lightly to avoid their exploding. Poach the prepared sausages for 25 minutes or until firm to the touch. To finish, saute the sausages with olive oil in a cast iron pan over medium-low heat until nicely browned, turning often.

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