Excuse me while I rave a little. Feel free to skip to the recipe and avoid my soliloquy to homemade sausage, but this needs to be said.
We do not make enough of our own food anymore. We don’t grow it, we don’t pick it, we don’t process it. All of this is a shame, but especially the processing part, because you don’t need a farm or a homestead to do simple (and complicated if that tickles your fancy) food preservation. Food preservation that has ridiculously satisfying and fantastic results! We buy instead of make our jams and jellies, our cheese, our bacon, our pickles, our sauerkraut, our yogurt, our lunch meat. For goodness sake, people pay for pre-mixed herbs. All the effort required to do that yourself is to MIX HERBS.
This is a call to my fellow home cooks and epicurean-lovers: take your food back. Take it. Read a book, talk to your grandma, and turn your kitchen into a laboratory. My father started fermenting his own vegetables in the last year, and if the man who used to shy away from boiling water can reclaim a lost food art, so can the rest of us.
We’ll start with something simple, alright? No smoked ham or aged cheese, no long-fermented home cider. Just sausage. One of the easiest and most satisfying foodstuffs you can produce. Meat + herbs + spices + onions shaped into adorably lumpy patties and pan-fried to perfection. It’s quick, there are infinite variations, and best of all, we get to avoid all the nasty chemicals and corn syrup that goes into that crap from the supermarket. PLUS, sausage is just plain delicious, in a way that plain ground meat is simply not.
Dried or fresh herbs with work, as do many different spices. You can keep it as simple as ground meat, some dried herbs, and a little salt and pepper, or you could go full tilt with a cumin, coriander, and chile spiced sausage to make your taste buds tingle. I had fresh marjoram (an herb most similar to oregano), ground beef, and onions and garlic on hand, so that’s the sausage I made.
Marjoram Beef Sausage Patties
1 lb ground beef
2 garlic cloves
A few stems of marjoram (or oregano, or thyme, or sage, or rosemary…)
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Finely mince your onion, garlic, and marjoram, and put into the bottom of a mixing bowl. Add the salt and pepper, and lightly toss the ingredients together. Take your ground beef and break into chunks as you place in the bowl (this just makes it easier to mix later). Mix together with your hands until incorporated. Now for the fun part!
Your sausage patties can be any shape you like, but I would advise not making them thicker than 1/2-3/4 inch, so they cook through easily. My method is forming small balls, gently pushing them flat, and then shaping them into disks. But hey, if you want a mickey-mouse or dinosaur shaped meat patty, I say go for it.
Pan-fry in a skillet for 2-3 minutes on each side, until cooked and each side is all golden-brown. If you’re making beef or lamb patties, feel free to leave them pink in the center (I think they taste better), but if using pork, be sure to cook all the way through. Serve with breakfast, lunch, or dinner! Anytime is sausage time!