Sicilian Sausage with Fennel Seed

We got inspired by’s impressive array of recipes and had better-than-expected results with the first two attempts. We particularly liked the Sicilian one with the hint of nutmeg and lemon zest contrasting nicely with the underlying tangy bitterness from the red wine. But it distinctly lacked fennel, and also seemed unnecessarily salty (perhaps owing to the real Romano cheese we used this time instead of faking it with Grana Padano, like we usually do).

While whipping up another batch this morning, Sarah hit upon the idea of throwing in some fennel, too. Here’s our recipe, adapted from and scaled down.

1.9kg (4 lbs, 3 oz) pork shoulder (including skin and fat; discard the skin, but keep the fat)
1 1/3 cups grated Romano cheese
2/3 (158 ml) cups cold red wine
1 big clove of garlic, minced (a medium-sized clove is probably plenty for normal people)
1 tbsp salt — maybe even just 2 tsp
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3/4 tsp dried nutmeg or 1/2 tsp freshly grated (love my Microplane nutmeg grater!)
3/4 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
1 tbsp whole fennel seed

Get your butcher to separate the skin from your pork shoulder, but make sure to retain the fat!. Ask for a coarse grind, or take it home and skin it and grind it yourself if your butcher won’t do it for you (for whatever reason…and then seek out a new (old!) butcher).

Keep everything as cold as possible: the bowl, the meat, and the utensils you will use to mix the ingredients. You might find it helpful to mix all the dry ingredients and lemon zest together first in small bowl and then introduce that into the cold pork mass. Really mix it in there well: an uneven distribution means some diners get flavor bursts and others are bored. Fry up a golf-ball-sized lump to check for taste.

Then, make patties or fill up your hog casing, grill or fry, and enjoy. We knew in advance what shape of bread we’d serve them with, so we sized the links accordingly. For 13 adults, these 15 links were just barely enough. Next time we plan to make a little extra to freeze for later, too.

7 thoughts on “Sicilian Sausage with Fennel Seed”

  1. Frau Dietz

    Gah! These sound phenomenal. I wish I had some hog casing. And a kitchen aid. And a grill. Must remember to put in an order for some Regensausages for WEBMU 2012…

    1. cliff1976

      They were good! Probably the reason that late-comers got none.

      But you don’t really need any of that stuff you mentioned:

      •Hog casing → just make patties
      •Kitchen Aid → start with ground pork, thanks to your decent butcher, and make the aforementioned patties
      •Grill → patties are doable in a frying pan

      The minimum equipment you need:
      •bowl for mixing
      •heat source for cooking

      In fact, we have a grill, but no place to grill at our apartment — no Garten, Hof, etc. We normally carry our grill down to the local park. This occasion was a party at some friends’ apartment with a grillable balcony.

      1. Frau Dietz

        Valid points: you’re quite right, there’s nothing really to stop me. It’s just that patties… they ain’t sausages!

        ps I still want hog casing and a KitchenAid ;)

  2. Andrew

    I’ve never thought to make my own sausage like this. I probably still would never do it, but this looks so tasty.

  3. tqe | Adam

    I don’t own a grill, or have a place I’d really want to grill, but I’d sure like to try your sausage some time… It looks really fantastic.

  4. I’m going to pass this along to my son. Then maybe the pork fat he has saved can get out of my freezer! Love sausage and these sound good :)

  5. krishwala

    yum! Next time you make these, I’ll be over.

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