Homemade and healthful

May 16, 2007|By Robin Mather Jenkins | Robin Mather Jenkins,Chicago Tribune

Once upon a time, America's breakfast kitchens filled with the aroma of sage-scented breakfast sausage. Today? Not so much. People think sausage is fatty. They think it must be unhealthful. They've convinced themselves that they don't have time to cook breakfast.

Yet homemade sausage is actually relatively lean, especially compared to the commercial stuff. It's simple to make and impressive. It is many times better than store-bought, especially if you mix it up a day or two ahead of the time you plan to cook it, so the flavors can blend.

Here's a tip: Make a batch of this and cook it all on the weekend. Then freeze whatever you don't eat. Now you have heat-and-eat breakfast sausage that's about a thousand times tastier than anything you can grab elsewhere. Give it 60 to 90 seconds in the microwave and you're good to go.

Robin Mather Jenkins writes for the Chicago Tribune.

Homemade Maple-Sage Breakfast Sausage

Serves 8 -- Total time: 45 minutes

1 1/2 pounds pork shoulder, lean and fat, cut into 1/2 -inch cubes

1/4 cup cold water

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

1 1/2 teaspoons each: salt, minced fresh sage

1 teaspoon each: freshly ground pepper, hot sauce

1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg

Place the cubed pork on a plate; freeze 10 minutes to firm. Transfer to bowl of food processor, in batches if necessary. Pulse until pork is coarsely chopped in pea-sized pieces. Transfer pork to a large bowl; add remaining ingredients. Using hands, combine ingredients until well blended. Refrigerate until needed, up to 3 days.

Shape into 12 to 16 equal-size patties about 1/2 -inch thick. Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Cook patties until well-browned, about 5 minutes; turn. Cook 5 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

Per serving: 138 calories, 6 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 50 milligrams cholesterol, 4 grams carbohydrate, 17 grams protein, 486 milligrams sodium, 0 grams fiber

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