Wednesday, December 05, 2007

homemade italian sausage

breakfast casserole with homemade sausage
I tried to make it look appetizing but I'm not so sure
Switzerland is the land of sausage but not the "italian sausage" that we americans are so used to using. Back in the US, I used "italian sausage" meat instead of ground beef all the time to make quick and easy pasta sauces. But here, it's not readily available. I've decided that american "italian" sausage is not italian at all. I asked for it at a couple Italian butcher/delis in Zurich and they were totally confused by my request. I searched for months with no results and finally found something labeled "italianisch wurst" at a booth at the Wednesday speciality food market in the Zurich Hauptbahnhof. I don't remember the name of the booth, but it sold handmade pasta and italian deli meats like pancetta. I was skeptical, but it turned out to indeed be "italian sausage" and made for a very nice pasta sauce.

Then, my friend Cyndy mentioned that she makes her own sausage. She has the Globus Bellevue butcher grind up the pork shoulder and pancetta (2-1 ratio) and then adds her own spices at home. She doesn't bother to case it, just uses what she needs immediately and forms the rest into patties and freezes them for later. Great idea! So I got the recipe and finally tried it this week. It is fantastic and plus, I know exactly what is in there since I watched him grind the meat, with no extra junk. I got it at Globus Bahnhofstrasse and they ground it while I watched, no pre-order necessary. They were confused at first at my request given in broken German (I said something like "macht das gleich als hackfleisch, mit die gleich machine, alle zusammen, gemischt" which loosely translates "make it equal to ground meat, with the same machine, all together, mixed up"), but they were happy to help.

I made a breakfast casserole that Cyndy suggested (original and version I was given - I cut the bread into pieces instead of just slices and cooked for about 50mins instead of 30). It was quite good (I was skeptical), but once we tasted the sausage we desperately wanted to eat it on pizza. So that will be our next meal with this yummy stuff. Even if you're not in the culinary wasteland of Zurich, I still recommend making some homemade sausage meat just for fun. It's a real treat!

Here's Cyndy's sausage recipe. I used 400g pork shoulder and 200g pancetta (cost=20sfr) and decreased the other ingredients accordingly.

2 pounds fresh, ground pork shoulder, run through the largest hole of the butcher’s grinder
1 pound pancetta, run through the same grinder
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
1.5 teaspoons fresh ground pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

Place pork shoulder and pancetta in a large mixing bowl. Mix with your hands just until well blended. Add the salt, fennel, pepper, oregano, basil and parsley and mix just until well blended. Work quickly as the warmth of your hands changes the texture of the sausage.

She recommends using the sausage with pasta sauce, lasagna, pizza, stuffed peppers, meatballs, soup, breakfast casserole, etc. Thanks Cyndy!


Astrid said...

Mmmm. As usual with the American foods you miss so much, I don't know if I've ever tasted "Italian sausage," but your picture sure makes me hungry!

Whittner said...

I just googled "American Sausage Zurich" due to a strange craving of mine and came upon your blog. I think it's a great idea what you've done, with links to all the food stores (wow, good prices on Am Food Ave!) and substitutions and recipes. Not sure if I'm willing to pay Swiss prices for a pork shoulder, but it's good to know that it can be done.

Sally said...

Just wanted to thank you for the sausage recipe. We made a batch of it for Thanksgiving this year and used it in the stuffing. It was a big hit!

Tanya said...

Yay, Sally! You've inspired me to go pull some of mine out of the freezer.

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