Lean Italian Sausage

"Grinding the very lean pork tenderloin by itself would make the sausage crumbly and unpleasant, which is why I blend it with bacon ends and pieces. This give the sausage plenty of moisture, while also imparting a smoky flavor. The sausage is still very lean, as evidenced by the fact that there's barely any grease in the pan after cooking."
photo by Late Night Gourmet photo by Late Night Gourmet
photo by Late Night Gourmet
photo by Late Night Gourmet photo by Late Night Gourmet
photo by Late Night Gourmet photo by Late Night Gourmet
Ready In:
8hrs 10mins




  • Cook fennel seeds on a medium pan until slightly browned, about 2 minutes.
  • Combine the pork, bacon, garlic, paprika, fennel seeds, red pepper seeds, salt, pepper, parsley, and red wine in a large bowl and toss well to coat. Refrigerate covered overnight or up to 24 hours.
  • Pass the mixture through a meat grinder fitted with a medium die. To test the seasoning, cook about 2 teaspoons of the mixture. Adjust seasonings, to taste.
  • Form sausage into patties, or fill sausage casings to make sausage links.

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I have two teenagers who keep things very busy around our house during the daytime. I also work long hours at Ford Motor Company, and I do want to spend time with my family every day. If I try to cook when my kids have their friends over, I'm certain to be interrupted. In other words, my available times for cooking are very limited. I don't want to give up on anything I love - my family, my job, my cooking - so I do most of my cooking after everyone has gone to bed. My wife is a teacher, so this can be very late at night during the summer. Sometimes, I don't get started with my prep work until 12:30 a.m. Am I crazy?? Maybe. I'm also constantly working on healthier ways to prepare food. I deconstruct every recipe I like, and try to make it with healthier ingredients. The big challenge is keeping the food tasty. I believe it's possible to enjoy what you eat and still be healthy. I lost 15 pounds in 6 months largely by preparing my own food (and exercising). If I didn't keep such loony hours, I'd call myself "The Healthy Gourmet".
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