Packaged sausage in a grocer's meat case cannot compare to the homemade or meat market variety.
My father-in-law was a butcher for more than 50 years. He owned meat markets on the Coast and in Texas. He can make some pan and link sausage. Now that he's retired, he says it is hard to find flavorful sausage.
Norma Shiero of Parrish, Fla., wanted a recipe for homemade sausage made with poultry seasoning, like she used to make in the school cafeteria. I can understand. I miss my father-in-law's sausage. It was never too fatty, but it packed flavor, even the mild variety.
Some 25 years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting one of my favorite food columnists, Merle Ellis, who was first a butcher, then TV producer, writer and then the star of his own TV cooking show. He was known as The Butcher. He was funny but knowledgeable about his craft. Ellis, who died in 2010, delighted in telling readers and viewers how to save money on meat and how to use less expensive cuts of meat.
He grew up in Iowa with his grandfather and father making sausage. His grandfather was a farmer, and his dad ran a small meat market. Ellis' cookbook, "Cutting Up in the Kitchen," is a classic and was first published in 1975. It is still available used or new on Amazon.
I will share his country-style sausage recipe.
Reader Janet McCarthy shares her homemade pork sausage recipe that she thinks just may be the one that Shiero requested.
HOMEMADE PORK SAUSAGE PATTIES
3 pound fresh ground pork
3 tablespoon bacon grease
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon ground thyme
1- 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt
Using either your hands or a fork, blend all ingredients in a large mixing bowl like you would a meatloaf, until the spices appear to be uniformly mixed throughout. Make patties the size you would like. I usually freeze separately on a nonstick pan. When frozen, place individually in a sandwich bag. That way they won't stick together. You can put the smaller bags into gallon-size bags and get out what you need. You can adjust the spices as you prefer. Cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper flakes can be added and omit the coriander. You can always omit the salt if you prefer.
-- Submitted by Janet McCarthy
Ellis used two cuts of meat for his country sausage, a pork butt or Boston butt and the rib end of a pork loin. Both of these have a good ratio of fat to lean, and both have bones that are easily removed. Of course, he wrote in his book, do not throw the bones away; use them in beans or soup.
"Country-style sauce meat can be formed into patties and packed in a 'poke.' You have probably heard the expression 'pig in a poke' without knowing what a poke was," Ellis wrote in "Cutting Up in the Kitchen." "It's a sack. To make your own, sew little bags out of unbleached muslin or sack cloth, about 3 inches by 12 inches, leaving the top open. Fill the bags with sausage meat and tie the open end securely."
These bags are wrapped in foil and put in the freezer, where they will keep for months.
COUNTRY SAUSAGE WITH SAGE
For every 2 pounds of pork add:
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 or 2 teaspoons sage
(If you like it hot, add a dash of cayenne)
Mix the seasonings over the cubes of meat and toss well. Set in refrigerator to chill well before grinding. The meat grinds better if it is very cold. Make into patties and freeze.
-- From "Cutting Up in the Kitchen"
My stand mixer has a grinder attachment that works well for making any kind of ground meat.
Pound cake, 'good cake'
"A friend of mine told me that you were in need of pound cake recipes," Sonja Sheffield said. "I know I submitted this one years ago, but it's the one all my friends absolutely love. I probably make 100 of these a year."
A Kiln reader asked for a good pound cake recipe. This is Sheffield's recipe, and Pattie Necaise shares what she calls "just a good cake."
(Sonja Sheffield's family recipe)
2 sticks salted butter
1 stick margarine
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
3 cups sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Bring eggs, margarine and butter to room temperature. Beat butter and margarine until fluffy, add sugar by 1 cup increments beating after each cup. Add 2 eggs, beat, add 1 cup sifted flour, beat, and repeat additions until all eggs and flour are blended well. Add vanilla and almond extract, beat well. Pour batter into a greased and floured Bundt cake pan (I use the baking spray with flour). Place cake in a cold oven and bake for 75 minutes at 340 degrees. Cool cake for 30 minutes on cooling rack, invert onto a cake plate and continue to cool completely. Cover tightly or wrap and freeze for use later. Excellent served with fruit and cool whip or ice cream.
Yield: 20 slices if thinly sliced.
-- Submitted by Sonja Sheffield
2 cups plain flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon soda
1-1/4 cups oil (Necaise uses canola oil)
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Sift together dry ingredients. In mixer bowl, beat eggs and oil till creamy. Stir in dry ingredients. Add carrots, lemon peel and nuts. Mix well. Pour into 2 greased and floured 9-inch cake pans. Bake in preheated 375-degree oven for 35 minutes. Cool on rack 10 minutes and remove from pan. Spread top and middle with favorite cream cheese frosting.
-- Submitted by Pattie Necaise
Spaghetti in sauce
"I am looking for a recipe in which you cook the spaghetti with the tomato sauce and not the ones that you put the sauce over the pasta," said Susan Oustalet. "It is one of my favorite dishes, and I have misplaced it since Katrina."
Readers, can you help her? Search those spaghetti recipes.
Cherry fruit cake
Readers, also check those electronic and paper recipe files for a cherry fruitcake recipe that the Kiln reader also wants.
Andrea Yeager, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and Cook's Exchange, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi, MS 39535-4567.