I developed this sausage for an old rooster, but it would also be ideal for any old game bird — pheasants mostly, but you could also do this with sage grouse or turkeys, too. And sure, you could use other upland game birds such as ruffed grouse or quail, but that seems like a waste to me.
This is a light fresh sausage made with good fresh herbs, fresh lemon zest, some garlic and Madeira wine. If you cannot find Madeira, which is a thick sweet wine, sub in any other sweet wine. Barring that, use regular white wine and add a teaspoon of sugar.
Makes about 4 pounds.
Prep Time: 3 hours
Cook Time: 20 minutes
- 3 1/2 pounds pheasant, rooster or other game bird meat
- 3/4 pound pork fat
- 38 grams kosher salt
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano
- 10 grams cracked black pepper
- 50 grams minced fresh garlic
- 10 grams fennel seed
- Grated zest of a lemon
- 1/2 cup Madeira wine
Start by reading my basic sausage-making instructions, which are hosted on my friend Elise’s site Simply Recipes.
- Chill the meat until it is almost frozen by putting it in the freezer for an hour or so.
- Take out some hog casings and set in a bowl of very warm water.
- Chop meat and fat into 1 inch chunks.
- Take out half the fennel seeds and half the black pepper. You’ll want to add them right before you do that final mix. This keeps the spices whole, altering the sausage’s texture, making eating it more interesting. Combine the salt, the rest of the pepper, garlic and herbs with the meat, mix well with your hands and let it rest in the fridge for about an hour.
- Grind through your meat grinder (you can use a food processor in a pinch, but you will not get a fine texture) using the coarse die. If your room is warmer than 69 degrees, set the bowl for the ground meat into another bowl of ice to keep it cold.
- Chill the meat for another 30 minutes, then grind it through the fine die. Why bother? Because there will be a lot of stray silverskin in an old bird. Grinding to a finer level will make eating the sausage easier without getting any gristly bits.
- Add the wine, then mix thoroughly either using a Kitchenaid on low for 60-90 seconds or with your (very clean) hands. This is important to get the sausage to bind properly. Once it is mixed well, put it back in the fridge.
- Stuff the sausage into the casings. Twist off links by pinching the sausage down and twisting it, first in one direction, and then with the next link, the other direction. Or you could tie them off with butcher’s string.
- Hang the sausages in a cool place for up to 4 hours (the colder it is, the longer you can hang them). If it is warm out, hang for one hour. Once they have dried a bit, put in the fridge until needed. They will keep for at least a week in the fridge.
- If you are freezing the sausages, wait a day before doing so. This will tighten up the sausages and help them keep their shape in the deep-freeze.