I love a good homemade sausage. I adore the endless flavors and textures you can create by simply playing around with different seasonings, herbs, and grinds. Recently, I decided to try adding a special ingredient to my classic Italian sausage recipe – fragrant, anise-flavored fennel.
The result? A richly-flavored sweet Italian sausage packed with fennel and garlic that magically transforms any dish. This is one zesty sausage that belongs in your arsenal! Keep reading to learn all about the wonders of fennel sausage.
Why Fennel Sausage is So Flavorful
Fennel is an underrated seed that infuses sausages, soups, breads, and more with a delicate licorice-like essence. It has a distinctly sweet yet savory aromatic quality.
Some key reasons why I love fennel sausage:
- Fennel seeds add warm, woodsy anise notes
- They provide a lovely sweetness without being overpowering
- Fennel has a natural affinity for pork, enhancing the meaty flavors
- The flavor contrasts beautifully with sharp garlic
- Fennel seeds give great textural contrast
Overall, fennel seeds transform Italian sausage into something extra special. Let’s get to the recipe!
Making Sweet Fennel Italian Sausage
I prefer to use a pork shoulder for homemade sausage because it has the perfect fat-to-meat ratio. And it’s infused beautifully by the garlic and fennel.
For a nice coarse texture similar to store-bought links, I grind the mixture through a large die on my meat grinder attachment.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 3 lbs ground pork shoulder
- 3 tablespoons fennel seeds
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 3 tablespoons sea salt
- 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
- 1⁄4 cup cold water
- Meat grinder
- Sausage stuffer (optional)
In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together thoroughly by hand. Make sure the seasonings are well distributed throughout the meat. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Grind chilled meat mixture through a large die into a clean bowl.
Stuff mixture into hog casings, twirling into 5-6 inch links.
Refrigerate or cook Italian fennel sausages as desired.
Cooking Your Fennel Sausage
There are so many tasty ways to appreciate these herbaceous sausages:
- Pan-fry links until browned and cooked through
- Grill over hot coals for sear marks
- Slice and sauté crumble for pasta sauce
- Bake into lasagna, onion & pepper sandwiches
- Add to soups, casseroles, pizza, eggs
I love severing seared slices on crusty Italian bread with sautéed bell peppers and onions with chili oil and sharp provolone for an incredible sandwich.
But you could also crumble it into red sauce for the perfect porky pasta topping. The options are endless! Play around and get creative.
Handy Fennel Sausage Tips
- Store raw sausage for up to 1 week refrigerated or 2 months frozen
- Cook within 2 days of stuffing for best freshness
- Fennel seeds can vary in strength – adjust to taste
- Pork & fennel are better together!
I’ve gotten so many requests for the recipe from friends and family since sharing my home-crafted Sweet Italian Fennel Sausages. This zesty, woodsy sausage is sure to be a crowd-pleaser at your next barbecue, potluck, family dinner, or anytime you need a little kick of flavor
You Can Also Read Here The Ultimate Guide to Ice Cream Toppings: A Flavorful Journey