Chicken Apple Sausage

I’ve been making my own sausage for several years.  And while you definitely need some special equipment, i.e. meat grinder and sausage stuffer, it’s a really fun and actually pretty easy process.  The thought of store-bought sausage makes some people wince – what in the world do they put in that stuff??  Whether you make fresh or smoked, you can control ingredients, flavors and salt content by making your own.  Below is a recipe for fresh chicken apple sausage, flavored with onions, garlic and allspice.  I hope you love it!

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CHICKEN APPLE SAUSAGE

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 Lbs. Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
  • 2 Lbs. Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 2 Medium Honeycrisp Apples, Peeled
  • 1/2 Large White Onion
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. Butter
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. Kosher Salt
  • 1 1/4 Tsp. Black Pepper
  • 1 Tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tsp. Ground Allspice
  • 1/2 Tsp. Ground Thyme
  • About 9 feet of fresh hog casing

Instructions

  • Slice chicken into 1-inch strips.  Place in freezer for 15 minutes while you prepare apples and onions.
  • Using the largest holes on a box grater, grate peeled apples and onion.  Sauté in a large frying pan with butter for 10-15 minutes.  They should be soft and moisture should be evaporated.  Allow to cool in bowl.
  • Using a meat grinder, or grinder attachment on your mixer, grind semi-frozen chicken on the finest grind.  Grind into a large mixing bowl so that you have room to mix in spices, etc.
  • Add apple and onion mixture to ground chicken an mix with your hands to incorporate evenly.
  • Sprinkle all seasonings evenly over mixture and then mix again with hands until combined.
  • Place ground mixture into a sausage stuffer.
  • Stuff into hog casings and link into 3-4 inch sections.  Allow to dry on a cookie sheet for 15-20 minutes.
  • You can now cook immediately on the grill or in a pan.  However, the flavors will be better if the sausage rests for a day or longer.  We freeze ours in a vacuum sealer.

The sweetness of the apples combined with the savory onions, garlic and thyme make for a delicious combination!  You’ll find that this recipe has a lot less fat than store-bought sausage so be careful not to overcook and dry it out.  If you have the time and tools, give it a try – I think you’ll find yourself making sausage more often than buying it.  Either way, dig in!!

Roasted Chicken, Leeks & Apples

Looking for an alternative to plain baked chicken?  The sweet and savory combination of apples and leeks roasting in the rendered chicken fat are a tasty fall delight.  You’ll love the single-pan simplicity of this dish that’s just good rustic comfort food.  And fall is the perfect time to make it with October and November as the prime season for both apples and leeks.

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ROASTED CHICKEN, LEEKS & APPLES

Ingredients

  • 4 Bone-in Chicken Thighs
  • 3 Large Leeks
  • 3 Medium Apples (Jonamac or another sweet/tart baking variety)
  • 3 Tbs. Olive Oil
  • 8 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
  • 1 1/2 Tsp. Salt
  • 1 Tsp. Black Pepper

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Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Brush a large heavy cookie sheet with 1 Tbs. of olive oil to coat lightly.  Place chicken thighs on sheet, but leave space between them.
  • Wash and dry leeks and apples.  Leeks can get gritty with sand/soil so be sure to wash them thoroughly.
  • Core and slice apples into 6-8 slices each.  Cut the tops off the leeks, cut the bottom in half and then in half lengthwise to get 4 pieces per leek.  Place all leeks and apples on the cookie sheet.  Again, spread out evenly to allow for even roasting and caramelization.
  • Drizzle all ingredients with the remaining 2 Tbs. of olive oil and then salt and pepper.  Top with sprigs of fresh thyme.
  • Bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes until chicken is cooked through.
  • Remove from oven and serve immediately.

As the chicken renders and the skin crisps, the fat will spread through the pan to give everything some delicious “chicken love”.  Mild onion flavor and sweet/tart apples perfumed with thyme are the perfect accompaniment to a perfect chicken thigh.  You can easily double this recipe and use a whole cut up chicken, but you’ll need to use two cookie sheets.  The key is to give everything enough space to roast and caramelize properly.  I have no doubt that this will be a regular in your family’s weekly menu once you try it.  Dig in and enjoy!