Italian Sausage Seasoning
Updated: Nov 11, 2019
Italian sausage adds flavor to dishes like soups, quiche, spaghetti, and lasagna.
Italian sausage seasoning is one of the first recipes I sought when we moved to Uganda. It probably has no basis in Italian cooking, but Americans like “Italian sausage” on pizza, in quiche, in chili and other stews, and in pasta dishes like spaghetti and lasagna. This recipes makes enough seasoning to transform 20 pounds of ground pork into delicious Italian sausage.
This recipe makes enough seasoning mix for 20 pounds of ground pork so you can mix up a batch and use it as you need it.
One drawback of this recipe is that it calls for star anise and fennel seed, but these are the key flavors in Italian sausage. Both of these are available in Kampala (I got mine at Embassy Supermarket) but they come in whole seeds and they need to be ground for the seasoning mix. I grind my anise and fennel using our coffee grinder. I clean the grinder well, blend up some rice to remove any lingering flavors, wipe it out, then blend the spices. After blending, be sure to clean the grinder well again. A friend of mine used a handheld pepper grinder to grind her anise and fennel. Unfortunately, my spice blender that came with my blender does not blend the anise and fennel seed sufficiently and they are too hard for a mortar and pestle. You might as well try your spice blender first, in case it is up to the challenge of the spices.
Cost - Benefit
Prep time: 20 minutes
Makes enough seasoning mix for 20 pounds ground pork
1 tablespoon (15 mL) anise seed
1 tablespoon fennel seed
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup (120 mL) ground paprika
2 tablespoons (30 mL) salt
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1-2 tablespoons red pepper flakes
Begin by grinding the anise seed and fennel seed into powder. If you have whole black peppercorns instead of ground black pepper, you can combine them with the anise and fennel and grind them all together. Use 1 tablespoon of black pepper either way. Once your seeds are ground, transfer to a bowl and combine with paprika, salt, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes. It is best to start with 1 tablespoon of red pepper flakes and you can add more if your first batch of Italian sausage isn't spicy enough. Store seasoning mix in an airtight container for up to six months.
To use, combine one pound of ground pork, one tablespoon of seasoning mix, and one tablespoon of vegetable oil in a skillet.
The flavor is best if you are able to combine the ground pork, seasoning mix, and oil and store in the refrigerator for 24 hours to let the flavors meld. Alternatively, if you are running short on time you can sprinkle the mix over the pork as you brown it in the skillet. If you are really short on time and your ground pork is only partially defrosted, you can brown it fully in the skillet, then sprinkle the seasoning mix over the cooked pork and add a quarter-cup of water. Cook together until the seasoning mix is well distributed and the water has evaporated.