My favorite breakfast sausage is sold at Burt's Meat Market on Lyons. After eating a mountain of this stuff, I wondered how hard it would be to make breakfast sausage at home. So I started working on a recipe using pork loin and bacon. And I realized that if you cut off every speck of ligament and hard fat, you could whip up small batches of patty sausage in a food processor.

Of course, I still use a meat grinder to make large batches of sausage or for tougher cuts of meat. When you make sausage in a meat grinder, the machine breaks down any hard fat or gristle for you.

But if you use more a expensive cut of pork without gristle, you can get away with this quickie food processor recipe. And making your own breakfast sausage with a Cusinart, a pound at a time, is so easy you will amaze yourself.

Easy Breakfast Sausage

If you don't like sage, substitute Mexican mint marigold or whatever herbs you have in the garden. Fresh red jalapeños look really pretty in the finished product, but pickled jalapeños give the sausage a nice vinegary kick. Don't skip the crucial step of checking the seasonings by frying a little before you finish grinding!

  • 10 ounces pork loin
  • 6 ounces bacon
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh or pickled jalapeño (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Half teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Chop the pork and bacon into small dice. Remove any ligament from the pork chop. Place all ingredients in the food processor and process for 10 seconds, or until coarsely ground. Fry a teaspoon-sized piece of the sausage in a hot skillet and taste it. Adjust the seasonings and process another 5-10 seconds to combine the added spices and grind to desired consistency. Hand-form the meat mixture into patties and cook them in a skillet over medium heat until cooked through, about five minutes.

Serve with biscuits, eggs, and cheese grits.

Makes one pound.

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