Whenever I visit a diner or breakfast eatery, I usually order the quintessential American breakfast plate – eggs, toast, hash browns and bacon/sausage. Every so often, I may look for healthier options to substitute for the hash browns or meat, and many restaurants in Southern California offer a turkey sausage option as an alternative. But I can’t tell you the number of times I have been disappointed after ordering the turkey sausage. So often the turkey sausage is dry and tough, falling short of its pork counterpart, but it doesn’t have to. (I can hear the naysayers already – BUT BACON!) As proof, today I am sharing my juicy and moist turkey sausage recipe.
There are three key steps to ensure a moist and juicy sausage. First, I use ground turkey meat and not ground turkey breast, because breast meat tends to be more dry. The ground turkey meat has dark meat in the mixture, which yields a juicier result. Second, I add finely-grated onions to the sausage mixture. The grated onion creates moisture pockets in the meat when cooked. Finally, I gently incorporate the ingredients until the mixture is just combined. Over-mixing will also contribute to a tougher sausage. Follow these steps and I guarantee you’ll have juicy and moist little turkey sausages. Enjoy!
Turkey Breakfast Sausage
Yield: 8 patties
1/2 teaspoon of fennel seeds
1 1/2 tablespoon of grated onion
1/2 garlic clove, minced
12 ounces of organic ground turkey (not ground turkey breast)
2 teaspoons of brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon of sweet paprika
3/4 teaspoon of sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
Pinch of red pepper flakes, optional
Olive oil or sunflower oil for frying
1. Add the fennel seeds to a small sauté pan. Toast at medium-low heat for about 3 minutes. Transfer the toasted fennel seeds into a clean coffee grinder. Pulse 3 times. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, add the ground fennel seeds, grated onion, minced garlic, ground turkey, brown sugar, thyme, paprika, sea salt, three turns of the black pepper mill, and a pinch of red pepper flakes, if using.
3. Using your clean hands, mix all the ingredients until just combined. Don’t over-mix. Using a medium-sized ice cream scoop, portion out the patties onto parchment paper.
4. Using a large sheet of plastic wrap, cover the patties and press on them until you get round patties about 1/2″ in thickness.
5. Heat a large frying pan to medium heat. Add two tablespoons of olive oil.
6. Once the oil is hot, add the sausage patties. Fry them in two batches so you don’t crowd the pan.
7. Fry for 2-3 minutes or until you get a nice sear. Flip the patties and cook for another two minutes.
8. Serve immediately with some eggs.