Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Family Tradition- Annual Sausage Making

A bit behind on the posting, but late last year(just in time for the holidays) members of the Dragna family got together for a tradition that goes back as long as I can remember....home-made Italian sausage.

Once our mother(Frankie) passed away in May of 2000, our family lost the "hub" that kept us somewhat connected. With no central location to assemble for birthdays, holidays, and other familial events, we were in great danger of losing some special traditions. Leslie and I(with the help of family) decided to carry on two of them. The annual Christmas Eve gathering of family and friends and the topic of this post, Italian sausage making.

Italian sausage is so simple, from an ingredient standpoint, it is ridiculous. What it does for me emotionally, however, can not be calculated. The process of gathering ingredients, trimming the pork butt, grinding the meat(Jack has gotten very good at this), mixing the first batch and finally getting to the point of a test patty is borderline euphoric. Once the kitchen fills up with the aroma of the sausage frying and that hint of licorice from the fennel, I can vividly remember the times I shared this exact same experience with my mom.

I have no idea how old the above recipe is, but it is the same ratios we have used for more than a couple of generations. By the way "pebber" is black pepper and the (12) denoted under fennel is a guideline that you may need more than 8 ounces, up to 12 of fennel depending on how aromatic it is.

For me, the Christmas holidays have not truly arrived until our sausage is made.