Yesterday,  J and I had a playful argument about the merits of brunch. (I’m generally against it, at least going out for it. Why? Cons include: cranky, hungover waitstaffs, mediocre food, irritating lines, and a desire to remain unshowered as long as possible on Sundays. J, however — I think more than anything because he cannot resist any opportunity to play Devil’s advocate — was taking a pro position.)

Anyway, while usually I am a pretty formidable sparring partner, after more than a decade together, I have accepted the fact that I almost always lose to J in a war of words. Seriously: the guy could talk a tiger out of its stripes.

I do however, have other powers of persuasion. And my solution to the brunch brouhaha was to head to the kitchen and make the biggest, happiest, homiest breakfast that anyone could ever want. I had eggs straight from the farm market, with yolks the size of silver dollars. Feathery pancakes whipped with Greek yogurt and maple sugar. Crunchy hash flecked with hot peppers. And a mountain of muffins, stuffed with cherries and oatmeal and almonds. (I’ll get around to posting all of those recipes eventually this week.) But I want to start with the pièces de résistance, the one way I knew would be quickest to my opponent’s heart: the homemade breakfast sausages.

You see, in this era of bacon worship, J remains a staunch sausage partisan (see, I told you: Devil’s advocate). Link, patties, he likes ’em all. But growing up, in both of our households, breakfast sausages were something that came frozen in a yellow box. So, you can imagine that the revelation that I could make them (In our own kitchen! All by myself!) — well, this came as something of a coup.

So, here it is: making sausage (patties, especially) is so simple you won’t want to admit it. Really all it takes is a pound of ground pork as a blank canvas; add chile, fennel seeds, mustard powder — the exact equation is up to you. Mix and pan fry and sigh. And that’s it. Now, while we may not be able to come to terms on brunch, in this house we do now at least agree on one thing:

Jimmy Dean, we have seen the last of you.

1 lb. ground pork
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground red chile
1 teaspoon sage
1 teaspoon crushed fennel seed
1 teaspoon Colmans mustard powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1. Combine pork and spices in a large mixing bowl with salt and pepper. Mix with your hands until the spices are evenly distributed throughout the meat.

2. Form the mixture into 8 patties, each about 2″ wide and 1⁄2″ thick. Poke each patty in the middle so that it is slightly depressed — this will help it keep a flat shape, rather than puffing up. (If you have time, this would be the time to refrigerate the patties for 1 hour or overnight to let the flavors mellow and meld. If you don’t have the time, continue…)

3. Heat olive oil in a large killet over a medium flame. Working in batches, pan fry patties, turning once, until browned, about 3-4 minutes per side.

4. Serve with fried eggs, hash, pancakes, and maple syrup. Or just eat ’em plain. Your choice.


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