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Italian Sausage


1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seed
1/2 teaspoon sage
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
1 tablespoon oregano
2 pounds pork butt (2 1/2 pounds with bone), diced into 1/4-inch pieces
5 feet of 36 millimeter collagen casings (do not allow to get wet at any time)
Shortening, to lubricate nozzle of stuffer
Special equipment - meat grinder with stuffing attachment or manual stuffer

Toast fennel seed in medium sized, heavy saute pan over medium heat, constantly moving seeds around in pan until they start to turn light brown, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool. Once cool, grind seeds and combine with other seasonings in medium mixing bowl. Add pork and blend thoroughly. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Using the fine blade of a grinder, grind the pork. After lubricating stuffer or stuffing attachment with shortening, load casing onto attachment, clipping end with a clothespin.

Stuff meat into casings, trying to avoid air pockets. After stuffing is finished lay out on counter and tie off end. Pinch and twist to form 4-inch sausages. Wrap in parchment paper and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours. Store in refrigerator for use within 2 to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

If freezing, wrap in aluminum foil.

If using immediately, saute over medium heat in a heavy saute pan with 1/4-inch of water. Bring water to boil, put on lid and cook for 10 minutes. Remove lid and continue cooking over medium heat, turning every 2 to 3 minutes until golden brown.