- 700 grams ground chicken thigh meat
- diced onions, garlic, or leeks
- 1 egg
- black pepper
I have the unfortunate displeasure of intense intestinal discomfort whenever I eat (intentionally or not) meat products derived from the class mammalia. That means I do not get to partake in the joys of savoring carefully massaged wagyu beef, or the locally hunted wild boar, or the internationally protested whale meat that is quite popular around here.
On the plus side, doctors say you shouldn’t eat too much red meat anyway, and whether that’s true or not I’ll take what good news I can get. The other good news is that duck is not quite as rare in Japan as it is in the US and fish is, if you weren’t aware, quite popular here. Now they do sell “fish sausage” here, but it’s really no different from kamaboko or nerimono except in shape, which is a shame, because given proper spices and flavoring they could have an international delicacy on their hands.
Given all of that and my implacable desire to eat sausage, I have discovered the only true means to sate my hunger: chicken. Chicken is everywhere, it’s probably the most popular animal in the world for harvesting muscle tissue and turning it into calories. Needless to say, it’s common here in rural Japan as well.
The real problem with chicken is not that it lacks flavor, but that it has a very different composition than something like beef or pork, namely it’s quite lean. That’s cool if you’re into weird low-fat diets, but it sucks if you’re trying to make sausage. On the upside, you can choose your body part when it comes to ground meat in Japan, thereby selecting the parts with higher fat content. Choose thigh meat, “momo niku”.
Two medium sized packs, or four small packs should be sufficient. You will also need freshly ground black pepper, good salt, and sage. Reminds me of that song… If you don’t have sage, go home, you’re not making sausage today. If you want to get delicious, procure some garlic, onions, leeks, or other similar aromatic vegetable. I also recommend adding a well beaten egg. Parent and child!
Let’s Get Cooking!
Sprinkle the bottom of a large mixing bowl with your seasonings and your diced onions/garlic/leeks. Throw in the meat. Add another layer of seasonings on top. Add your egg. Mix with your hands until everything is thoroughly worked together. Form into the shape you prefer to do your eating in, I recommend either cylinders or patties, though you could go meatball on this recipe if you liked.
Add your shaped sausages to a heated pan and let it cook. Turn the meat as it gets browned. Cook until sufficiently heated to kill pathogens but not to the point of destroying the flavor. Profit.
Develop a sense for how long it takes meat to get cooked all the way through based on its thickness and how it moves when you prod it with chopsticks or tongs. Never overcook meat, you’re just destroying a wonderful experience. Undercooking meat is a gamble… on the one hand salmonella really sucks, on the other the Japanese serve sashimi anything.