October 2, 2008
Growing up in the south, breakfast just wasn’t breakfast without some kind of meat included (a real breakfast anyway – cold cereal doesn’t count). I used to eat all kinds of stuff that today I don’t even touch – pork bacon, livermush, fried bologna, pork sausage patties or links, and my old favorite, corned beef hash.
Now that I rarely, if ever, eat pork (or beef for that matter), my breakfast is usually vegetarian and occasionally includes turkey bacon. Many times when I go out for breakfast, I look for a veggie or turkey sausage/bacon substitute; however, I’ve found that most places don’t even give you that option.
When it comes to cooking breakfast at home, I shop for turkey bacon, which is pretty easy to find. I also look for Morning Star veggie sausage patties (I’m not crazy about the links). Chicken sausages are tasty also, although they usually have a pork casing. But one thing I’ve noticed is that I don’t really see turkey sausage patties outside of the occasional restaurant. So this week when I was trying to decide what to do with some of the left over sage that I purchased to make Tuscan white bean soup, turkey sausage patties came to mind.
Before beginning, I looked at a variety of sausage recipes from a variety of sources to get an idea of how to go about making sausage at home (Joy of Cooking, The Gourmet Cookbook, RecipeZaar.com, AllRecipes.com). Different versions called for pork sausage and a few others used chicken or turkey. All used sage, but the other ingredients differed from recipe to recipe. My recipe uses fresh sage, dried thyme, paprika, nutmeg, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Other versions included eggs, allspice, fennel, cayenne pepper and ground cloves.
The recipe below is a good starting point for tasty turkey sausage patties that you can make for yourself, your family, and guests you invite over for brunch. I based my selection of ingredients on simplicity and what intuitively makes sense to me, but I will probably try other recipes and spice combinations to find the perfect taste according to my palette since I’m still searching for something (I can’t quite put my finger on it) to punch up the flavor a little bit. I recommend trying the recipe a few times and playing around with different amounts of spices and herbs to find the flavor that suits your taste.
No matter what, don’t over cook the patties or press them down making the juices flow out as you’re cooking. This will result in a dry patty.
Turkey Sausage Patties
Makes about 10 patties
1 pound ground turkey (don’t get “ground turkey breast” or the 99% fat-free ground turkey)
1 tbs fresh sage, finely chopped
3/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 – 3 dashes of freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Place the ground turkey in a large bowl. Add all other ingredients and mix together well. Spoon out enough seasoned turkey to roll into a golf-ball sized ball. Then pat into a 1/2 inch thick patty. Continue until you have all of the meat divided and shaped into patties.
Heat a non-stick skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Place several patties into the skillet (do not overcrowd the pan) and cook on one side for about 4 minutes, then flip the patties and cook on the other side for an additional 4 minutes. Remove patties from the pan and set aside. Cook the remaining patties. Let cooked patties sit for a minute or two before eating in order to allow the juices inside to settle. Remember, don’t squeeze down on the patties as they are cooking. This will make the juices run out and leave you with a dry interior.
NOTE: You can freeze cooked patties and reheat in the microwave for about 1 minute per patty. You can also prepare the turkey mixture the night before and cook in the morning. The uncooked turkey mixture/patties can keep in the refrigerator for up to three days.