Lamb or Goat Italian Sausage
If you’ve ever wanted a simple, delicious, trustworthy recipe for Italian sausage made from lamb or goat, this is the recipe you’re looking for.
Being trained as a butcher and charcuterie maker in a restaurant where I was sous chef to celebrity Chef Lenny Russo, I learned a thing or two about making sausage. When I just want a simple, delicious sausage though, the recipe I reach for is probably the simplest one I know: a basic Italian-style fennel sausage passed onto me by an Italian chef.
The Italian chef was Fillipo Caffari, a butcher and chef from Rome who’s had a storied career in the Twin Cities restaurant industry being at the helm of some of the most accoladed Italian restaurants in the area. I can still remember the first time I tasted his fennel sausage: the juicy texture, fiery heat from the crushed red pepper and addicting aroma of toasted, coarsely crushed fennel dancing around on my palate.
When I got to make the sausage myself a few times, I was really surprised to see how simple it was. There were only a handful of ingredients: fennel seed, crushed red pepper, black pepper, and salt. Nothing else. I thought there must be some secret ingredient that got added along the way, some herb or spice or something that made it so delicious. Years later I have a better appreciation for simple food, and I understand now that the lack of a bunch of other spices or ingredients is exactly why it tasted so good.
Like most things, there’s a couple things to note about the recipe (and sausage making in general) but they’re mostly technique based, and do not require any sort of special equipment or processes beyond the meat grinder and sausage stuffer you’ll need to make any sausage at home. That being said, if you don’t have a sausage stuffer or a meat grinder, you can make a decent version of this sausage using our grass-fed, ground lamb or goat, but it won’t be exactly the same, and it may not be quite as juicy since there’s a special sort of magic that happens when you make sausage out of only shoulder.
This recipe is by Chef Alan Bergo, the Forager Chef. A chef from Minnesota, Alan is a culinary industry veteran, former executive chef of acclaimed Lucia’s Restaurant, and the Salt Cellar. Author of The Forager Chef’s Book of Flora, he’s one of the most respected voices in the world of foraging and wild food. He’s best known as the founder of Forager Chef, his website focused on wild ingredients that reaches millions of readers each year. Learn more about Chef Alan and his hunt for mushrooms, wild and obscure foods at foragerchef.com.
Looking to buy lamb or goat online? Shepherd Song Farm: Grass to table. We raise lambs & goats traditionally, humanely and sustainably. 100% Grass Fed, Pasture Raised, Never Confined, no Hormones, Grains or Animal Byproducts. Born, raised and processed in the U.S.A. Good for you and good for the environment.
Lamb or Goat Hot Italian Sausage
- 3 lbs lamb shoulder removed from the bone
- 1 tablespoon dried fennel seed
- 1 % salt
- ¾ T black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Dice and season the meat
- Dice the lamb shoulder into 1 inch pieces. Meanwhile, toast the fennel seed and black pepper, then grind/pulse a couple times in a spice grinder to break them up a bit. The spices should not be finely ground.
- Mix the lamb with the spices, salt, and crushed red pepper flakes, then transfer to a container and allow to rest overnight.
- The next day, grind the lamb through the medium die of a meat grinder, then pack into casings, tying them off at your preferred length. I like 2 oz, or small sausages, but you can make them whatever size you like.
- These are fantastic anywhere you would use Italian sausage, and are particularly good grilled until medium-rare, then sliced into coins and warmed up with pasta. They can also be simmered whole in sauces until nearly falling apart.