Homemade Chicken, Spinach and Bacon Sausage Patties and Links

I don't care to eat most store-bought sausage (ditto with store bought ground beef) and instead, I like to grind our own.  I like knowing exactly what is in our food, know there are no fillers or preservatives and by using fewer cuts of meat to mix, there is a less likely chance of contamination of things like e. Coli, etc. 

Now that I'm so comfortable with grinding and making our own chicken sausage, I improvise when I make it, using up what we have on hand, what I think sounds good that day or new flavors I want to try.  We use these sausages on buns, in other dishes like my spicy chicken and pasta recipes, grilled and ate with no buns, fried in a pan, broiled in the oven, on breakfast sandwiches... etc.  

Here is my original recipe to start with and the one I now improvise on in little or big ways -  Chicken Sausage Recipe

This particular version below, I went heavy on the bacon!  Not only because we love bacon - but because I didn't have any fatback and didn't want to go to the store.  I also added some homemade pesto because it needed to be used up (you can see the green pesto in the photo below). 

Homemade Chicken Sausage - improvise to your wants/needs

5 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts - cubed
as many slices bacon you wish (adjust to your preference level of bacon taste/flavor in this one)  You want the fat content or your sausage will be dry. Fatback is preferred for less bacon flavor
1 1/2 T ground coriander
2-4 t salt (start with 2 and adjust after you taste test.  I like to use 3)
2 T fresh garlic, pressed, chopped or minced
Spinach (I've used both frozen and fresh - about 3/4 c frozen, chopped or about 1 1/2 cups fresh leaves)
1/4 c olive oil - I added a little more to make up for the lack of fatback this time
dash or two of lemon juice
dash of lemon pepper
*I added some pesto to this one to use it up
Meat Grinder
Casings of your choice for links or form into patties with no additional casings or stuffing attachment

Follow the directions on your meat grinder.  Grind the chicken, bacon, garlic and spinach into a large bowl.  Add the rest of your seasoning ingredients to the ground mixture in the bowl.  Mix well.  Taste test by cooking a small patty of your mixture on the stove in a bit of oil.  Adjust the flavorings to your liking and test again.  When you are happy with the cooked taste of your sausage, continue.

To make PATTIES:  Simply grind everything and form into patties about the size of a typical thin hamburger. I freeze ours after food sealing them 2 to a package or sometimes just freeze them between parchment paper in a freezer container or a Ziploc Freezer bag.

To make LINKS:  Attach the stuffing tool per your grinder's instructions.  Attach the casing onto the stuffing tube per your grinder's instructions and your casing instructions regarding whether your casings need to be rinsed first, etc.  Re-feed the chicken now ground and seasoned, into the machine and form long tubes per your casing instructions being sure to secure the end first so your sausage doesn't come out!  Be sure not to overstuff, you want to leave room to twist and form sausages.

Holding the rope in small sections in my hands like a tiny jump rope, I spin the sausages a couple times away from me to twist the ends. This forms a sausage.  Now I moved my hands down a little more and holding the first twist in my left hand, and squishing the sausage up about an inch on the right, I placed my fingers there and I spun another chunk of the sausage, but this time spinning towards me (the opposite way).

Continue moving your hands down small sections of the sausage rope, alternating spinning the 'jump rope' away from you and towards you, which forms the twists between the sausages. Make sure you are squishing enough room between the sausage links (about an inch) to form the twists.  Let the ropes set while you finish all the chicken mixture.  You can store as is, or snip them apart with scissors.  These freeze well.  I seal them in food saver style packages, and place in freezer.  To prepare, thaw and boil, broil or grill.  I like to parboil them in 2 inches of water in a saucepan on the stove and then when I'm ready to serve, I just quickly grill or broil them to make them golden brown and crisp on the outside. 

Start with the basic recipe and improvise if you wish

I added some pesto to use it up and extra bacon to make up for the lack of fatback (didn't want to go to the store)

My grinder is a low cost, affordable version we found at Lowe's but you can also buy on Amazon below this post

Mix it all well and cook a little bit in the microwave or a pan on the stove to 'taste test' before proceeding to finish

I did both links and patties! We freeze them and use in recipes, grilled, on buns, etc.

Patties are quick, easy and don't require additional stuffing attachments or casings

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