One of these days I’m going to get serious about answering a question that’s been nagging me for a while: how many uses can I get out of a single chicken? Let’s see…if a whole roast chicken is the primary meal, I can use leftover meat to make my ever-popular “chicken balls” with hand made pasta. I can use the carcass, feet, and neck to make stock for a hearty soup. I can use the giblets for…well, if there’s only one heart, gizzard and liver, not much - and they might as well go into the stock pot or in stuffing. But if I have a whole mountain of chicken hearts, gizzards and livers (as I often do right after volunteering to help slaughter chickens at Glynwood farm) then I’ll definitely make at least three additional dishes: chicken liver paté, teriyaki chicken hearts, and deep fried chicken gizzards. Oh my! But back to the story. I wanted to create something new with my bags o’ giblets this time. Could I manipulate them into some form of chicken sausage? I’d never made any kind of sausage before.
After a day of experimentation, the answer was “maybe”. I failed to make sausage but I think it’s still a good possibility with some – or maybe just one – pretty significant modification of the ingredients.
Follow the Read More link below to see exactly what I did (wrong) and what I’ll do next time…
Can I make sausage with chicken hearts, gizzards and some fat and skin?
My research indicates that keeping everything cold (or frozen) is the key to sausage making. I started by freezing the skin and fat.
While the skin was freezing, I "filleted" the gizzards.
I'll use the fillets and throw the silver skin outside for the crows.
I bisected the hearts - only because the hearts of these pasture raised chickens are twice as big as the grocery store variety.
I added lotsa herbs and spices. No salt yet because I don't want any water coming out of the meat.
I mixed it up.
Then I popped the meat into the freezer with the fat and skin.
I also put my grinder in the freezer.
I read that adding some liquid helps "bind" the sausage together so I'll use some chicken stock. I'll dissolve the salt in here.
I cut the frozen skin and fat into smaller pieces.
Meat and fat into the grinder.
Hmm...pretty much looks like sausage...
...but I can tell something isn't right.
I suspect that the main problem here is that chicken fat is too soft for sausage making. Compared to beef or pork fat, it's really soft and loose at room temperature. I bet using some pork fat instead could make this work. But that kinda bums out my mission, which is to make what I can from only chicken parts. Kind of a silly mission, so I may try this again some time with a different type of fat.
I'm not going to let a texture problem stop me from sampling this meat, so I added the salted chicken stock...
...and mixed it in.
I formed a couple sausage patties and tossed 'em in a hot pan.
They didn't hold together and the texture was all crumbly and wrong, but the failed chicken sausage experiment tasted great. I used some of the meat to make a bolognese sauce that my husband loved (he has declined to eat my chicken liver pate, teriyaki hearts or fried gizzards). I'd use it on pizza, and I think it would make a great country gravy to go with buttermilk biscuits.