Archive | December, 2009

The “R” Word


Frank Isernio shares his for 2010:

    • To exercise enough so that I can eat everything I want without changing my pants size!
    • To expand the availability of Isernio’s Sausage to the East Coast
    • To tell everyone in my life how special they are to me

How do yours compare?

Tell us what your resolutions are for the New Year!

12 Days of Sausage – Recipe #5

Think of it as our gift to you: 12 unique recipes created by Seattle chefs using Isernio’s products.

sausage corndogs 413pxToday’s 12 Days of Sausage recipe comes from Susan Neel, co-owner of McCrea Cellars. She says:

“Having spent part of my youth in the south (Georgia, to be precise), I developed an early love for southern food that continues to this day.  And what is more southern than collard greens and cornbread?  This recipe requires a little time, but can be made almost entirely ahead – cut, sauced and plated just before serving.   The collards are wonderful to work with – sturdier than cabbage leaves and definitely prettier.  The brief blanching softens them enough to allow for an easy ‘roll’ without losing the dark forest green color.  They’re really good for you, too!”


Collard-Wrapped Sausage “Corn Dogs”
Makes 80 rolls

Step One:  Make the Cornbread

    • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil or bacon fat
    • 1 ¼ cups stone-ground white cornmeal (fine, not coarse – I like Albers brand)
    • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • ½ tablespoon plus ½ teaspoon baking powder
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ⅜ teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 ½ cups buttermilk at room temperature
    • 1 extra-large egg at room temperature
    • ¾ stick (3 ounces) unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 425°.  Position the rack in the middle of the oven.  Pour the oil/fat into an 8-by-8-inch pyrex baking dish and heat in the oven.  In a large bowl, whisk the cornmeal with the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda.  In another bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the egg.  Pour the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients, add the melted butter and stir with a wooden spoon until just blended; do not overmix.

Remove the baking dish from the oven and swirl to coat with the oil.  Scrape the batter into the hot dish and bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until springy and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  Invert onto a wire rack and let cool.  Turn the oven down to 375°.  Crumble the corn bread into small chunks and spread on a large baking sheet.  Bake the corn bread for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until dry and golden.

Step Two:   Brown the Sausage

    • 2 packages Isernio’s Breakfast Sausage 
    • Bacon fat

In a large skillet, working in batches, thoroughly brown the sausages in a little bacon fat over medium-high heat.  Let the sausages sit in one place long enough to get nice and brown.  Turn so that all sides are evenly browned.  Remove to a rack and cool thoroughly.

Step Three:  Make the Stuffing

    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • ¾ lb chorizo, casings removed, coarsely chopped
    • 1 small onion, finely chopped
    • 2 small celery ribs, finely chopped
    • Salt and freshly ground pepper
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 ¼ cups chicken or turkey stock or canned low-sodium broth

Melt the butter in a large skillet.  Add the chorizo and cook over moderately low heat for 5 minutes.  Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring, until softened, about 10 minutes.  Remove from the heat.  Let cool completely.

Scrape the corn bread into a large bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.  In a bowl, whisk the eggs with the stock and pour over the stuffing; mix well.

(Note:  after finishing this entire recipe you will probably have stuffing left over.  To use it up, butter a shallow baking dish, fill with stuffing mixture, cover and bake at 375° for 20 – 25 minutes, until heated through.  Uncover and bake another 10 minutes or until browned.  Serve hot.)

Step Four:  Prep the Collard Leaves

    •  4 bunches large collard leaves – the larger the better.  This is approximate.  You need enough leaves to wrap 20 sausages.  If a leaf is really large, it can wrap two sausages.  If the leaf is smaller, it will only wrap one sausage.
    • 3 cups chicken or turkey stock for blanching

Wash the leaves in cold water.  Using a small paring knife, trim the large center vein from each leaf, effectively cutting it in half length-wise.

Heat the stock to a low simmer (not a boil) in a large heavy pot.  If your stock is completely de-fatted, add a little bacon fat, butter or oil to the stock.  This adds a nice sheen to the leaves and keeps them from sticking together after they’re cooked.

Working in batches, submerge the leaves completely in the hot stock for 1 ½ minutes per batch.  The stock should be very hot, but not boiling.  Remove to a wire rack and immediately shock in cold water to arrest the cooking.  (I just rinsed them with my sink sprayer.)

Step Five:  Assemble and cook the rolls

Blanched Collard Leaves

Cooked and cooled sausages

Cooled stuffing mixture

Leftover chicken/turkey stock, plus extra if necessary

Preheat oven to 350°; position rack in the middle of the oven.

It’s important that everything is cool.

Lay a single large (or two small) leaves on your cutting board.  If using 2 leaves, make sure the veins are parallel.  Place a sausage in the lower third of the leaf, parallel to the veining.  (You’ll figure out why this is important the first time you try it the wrong way.)  Make sure there’s enough leaf on each side of the sausage to “tuck in.”  Using your fingers,  pack enough stuffing mixture to completely coat the top and sides of the sausage.  Your stuffing should be moist enough to hold together.  Start rolling the leaf from the bottom, tucking in the sides so the sausage and stuffing are completely encased.

As you work, place the rolls in a large baking dish or roasting pan.  When they’re all assembled, pour in at least one inch of stock.  Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil.  Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the collards have lost some of their color.  Check the pan periodically and add more liquid if needed.  Don’t let the pan dry out or the rolls will burn.

Remove to a rack and cool completely.

Step Five:  Cut and Plate the Rolls

For the garnishing sauce:  (adjust to your taste)  Mix together:

    • ⅓ cup mayonnaise
    • ½ cup dijon mustard
    • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
    • 1 tablespoon finely chopped rinsed capers

Put in a small zip-lock bag and cut a small piece off one corner.

Once the rolls are completely cooled, cut each one into four pieces.  Arrange on a serving platter.  Pipe a small dollop of the sauce on each one.  Serve with or without toothpicks.

Check out a photo slideshow of this recipe here!

12 Days of Sausage – Recipe #4

7 out of oven

Think of it as our gift to you: 12 unique recipes created by Seattle chefs using Isernio’s products.

Today’s 12 Days of Sausage recipe comes from someone who is very familiar with our products, Margaret Isernio.


Margherita’s Frittata
Serves 6 – 8 as a main course

    • 17 eggs
    • 4 Isernio’s Mild or Hot Sausages, casings removed or 1 lb. Italian Chicken roll
    • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
    • 1 sweet yellow onion, coarsely chopped
    • 1 large shallot, coarsely chopped
    • 5 cloves garlic, pressed
    • 1-1 lb. pkg. frozen spinach, thawed in microwave, all liquid squeezed out
    • 1/4 cup proscuitto, thinly sliced into bits
    • 1/2 cup Parmesano Reggiano, finely grated
    • 1/2 cup pecorino romano, finely grated
    • 1/2 cup mozzarella, coarsely grated
    • 1/8 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg
    • 1/2 tsp. pepper
    • about 3 tsp. salt

Optional – 1 bunch of Asparagus, steamed, dried and sliced into 1″  pieces.
(NOTE: Use half as much Spinach, if adding Asparagus)

Pre-heat oven to 300°. Cook sausage in a large 12″ non-stick oven proof skillet on medium heat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon into small pieces. Cook until the meat just looses it’s pink color, do not over cook, then transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate. Add butter to the skillet and melt. Add onion and some salt, cook until soft, about 15 minutes. Add shallot and garlic, cook for a few minutes until shallot is soft. Add spinach and cook for about 5 minutes. Stir in proscuitto bits and cooked sausage. Turn off heat. Crack eggs in a large bowl and add Parmesano, Pecorino, Nutmeg, Salt & Pepper, blend well using a fork or wire whisk. Add Egg mixture to skillet. Mix with a large spatula and fold in the Mozzarella. Place Asparagus pieces in now, if using. Make sure everything is distributed evenly. Place skillet in the pre-heated oven for 25 – 30 minutes. May need to turn on Broiler and place skillet under broiler for about 5 minutes, until top is golden. Let cool slightly for 5 minutes. Run a large spatula around the edge of the skillet to loosen the Frittata, transfer it, top side up, using the spatula, to a large platter. Cool for about 30 minutes before serving, or cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator if not serving immediately.

Can make up to 5 days ahead.

Check out more photos of this recipe here!

Being Frank

frank isernio

Each week, our founder asing captain, Frank Isernio will answer one of your questions. Whether it’s regarding sausage, Isernio’s history, quality control or how to make a killer lasagne, Frank is here to help extinguish the flames of your burning curiosity. 

This week’s question hails from Tacoma, WA.

Q: What is the difference between fresh and cooked sausage?

A: Fresh sausage is simply ground meat. It’s put in an all-natural casing. You have to think of it like fresh meat and without any additives. All it has is seasonings, so it has to be shipped out the day it’s processed. There’s nothing  (no additives) to preserve its shelf life.  It’s got to be cooked within nine days of the times it’s made, whereas a cooked sausage, like a hot dog, can go 30 to 40 days  or more before they go bad.

If you’re using beautiful meat, like Isernio’s is,  you want to preserve that juiciness so you want those chunks of meat to be as course as possible when you’re grinding it. If you’re talking about a hot dog, which began as a receptacle for everything the packing houses didn’t use, they turned that into an emulsion which is basically like a puree. That method can hide a lot, it can be consistent. These days, you see a lot of sausages where the texture is almost like a hot dog, which just doesn’t do it for me, personally. So, adding preservatives, I don’t think it really changes the flavor of sausage, but to really experience the juiciness of a sausage, fresh sausage is the way to go.

Got a question for Frank? Leave it in the comments section below, on Facebook or  Twitter.

12 Days of Sausage – Recipe #3

12 days of sausage Dec 14
Think of it as our gift to you: 12 unique recipes created by Seattle chefs using Isernio’s products.

Today’s 12 Days of Sausage recipe comes from Seattle’s very own culinary socialite and caterer, Rocky Yeh.


Sausage Crepinettes

    • 8 Isernio’s Bangers, casings removed
    • 1/3 lb caul fat soaked in water (NOTE: caul fat can be found at most butcher shops. Soaking it in water makes it easier to work with, just squeeze water out before use)
    • 8 sage leaves, pre-frying optional
    • butter

Over 2-3 inch ring mold place piece of caul fat about twice the size of the mold. Lay down sage leaf, then fill with banger, using approximately the amount from one link. Wrap up with caul fat forming a cylindrical package. Remove from ring mold. Repeat until you have 8 packages. Melt butter in skillet over medium heat. Cook crepinettes 5-7 minutes on. each side (the caul fat will cook away leaving a crispy exterior). Remove from heat and drizzle shallot sauce over it (recipe below).

Shallot Sauce

    • 1 large shallot, or about ½ to ¾ cup finely minced
    • 4 tbsp butter
    • 1 cup ham, veal, or beef stock, ham preferred
    • 1 cup port
    • Salt and pepper

Heat saucepan over medium heat, melt two tbsp of butter.  Add shallots. Reduce heat to low, cover and caramelize shallots for 30-45 minutes stirring occasionally. Bring heat up to high and add stock, reduce by half.  Add port, and reduce by half.  If you want a very smooth sauce, use a hand blender at this point to blend the sauce. Mount sauce with remaining butter and remove from heat.

Check out more photos of this recipe here!

Favorite Foods: Categorized

Favorite foods catagory

After reading this article we got to thinking about our favorite foods. There are almost too many to name. But if we had to chose: Starch = handmade pasta Veg = roasted parsnips or squash Fruit = sweet heirloom tomatoes (unless red wine counts as a fruit) Meat = Isernio’s hot Italian chicken sausage  Liquor = red wine Guilty Pleasure = tiramisu.

What are yours?

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12 Days of Sausage – Recipe #2

12 days of Sausage
Today’s 12 Days of Sausage recipe comes from Andrew Lanier, former Chef de Cuisine of Crush and host of  “Inside the Kitchen Door” on the Small Screen Network.


Portuguese Style Soup with Spicy Sausage & Clams

    • 2 quarts chicken stock
    • 1# Isernio’s spicy Italian sausage, sliced
    • 1# clams
    • 1 cup diced leeks
    • 1/2 cup diced onion
    • 1/2 cup diced celery
    • 1 T. minced garlic
    • 2 cups chopped lacinato kale
    • 1 cup diced red potatoes
    • 2 tsp. chopped rosemary
    • 2 T. chopped parsley
    • 1/2 cup olive oil
    • 2 tsp. smoked paprika
    • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander seed
    • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
    • 1/2 tsp. ground fennel
    • 1 T. salt

Heat a large pot on high heat. Add the olive oil, and when hot, brown the sausage in the oil. Turn the heat down to medium. Add the spices, stir with the sausage for one minute, or until aromatic. Add the salt, garlic, leeks, onion, and celery. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the vegetables are softened. Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Add the kale, potatoes, rosemary, and parsely. Simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the potatoes are almost cooked all the way through. Add the clams, stir, and cover the pot. Cook for 3-4 minutes more, until the clams open up. Ladle the soup into large soup bowls, and serve with crusty bread for dipping.

Click here for more photos of this recipe!


Being Frank

Each week, our founder and casing captain, Frank Isernio will answer one of your questions. Whether it’s regarding sausage, Isernio’s history, quality control or how to make a killer lasagne, Frank is here to help extinguish the flames of your burning curiosity.

This week’s question hails from Mukilteo, WA.

Q:  Which of your products do you usually always have in your fridge at home?

A:  Always the Hot Italian sausage. It’s my favorite. Also, the pork and chicken Italian sausages and chorizo, which I’d have to say is my second favorite.  I’ll use the chorizo to make paella and it’s just delicious! I don’t set out to eat sausage daily, but if it’s already cooked, I can’t pass it up. And I never get tired of it – never ever get tired of it. It’s the original convenience food. You can prepare it in minutes and you can use so little to create such a big flavor.  Especially in these economic times, when we’re getting back to budgeting and portioning out meals. You can buy Isernio’s, combine it with a few other ingredients and save money and be proud of what you give your family.

Got a question for Frank? Leave it in the comments section below, on Facebook or  Twitter.

When ‘Hip’ Ruins Your Food

when the Hip ruins your food
I came across this article today that talks about the hip factor of foods. You know, like the hot dog/bratwurst/sausage you buy that is overshadowed by its toppings (it’s never a good sign when the onions on your pup are prepped with more care than the actual link).

Isernio’s sausage links are all-natural. In a future post, I’m going to take you through the plant just so you can see how clean and simple the whole process is; the sausages are literally made with chicken thighs or pork and some seasoning. Minimal processing.  The quality meats that are used, and the lack of preservatives,  make the sausages moist and flavorful. No need for extravagant toppings. With that said, do most vendors and chefs go overboard with their toppings (cream cheese, wasabi, fried eggs) to mask the flavor of their basic ingredients? Or are they just trying to be en vogue?

What are your thoughts?