So, Paleo Diet Challenge Day 25. What I think is that simple is good.
Even better: Sometimes, simple is best. I’m not sure if it has something to do with expectation management again, although I suspect it does. But it seems that, very often, the simplest meals give me the most enjoyment. They punch above their weight, as you’d say.
It’s not the special occasion dinners that I’ve either toiled over for hours that are, in the end, the best. No, more times than I can count it’s been the unexpected mid-week dinners, the spontaneous why don’t we go there? meals or the why don’t I just try this? dishes that surprise, and surpass, my expectations. Those are the ones I remember, long after.
Such is the case with the breakfast sausages. For years, I’ve secretly liked the sausages that you would find on, say, a McDonald’s Sausage McMuffin or Tim Horton’s Breakfast Sandwich. (Hmmm, I guess it’s not such a secret now.) But I would never darken the doors of those places to actually order a breakfast sandwich. I could never bring myself to do it, ever. And when I do go out for brunch, my automatic response says ‘bacon’ when I order, just because you never know what kind of sausage they might have in the kitchen. They are definitely not all the same, right?
Maybe that’s why I was pleasantly surprised to see recipes for breakfast sausage in many of the Paleo cookbooks and blogs out there. They’re simple to make, and while they’re not something I would usually think of to make for brunch, it turns out that they’re really good. Amazingly good, in fact. Even better than bacon? Very possibly.
I’m happy because now these previously-forbidden delights can be mine, without having to drive through a drive-thru. I can actually make these at home. Light bulb goes on. And really, part of my prejudice with fast food is strictly on a geeky grammar level. (I’m with Grammar Girl, spelling t-h-r-u is kind of equivalent to dotting your i’s with little hearts.) But these breakfast sausages were well worth the wait, and are grammatically correct to boot. Whew.
Adapted from Paleo Comfort Foods by Julie and Charles Mayfield.
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons red onion, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, lightly ground or chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- fresh ground pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
- Preheat your barbecue to 400F*. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the pork with the garlic and onion. (You can use a spoon, but I find using your hands gives you a more uniform result, quicker. Plus it's kind of fun.)
- Add the fennel seed, cayenne, paprika, salt and pepper and mix until combined. Add the sage, thyme and parsley, and mix again to combine.
- With your hands, form the mixture into 8 patties and place on the parchment-lined baking sheet.
- When the barbecue is up to temperature, place the patties on the grill and cook for 3-4 minutes. Flip them over and continue to cook for another 3-4 minutes, or until they're browned and firm. Remove from heat and serve.
You can also cook these on the grill or in a frying pan, and that's how I initially did them. I preferred using the grill so that any excess fat drips away. If you don't have a barbecue, I imagine broiling them on a rack on top of a sheet pan would work quite well too.
More on the Paleo diet challenge:
Why I’m doing it in the first place
My plan for the 30 days
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