I resisted this challenge because I really don't like chicken sausage. It's not that it doesn't taste good; rather, when it comes to sausage I want anything but chicken and fish. If I had found someone reasonable duck, I would have made duck sausage. If I had wild turkey, or grouse, or pheasant, I would have made that. Actually, my favorite is pork sausage (except for my newest addiction, Merguez). But chicken, to me, is just not something to be made into sausage. I don't really like it ground into meatballs or patties either. Maybe it's the delicacy of the meat and when it comes to sausage, I like it heavier in fat and flavor in the mouth. I do, however, like chicken as forcemeat because there it retains its more delicate flavor. However, I fulfilled my responsibility and I discovered that chicken sausage is not so bad when it's homemade.
I began small, with only two pounds of chicken thighs. I had fun with the de-boning. Yeah, thighs are easy-peasy, but I watched this video on youtube by some guy who looked like he was half asleep but then de-boned that thigh perfectly in just seconds. I figured after about another 500 thighs I might be half good.
Then, I ground the chicken. The most negative aspect about making chicken sausage is that every time I touched the bloody chicken I had to wash my hands again for another step in the process. I think I spent more time washing my hands and anything else that had contact with the chicken than with the sausage process itself. Anyway, grinding was a breeze. It yielded a uniform small and sticky grind that absorbed the spices well.
Then came the flavorings. I didn't have fresh basil (like the Charcuterie recipe) and I really don't like dried basil. I was in the mood for toasted fennel so I toasted two teaspoons, which I then ground in the mortar. I added cracked hot pepper, salt, thyme, lots of finely diced raw garlic, some chopped, sun-dried tomato, and some orange zest. I liked the idea of the orange zest, but I think it didn't do as well in a sausage as it does in a liquid. My husband, however, thought it was very good. For a liquid, I added half dry white wine and half ice water.
Stuffing was a problem. It really needed smooth and steady stuffing which is not easy for one person, especially with that sticky, viscous ground chicken. I ended up holding the sausage casing with one hand and stuffing the KA stuffer with another, but at speed #4, it all seemed to work. The sausage turned out just a bit thick. However, it tasted really good.
I meant to add some pork back fat instead of using the chicken skin, but having forgot to defrost it, I just used the chicken skin. Next time, I would definitely use the pork. Since my spices came from the Provençal area of France, I felt the end flavor was pretty good. And having worked with all that sticky ground chicken, I think I'm ready for some emulsified sausage. Weisswurst, here I come!