I know, I know, the picture above is of a pancake breakfast with sausage links. But I’m going to talk about biscuits and gravy first.
I love biscuits and gravy. I loved it even before I lived in North Carolina, but my time there definitely made it even more of a favorite. There’s just something intensely comforting about a good biscuit smothered in rich sausage studded cream gravy. Or really anything smothered in rich sausage studded cream gravy: waffles, some fried chicken, a few eggs, probably an old tire. I mean, it makes everything better.
But of course not everyone can or wants to eat pork. And there’s a pandemic on. And a winter storm. And the grocery a few blocks away closed, meaning that this carless Chicken Thigh Guy can’t just walk out and quickly grab some sausage when a breakfast craving hits.
Enter my freezer full of chicken thighs, and their ability to stand in for pork in … well, not everything, but a lot of things.
This chicken thigh breakfast sausage is an easy to prepare stand in for pork breakfast sausage. It may even be healthier, but as I’m not a nutritionist, I’m not going to make that claim. The end result is a little bouncier than most pork sausages, but the flavor – which you can adjust by tweaking the spice mixture – is spot on. It makes a great sausage patty, can be rolled and poached to make links, and of course, the true test: it makes a killer, pork free sausage gravy for all your smothering needs.
Check below the recipe card for instructions on how to make links.
Chicken Thigh Breakfast SausageCourse: Main, BreakfastCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Medium
Classic American breakfast sausage, but made with Chicken Thighs.
1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 ½ tsp kosher salt
1 tsp crushed red pepper
½ tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp rubbed sage
¼ tsp dried thyme
1/8th tsp fresh grated nutmeg
- Cut the chicken into 1 inch pieces.
- Add the chicken, salt, and all spices to the bowl of a food processor.
- Pulse until finely ground.
- Refrigerate for 1 hour before using.
- Like any sausage, you can fry off a small amount to taste, and alter the seasoning as needed.
How to make chicken thigh breakfast sausage links:
Chicken Thigh Breakfast Sausage
- Prepare the sausage as per the recipe above.
- Bring a large pot of water to a low simmer.
- Spread a 12″ piece of plastic wrap on a smooth surface.
- Wet the plastic with a little water
- using damp hands, or a piping bag, create a ~1″ thick, 8 inch long line of sausage on the plastic wrap, about 1/2 od the distance from the edge.
- Fold the short edge over the sausage and pull in back toward you to roll the sausage.
- Roll the entire plastic wrap into a tight roll, and twist the ends tightly.
- Use string to tie off the ends.
- Pinch and twist the center of the roll to create two 4″ long links.
- Use another piece of string to tie the center.
- Repeat steps 1-10 for additional links.
- Carefully lower the plastic wrapped sausages into the simmering water and reduce to the lowest temp.
- Cook stirring occasionally, for ~7-10 minutes, or until the sausages are firm and have reached an internal temperature of 165°F.
- Remove from the water and allow to rest until cool enough to handle.
- Cut the plastic at the string ends and slide out the links.
To serve, brown in a pan until crisped and brown on the surface.