christmas jack rabbit, wild turkey, and Ground Hog Sausage

This recipe is a lower-calorie modification of the classic rabbit sausage made at Christmas time in Elida, New Mexico by the descendants of homesteaders who came into eastern New Mexico around the turn of the twentieth century. The only game they found their first winter was jackrabbit and cottontail, which they ground with salt pork and seasoned with pepper and prairie sage. The title of my recipe recalls the ingredients that I would have used in earlier times. But nowadays, in the city, I can only find farmed rabbits, turkey, and pork in the butcher case, and my dietary guidelines make me omit the salt pork. I make this recipe faithfully every Christmas in memory of my youth and the valiant pioneers who settled the Llano Estacado so many years ago.

The following recipe is based on the amount of rabbit obtained when it is deboned. The tofu adds protein, extends the recipe, and, because the meats used have so little fat, makes for a softer, juicier product.

  • 1 part rabbit, bones removed, and ground
  • 1 part lean ground turkey or chicken or both
  • 1 part lean ground hog (i.e., ground pork)
  • 1 part firm tofu, put through the grinder also, or TVP*
  • ½ tsp per part browning sauce
  • 3 drops liquid smoke per part
  • 1½ tbsp per lb sausage seasoning mix

Simply add all ingredients together in a large bowl and mix together until blended evenly throughout. Divide into patty sized portions using a 3 oz hamburger press device. Refrigerate or freeze until time to be used. Then brown patties in a pan with vegetable oil spray until the desired color is reached.

breakfast sausage

The following recipe is one that contains very little fat, and tends to be a little dry if overcooked. It is very high in protein, low in salt, and has practically no carbs. We eat it at least twice a week, and have been doing so for at least ten years.

  • 1½ cups water
  • 2 tsp liquid smoke
  • 2 cups textured vegetable protein (TVP)
  • 1¼ lb lean ground turkey
  • 1¼ lb lean ground pork
  • 4 tbsp sausage seasoning mix
  • ¼ cup vital gluten flour
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 2 tsp gravy browning mix

Put the browning mix and liquid smoke in the water and heat in the microwave for 20 seconds on the high setting. Add the TVP to the water. Add a little more water if the TVP is not moistened. Return to the microwave and nuke for 45 seconds. Let the TVP reconstitute while the other ingredients are being prepared.

Put the meat into a large mixing bowl. Add the sausage seasoning mix, sprinkle over the gluten flour and yeast, and fold into the meat. Add the TVP and mix well using a hand mixer until the sausage takes on a uniform texture.

Form into patties using a 3 oz hamburger press on parchment paper. Cut the parchment into individual patties, stack them, and put in the freezer until ready to use.

When ready to use, remove the needed number of patties from the freezer, spray a nonstick skillet with a little oil, and cook over high heat until meat has thawed and both sides have browned.