Recipe 4: Chicken-maple-apple Breakfast Sausage Patties
Victories 4 and 4.1: Accepting this definition of sausage: “highly seasoned ground meat formed into a patty,” and having enough time to cook and eat a full (and late) breakfast
At one of my favorite restaurants in Bangkok, I like to order a spinach salad with sausage when I want to eat a light main. I was surprised the first time it was put in front of me because this “sausage” wasn’t what I expected—you know, round slices. I was puzzled, of course, but I didn’t mind because the whole thing was just so delicious. The chef, who’s also the owner and the only person who runs this little establishment, contrasts the savory with whatever fruit is in season, sometimes mulberries, sometimes gooseberries. She cooks right there in front of you, and anytime someone orders this particular salad, you can see her shaping small globs of meat in her hands before dropping it into the pan. They come out in similarly-sized un-geometrical shapes—never a ball, never exactly a patty. I never really thought of it as sausage, just this delicious flavored meat I got whenever I ordered the dish.
To me, sausage is something you make in a large professional facility with big machines, not a feat you pull off in a small restaurant kitchen or at home. So I skipped over the Homemade Merquez with Herby Yogurt recipe when I first saw it in the cookbook. My kitchen and I are definitely not at that level yet, I thought.
Due to the size of my electric stove and oven and the fact that I live alone, there are quite a few recipes in the “Meat and Poultry” section that would be impossible to make or at least very difficult to make well, and some would just mean too much meat for one person.
I was considering Indecision Grilled Chicken, but I don’t have a grill pan, nor do I want to spend money on one at the moment, even though I would love to make chicken with those beautiful grill lines one day. The Turkey and Ricotta Meatballs sound amazing, except people generally don’t eat turkey in Thailand, making it expensive and difficult to find. The Buttermilk and Pimentón Fried Chicken and its spin-offs seem delicious and are very doable in my kitchen.
I decided on the Chicken-apple-maple Breakfast Sausage Patties, which is one of the spin-offs of the merquez recipe, when I read Julia Turshen’s definition of sausage in the headnote: “highly seasoned ground meat formed into a patty.” Who wouldn’t want to make sausage at home when this definition has been handed to you on a platter? More than that, the combination of flavors—maple syrup, chicken, apple, and sage (I substituted it with marjoram) sounded insanely delicious.
And the recipe was truly a winner. You just mix all the ingredients together, shape the mixture into a patty, and fry. The result was delicious. My apartment smelled so sweet and warm of maple syrup afterward. There were so many flavors in every bite. I especially loved the punchy pepperiness of marjoram. The recipe recommends a scrambled-egg companion, but fried egg makes for a nice accompaniment, too. And since I was having a late breakfast and wanted something refreshing, I threw a few cherry tomatoes into the pan and had that with fresh arugula and a dash of balsamic vinegar as a side salad.
I don’t get to have such a full breakfast very often, but when all the unpleasant work (like grading) has been completed and school is finally out, we all deserve a big breakfast in the afternoon.