Pros: Mild yet flavorful and not too sweet.
Cons: A bit pricey
A few years ago I noticed some artisanal sausage products from Chef Bruce Aidells in our local Fresh Market store. The thing that made me take notice was his version of anduille sausage, the Cajun sausage used in such wonderful dishes as jambalaya and gumbo. It wasn’t even close to the wonderful anduille sausage I had while living in New Orleans back in the mid-80s. Aidells was like someone’s interpretation of what they thought anduille sausage was all about.
That pretty much killed my interest in the Aidells product line until a few months ago when our local Publix supermarket had a sale on Aidells meatballs. We tried them and thought they were pretty good so when they had their Chicken & Apple Sausage on a reduced price recently I decided to give them a try.
So Who is Bruce Aidells?
Chef Aidells began his career as a sausage master when he cofounded Poulet in Berkeley California in 1979 with Marilyn Rinzler. As the name implies one of their specialties was chicken and this has served Aidells well in his sausage business which he founded in 1983.
Aidells Chicken & Apple Sausage come four to a pack and are advertised as being made with hormone free chicken and containing no MSG. The sausages are fully cooked and only need to be reheated before consumption. Aidells seems to classify this as a breakfast sausage and even lists as inspiration for the sausage’s creation:
“While visiting friends on their Midwestern Farm, I love to wake up in the morning and smell breakfast cooking – the smoky aroma of sage, black pepper and old-fashioned sausage frying in a heavy iron skillet. One fall morning I ambled out to an apple orchard in back of the farmhouse and picked half-dozen apples. As my contribution to the morning feast, I sautéed the chopped tart apples in some butter and apple cider and served them over the lightly spiced farmhouse sausage. That’s the sensation captured in my Chicken & Apple Sausage”
They even include several serving suggestions on the cardboard outer label including one that calls for chopped chicken & apple sausage tossed into scrambled eggs along with scallions and smoked Gouda cheese. Mmm, that’s my next project. Inside there is a recipe for shrimp and chicken & apple sausage kabobs.
When we cooked them up this evening we just sautéed them in butter until slightly browned. The natural pork casings became taut and gave the sausage a bit of snap which I like in natural casing hotdogs and enjoyed in these. Slicing the sausage you can see bits of what appear to be apple chunks interspersed throughout the meat.
The flavor is very mild and the apple lends a light sweetness and slight apple flavor but is anything but dominant. All of us really like the taste including my seven year old who wolfed it down. There was very little grease as you would expect from a chicken based product yet the filling was very moist. Overall I would rate these a winner.
Each sausage weighs around 3oz and is the size of a small knackwurst. I was able to eat two comfortably while my son just made it through his one.
Price: Aidells products are not inexpensive and these sausages normally go for a little over $5 for a pack of 4. Publix often has reduced prices on the few Aidells items they carry and we paid around $4.60.
Chicken, Dried Apples, Fruit Juice Concentrate (Apple, Pineapple, Pear, and Peach), Salt, Spices, and Sodium Nitrite, in a Pork Casing.
Serving Size: 1 link (85g) /Servings Per Container: 4
Calories: 160 / Calories From Fat: 100
Total Fat: 11g / Saturated Fat: 3.5g / Trans Fat: 0g
Cholesterol: 95mg / Sodium: 670mg / Total Carbohydrate: 3g
Dietary Fiber: <1g / Sugar: 2g / Protein: 13g