Loukaniko is a Greek sausage that usually consists of pork or pork and lamb with fennel, orange zest, and coriander. I absolutely love the fennel-orange-coriander flavor! I like to think of loukaniko as a great alternative to the classic spicy Italian sausage.
I usually write my recipes to be 5 lbs, but because this sausage is so delicious I threw in an extra pound.
- 3.5 lbs Pork Shoulder
- 2.5 lbs lamb leg
- 7 teaspoons Coarse Kosher Salt
- 3 tbsp Whole Coriander Seed
- 3 tbsp Fennel Seed
- 2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
- 1 tsp Anise Seed
- 13 teaspoon Harissa Powder (or 2 TBSP Crushed Red Pepper)
- 4 tsp Orange Zest (About 4 Oranges)
- 3 tbsp Garlic (finely chopped)
- Splash of Syrah (or other red wine)
Step 1 – Chopping
Chop up your pork shoulder and leg of lamb into pieces small enough to fit through your meat grinder. Discard pieces of bone, extra tough fat, and pieces of fat that are extra stringy. Too much of this type of fat can clog the meat grinder.
Step 2 – Preparing the Ingredients
Combine the anise seed, whole cumin seed, and fennel seed and toast on a pan for about two minutes, or until your kitchen smells amazing. Grind the toasted spices and combine with the salt, black pepper, and chili powder. If you don’t have a spice grinder then you can just use ground coriander and skip the toasting step.
Rub all of the spices and the garlic into the meat and let sit overnight. If you do not have the time, you can always mix the spices in after grinding.
Step 3 – Grinding
Put the meat in the freezer until it is almost starting to freeze and run it through the meat grinder. Put the meat back in the freezer until it is extremely cold but not frozen.
Step 4 – Mixing
Pound and knead the meat thoroughly so that you can push the oxygen out of it, which will create a smoother texture. Add a little bit (maybe 1-2 TBSP) of chilled red wine to moisten, flavor, and help bind the meat. If you have the time, I would suggest reducing the wine first to burn off the alcohol and condense the flavor. Be careful not to add too much though, or else your sausage will become too liquidy and not bind well.
STOP! Before moving on to step 5, fry up some of the sausage to make sure everything tastes okay. I skipped this important step and only after stuffing and cooking a few sausages, I realized that I forgot to add salt. I had to unstuff all of the sausage, add salt, and then re-stuff.
Think of this as an excuse to eat sausage and your last chance to add more spices or seasonings. Keep in mind though that the flavors will intensify as everything marinates together.
Step 5 – Stuffing
Make sure that the sausage meat is icy cold and add it to the stuffer and start stuffing!
Step 6 – Cooking
I usually recommend waiting at least 24 hours, but preferably 48 hours, to let the flavors meld together.
I recommend smoking or baking until they reach around 160 degrees and then throwing them on a pan for a final sear.
Step 7 – Plating
It’s my understanding that in Greece this sausage is often served as an appetizer. I like eating it for breakfast, maybe because of the orange flavor. For dinner, I would suggest making some sausage and peppers (see impromptu recipe below)!
Sausage & Peppers!
4 Bell Pepper
2 Garlic Cloves
1/2 Large Yellow Onion
2 teaspoons of fennel seed.
- Cook several loukaniko in the oven at 325 degrees for about 20-30 minutes or until they reach 150 degrees.
- Saute 1/2 of a large yellow onion for a few minutes. Then add 2 chopped cloves of garlic and cook for a couple of minutes.
- Add 4 sliced bells peppers (remove the seeds!) and saute for another 5 minutes.
- Remove the loukaniko from the oven and slice once it is cool enough to handle. Add to the skillet. Sprinkle some fennel seeds on top.
- Add 1/2 a jar of pasta sauce and cook for another 5 minutes or so.