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May 29, 2013 08:41 AM

Odd sausage question

I have a house guest staying with me for a few days. She is avoiding all nuts and seeds for digestive reasons, but loves Italian sausages. I know it's a stretch, but figured I'd check and see if anyone knows of a source for fennel-less sausages.

I know I could make them myself easily enough on my Kitchenaid, but I'm looking for quick post-work mid-week meals. Thanks!

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  1. Normally in the supermarkets, "sweet" sausage means fennel and "hot" means no fennel for the store brands.

    Check with the meat manager re. ingredients.

    3 Replies
    1. re: pinehurst

      Thanks. I suspect that is often the case, but I noticed in Whole Foods yesterday that both kinds had fennel, and my favorite Bianco's hots definitely have fennel.

      I guess it's a matter of checking with each store.

      1. re: bear

        I think you're right. If there's one near you, try the Market Basket. For the summer, they have a bunch of store-brand varieties.

      2. re: pinehurst

        Market Basket at least has Sweet with and without fennel, and is marked as such.

      3. Fennel is part of what makes it Italian.. would she go for something alternative, like brats or andouille? Will she eat anything made using mustard seed, like mustard powder, which I think is in andouille? Tough to get flavorful sausage if all the flavorings are off limits..

        1. Formaggio in Cambridge had some homemade garlic sausage over the weekend that didn't have fennel in it. It also didn't have hot pepper flakes which I'd think your friend also wouldn't want if she's avoiding nuts and seeds for digestive reasons (and would usually be in hot Italian sausage). It wasn't far off from an Italian sausage and I can vouch for the fact that it was tasty!

          1. You have to go to Newton (Nonatum) to DePasquale's
            for the very best Italian sausages in the Boston Area and they do not add fennel. I don't care for fennel in my Italian sausages and have always sought out no fennel sausages. Here is a link.


            8 Replies
              1. re: Science Chick

                3rd - De Pasquales are not only excellent they know exactly what's in every sausage type they offer.

              2. re: Berheenia

                Depasquales does use fennel in its sweet sausage: if you're in the store while they're making it, the fennel smell is unmistakable. In fact, I distinctly remember remarking upon it to the woman who runs the counter the first time I smelled it, because I hadn't realized the sweet sausage had fennel. She confirmed that it does.

                On the other hand, I've had them make up batches of different sausages while I wait (say, if I need five pounds of hot and they only have three on hand), so it *may* be possible to request a no-fennel blend. Depends on when they add the fennel to the seasoning blend, I guess.

                Regardless, Depasquales is the only place I buy sausages from.

                1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                  Ever try their steak tips? I haven't yet, but they seem to be fairly popular.

                  1. re: ceb

                    Definitely call ahead- they may very well make a batch without fennel for you if you buy a good quantity.

                    I have tried their steak tips. I don't ask too many questions about where there beef is from but it smells very clean and fresh and the flavor is wonderful.

                    That place smells wonderful and I usually have a problem with most commercial meat smells these days. (Can't stand the odor of commercial pork at all.) I figure my nose is telling me this is the good stuff.

                    1. re: ceb

                      I have occasionally looked at them with interest, but I've never pulled the trigger. Perhaps now that grilling season is underway, I might finally pick up a couple pounds.

                    2. re: Jenny Ondioline

                      Perhaps they could use ground fennel seed instead of whole....?

                      1. re: Science Chick

                        I think they actually do! I've never seen a whole fennel seed in a Depasquales sausage, which is why I was surprised to find that they use fennel at all.

                  2. Not that it's even remotely ANY of my business, or place to say it, but if she is avoiding them because of diverticulitis, the current thinking is that nuts/seeds shouldn't provoke it, unlike what was thought before.

                    I second (4th?) DiPasquale's :)

                    Also, how about some of the seedless Polish sausages like the Kielbasi at Baltic Deli on the South Boston/Dorchester line?

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Prav

                      Hey, Prav, thanks for the info. She is pretty up on the latest research, as is her doctor, but after some pretty scary times while eating a healthy, varied diet they decided to give the seedless thing a go for a while, wondering if she is perhaps particularly vulnerable. I have some of the same issues but eat pretty much anything.

                      She's skeptical, but willing to go for it so while she's in the area and I'm doing the cooking I'm looking to get her favorites locally that fill the bill.

                      1. re: bear

                        Elimination diets are a very good idea. Good luck to her!! She's a lucky gal to have such a chowish, supportive host. :)