Hormel Natural Choice Jalapeno Cheddar Sausage

This is our second review of this product line following up on Hormels Spinach Asiago Chicken sausage.

hormel jalapeno cheddar sausage

The Hormel Jalapeno Cheddar sausage is an all natural chicken sausage that’s gluten free and fully cooked. Much like their Spinach Asiago, I found this sausage to be one note – spicy from the jalapenos, with nearly no cheddar flavor or texture.  Both of these products have a clean ingredients list and a nice grind but both would be better products if they had either more cheese or a better quality cheese with a more pronounced flavor. At $4.99 for a 12oz package, this is a premium product for off the grocery store shelf sausage but unfortunately neither quite live up to the billing on the package.

I would pass on buying this again unless Hormel decides to reformulate the product with more and better cheese.

Ingredients: Dark chicken meat, cheddar cheese, vinegar, salt, jalapeno peppers, paprika, green chile peppers, spices, cilantro, roasted onions, natural flavoring

Esposito’s Chicken Hot Italian Sausage

Another Chicken sausage, this one from Esposito’s in New York.

espositos chicken hot italian sausage

This is a fine ground sausage with a good amount of fennel and fair amount of heat. This does in fact taste like a Hot Italian Sausage but I don’t think it rises to Esposito’s regular Hot Italian Sausage.

BUT, if you like or prefer chicken sausage and you like italian sausage, I’m telling you that this is probably the sausage for you. The flavors would hold up very nicely in a pot of sauce or better yet, stuff a couple of these into some good bread with some onions and peppers and you have a healthier sausage sub with no discernible difference in taste with a premium pork italian sausage.

One thing that impresses me about Esposito’s chicken sausages is the ingredients. I’m a firm believer that in order to have a quality product you have to start with quality ingredients and Esposito’s gets that right with their chicken sausages.

While a traditional pork italian hot sausage would be my first choice, I wouldn’t hesitate to order this sausage again.

Ingredients: Chicken, water, salt, fennel, pepper, paprika.

Hormel Natural Choice Spinach Asiago Sausage

This is a fully cooked chicken sausage from Hormel. The term Natural Choice means it’s 100% natural with no preservatives and the ingredients list is pretty clean.



I warmed this sausage through and then browned them slightly before eating. When you look at this sausage, there is an amazing amount of spinach and you can also see a good number of white flecks underneath the casing surface. The grind is fine and the sausage has a nice texture with a pronounced spinach taste – which is pretty nice considering spinach is such a mild tasting vegetable. Unfortunately the asiago cheese, which happens to be one of my favorites, is nearly undetectable. Asiago is such a strong tasting cheese and it seems that just a small amount against the near flavorless chicken and the mild spinach would stand out. Unfortunately that’s not the case. At $4.99 for 12 oz, this is priced as a premium product and I would consider it to be just that (for chicken sausage) if all the flavors came through.

As it is, I thought it was over priced and I wouldn’t purchase this sausage again.

Simply Sausage’s Chicken Sausage with Hatch Green Chiles

If you’ve ever been to New Mexico (or surrounding areas) when the Hatch Chiles come in, you know the pleasure of watching these beauties getting roasted and then taking some home and making some fresh green pork chili or just adding them to some eggs in the morning. One of the great eating experiences in life as far as I’m concerned.

I recently received a small shipment of Sausages (gratis) from Stan at Simply Sausage out of Landover Maryland (thanks Stan!). I’ll be posting reviews on some of his varieties in the near future but when I opened the box and saw the chicken with hatch chiles, I knew right away what I was having for breakfast this morning.

simply sausage chicken with hatch green chiles landover maryland

The first thing I noticed on the packaging is, much like the chicken sausage from one of my other favorite sausage makers Esposito’s in New York, all the items listed are ingredients I’m betting you’re familiar with and have in your kitchen. We talk about the simplicity of a good sausage from time to time and if you start with quality ingredients, you more often then not finish with a quality sausage. Simply Sausage gets that right with this product.

This came as a raw product so I steamed the sausage for a few minutes in about 2 tbs of water with the lid on. I then put about 1 tbs of olive oil in the pan and tended the sausage for about 4-5 minutes at medium heat so it could brown just slightly and evenly. I measured the internal temperature to be 165 degrees and took them out of the pan to rest a few minutes.

The grind on this was very fine all the way through the sausage and when cut open it had small flecks of spice, some of which I assumed to be hatch chiles. The sausages were beautifully seasoned and gave off a fabulous garlic aroma when cooking that mellowed to just the slightest hint of garlic when eaten. Unlike a hot smoked sausage, the heat was reminiscent of a good pork chili where it starts small and grows slowly and warmly as you move towards the bottom of the bowl (or towards the last bite of sausage in this case).

This is an excellent sausage and as good a chicken sausage as I’ve eaten. Quite frankly, if you didn’t tell me this was chicken, I would have guessed pork. I would definitely purchase this sausage again and would recommend spending some time on their website as they offer a large selection of fresh sausages.

Ingredients: Chicken, hatch green chiles, beer, salt, garlic, rosemary, lemon zest, and black pepper.

Esposito’s Chicken Sausage with Broccoli Rabe & Mozzarella

Historically I’ll admit that eating chicken sausage has generally left me feeling luke warm about the experience. Chicken itself is such a bland meat and most all the chicken sausage I’ve tried in the past hasn’t overcome that blandness regardless of the spice profile or ingredients.

espositos chicken sausage with mozz and broccoli rabe

 

This is a thin, rope style sausage from Esposito’s in NY and is one of 13 varieties they make as of this writing.

I wouldn’t place this sausage in my top ten favorite sausages but I will say that this is a quality sausage that has a fabulous flavor profile led by a mozzarella cheese product that is as good as any I can recall. When sliced open you can see the juicy pockets of cheese and that rich mozzarella flavor makes this a luxuriously creamy sausage. So much so that you really forget that it’s chicken.

The broccoli rabe was abundant but the star of this sausage (besides the nice fine grind and texture of the chicken) was the mozzarella. To date, this is the best chicken sausage I’ve eaten.

Meat: Chicken

Other major ingredients: Mozzarella Cheese and Broccoli Rabe

Ingredients: Chicken, Mozzarella, Broccoli Rabe, Salt, Water, Spices

Casing: Sheep

Cooking method: In a pan, browned on one side then turned over, turned heat off and put a lid on until cooked through.

Description from Espositos website: Lower in fat than our traditional pork sausages, yet full in flavor, our all natural chicken sausages allow us to provide the best of both worlds. Utilizing the same proprietary blend of fresh mozzarella as its pork cousin, this best selling sausage is one to savor.

Bottom Line – This is one of the few chicken sausages I’ve sampled that I would purchase again.