The World Health Organization’s  report detailing a possible link between the regular consumption of processed meats and a future cancer diagnosis has even the most die-hard breakfast meat lovers rethinking what’s on their plate.  

Sure, when you are blinded by the beauty of bacon-and let’s be honest bacon is the super model of meats- it is easy to dismiss such unsavory news all together in favor of culinary bliss.  Ignoring such a warning, however, seems silly when we all know anything tasting as good as a greasy sausage link is bound to have ill effects your long term health.  So why not explain away eating a smattering of cured pork now and then by indulging in a little moderation?

As a passionate pork lover, I have been known to snub my nose at flimsy turkey bacon and so called “healthy” sausage alternatives, but I’ve always had a soft spot for chicken apple sausage.  Bursting with fruit, herbs and sweet spices they may be inherently better for you than higher fat options, but they never seem to be trying to be something they’re not.  And that make me love them.

My simple version of chicken apple sausage comes together with ease and shaping them into uniform patties ensures they will be piping hot and on a plate in no time flat.  Freshly ground chicken breast is enhanced with gala apple cinnamon, and brown sugar for a touch of sweetness while the addition of rosemary, sage and fennel offer a savory balance in this breakfast side. 

Serve these chicken patties with a drizzling of maple syrup, a sprinkling of raw fresh apple and a smile. After all, they are a delightful partner for eggs and serving them up on a regular basis will only make room to savor a little bacon in your diet every so often!  

Cinnamon Sugar Chicken Apple Sausage Patties (Makes about 16-18 patties)

This recipe can be cut in half for a lower yield or half of the chicken mixture can be frozen and thawed for cooking at a later date.

  • 2 Tablespoons canola oil, plus additional for cooking sausage patties
  • 1 Cup minced yellow onion
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 Gala apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
  • 2 Pounds raw chicken breast, diced into 1” cubes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ Cup brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ Cup chopped Italian parsley

Garnishes: Maple syrup, rosemary, sage and diced fresh apple

Heat the canola oil over medium heat until hot.  Add the minced onion and a generous pinch of salt to the pan and allow the onion to cook until it begins to soften, but does not brown (about 5 minutes). Add the diced apple and fennel; cook stirring occasionally until onions and apple are soft (about 5 more minutes).  Add the rosemary and sage to the pan and allow to cook until herbs are fragrant (about 1 minute).  Remove the pan from the heat and allow the apple mixture to rest while you prep the chicken.

Place the diced chicken into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade.  Process the chicken until just finely ground.  Transfer the ground chicken to a large mixing bowl.  Add the salt, pepper, brown sugar cinnamon and parsley and mix thoroughly.  

Fold the cooled apple mixture into the chicken mixture and make sure the onions and apples are evenly distributed throughout the chicken.  Using a 2” round cookie butter press 2 ounces (a scant ¼ Cup) of the chicken mixture into ¾” thick rounds until all the chicken mixture is used up (patties can be made free-form if desired).

Heat about 2 Tablespoons canola oil in a well-seasoned skillet over medium-high heat.  Cook the sausage patties in batches for 4-5 minutes per side until well browned and cooked through.  Serve as part of a full breakfast drizzled with maple syrup and diced fresh apple.

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