My two good friends Danielle and Melissa and I decided to do a couple recipe exchanges this year. I proposed that we each make something we really enjoy that can be frozen, tripple the recipe and keep one portion for your own family and distrubute the other two into freezer ziplock bags and freeze until the day of our exchange. Then we would exchange the meals to keep in the freezer until we were ready to use them. The first time around I made homeade sausage spaghetti sauce and gave a portion each to Danielle and Melissa along with some spaghetti noodles. Melissa made her famous chili, which is really MY famous chili, which is really Tom Brukiewas famous chili. And Danielle made sausage peppers and onion stoup. That very stoup is the one I am currently defrosing in my refrigerator right now to have for lunch today since my husband has temporarily (hopefully temporarily...please, please, please be temporary) gone vegetarian and will not eat it becuase of the sausage. His loss. Sausage is so good, as I am sure you all already know.
The day this recipe aired on 30 Minute Meals (Rachael Ray's Food Network Show) both Danielle and I were watching in our respective houses. I watched the show and thought "I really need to make that! It looks so good and simple and it has balsamic vinegar in it...how different". Really, anytime a meal has something unexpected and delicious sounding in it's ingredient list I am a sucker to make it. Aside from the unexpected vinegar thrill, it also contained anaheim peppers (which are mild...they're what chili rellanos are made from) instead of bell peppers. I was sold. I knew that sausage peppers and onions stoup was in my near future. But it would have to wait until the next week. I meal plan according to the weather forecast and I only shop once a week. Danielle on the other hand does not and I think she ran straight to the store after seeing this recipe. She called me up the next day or so and raved about the stoup (stoup becuase it's thicker than a soup but thinner than a stew) and I think somehow we wound up going to dinner at her house for it before I got a chance to make it. But, make it I did. And then I made it again, and again and again. It's a regular meal in our household in the winter time. Regular meaning I have made it more than 3 times and a copy of the recipe is in my permanent green binder recipe file. I think it appeals to men and women alike becuase it's hearty, but different becuase of the balsamic vinegar. It's not really spicy but It sort of gives the illusion of being becuase of the balsamic vinegar. and you top it with freshly grated parmesan cheese and fresh basil. It's so good I cannot even tell you.
Last year I ate this on my sofa while watching the 2009 Academy Awards. Yes, I remember that. It was a good night.
Sausage, Peppers and Onions Stoup
adapted from Rachael Ray
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds hot or sweet bulk Italian sausage
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 to 4 anaheim peppers (or cubanelle) seeded and thinly sliced
2 medium-large onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2-3 cups chicken stock
2 (15 oz) cans diced fire roasted tomatoes
1/2 cup basil leaves, torn
1/4 cup chopped parsley leaves
1 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano
Heat olive oil in a deep skillet, add sausage and brown a few minutes then add garlic, peppers and onions and cook until soft, 6-7 minutes more.
Deglaze the pan with a little vinegar, stir in the stock and tomatoes and reduce the heat to simmer, cook 5 minutes more then stir in the parsley and basil and serve with cheese on top.
A few notes: I buy ground sausage so it is easier to cook, but if all you can find are links just slice through the casings with a knife and squeeze out the sausage in the pot and break up with a wooden spoon. Also, I cut my onions the way you would for french onion soup (another favorite). Just slice the ends off both sides of the onion and cut it in half through one of those ends. Then just slice thinly into half moon shapes. I slice the anaheim peppers into the same half moon shape. Just slice down the center of the pepper the long way and remove the seeds, then slice horizonatally. I don't usually add the basil in the soup becuase I like it as a garnish instead.