Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Roasted Sausage with Grapes

Roasted Sausages and Grapes

So, my sister Kaylee and brother-in-law, Patrick, left for a three day trip to San Francisco last week and I watched my niece, Paisley, while they were gone. So I had Olivia, who is five and can't walk or talk but is obsessed with pushing Paisley down. When Paisley gets pushed down, she cries, naturally. Paisley, who just turned one, enjoys opening all cabinets, eating dog food, pulling lamps down off tables, furniture diving onto her head and toddling over to Olivia to be pushed. Then theres Ellie who is now five months and likes to be nursed in the absolute quiet with no distractions and held for a major part of the day. I was alone with these three for almost 2 hours of the 3 1/2 day trip when I decided I'd be fine. Sure, it was going to be hard, but I vowed to keep calm and not loose my shit. Sorry. That's exactly what I thought though. So far so good i thought, but then again, it was nap time. When wake ups happened, they all ate lunch in shifts. And since I had to feed all four of us manually, it was just about time for another round of naps by the time I got done.

Olivia getting ready to hit Ellie and Paisley getting ready to eat something disgusting off the floor
Roasted Sausages and Grapes

I found the grove somewhere towards the middle of day two, and it got better. Thats always how it is.

Aunt Krysta, I like this drawer
Roasted Sausages and Grapes

The night before they left, my brother-in-law made us all gumbo for dinner. It was my request and he was so sweet to make it. It was incredibly swoon worthy. He's a chef so it was bound to be, but he's also a native of Louisiana so you could say he knows a thing or two about gumbo. My husband happened to bring home some special cheeses last night on a whim, so we also had quite an appetizer spread. And wine. And beer for the gumbo. Then, when we got done it was decided we should whip up an apple crisp quick. But while it was baking I made the heartbreaking discovery that we didn't have any vanilla ice cream. Chef brother to the rescue was like do you have cream? As a matter of fact I did. How about eggs and vanilla? Yes! Yes, we did. And he happened to have just picked milk up for Paisley earlier in the day. It was a Christmas miracle. He said okay, well I'll just whip up some ice cream then. I make it in 10 minutes flat all the time. It was probably one of my favorite nights ever.

Kaylee and Pat were also here for a couple days last month. On their last night I made them this quick roasted sausage and grapes dish. It was really easy and different. An excellent December menu item, for sure. The grapes and sausages get spiked with a bit of red wine and balsamic vinegar and its that delicious balance of sour, salt and sweet. This is perfect for company because it requires minimal effort, comes together super fast, but still retains a wow factor. I paired this with some celery root puree, but good ole mashed potatoes work very well to bring this dish together. Salad on the side and you've got a very well balanced dinner. You can also just serve this with some bread for mopping up the juices and call it a night! Make it and tell me what you think. It's so good!

Roasted Sausages and Grapes

Roasted Sausage and Grapes
adapted from Ina Garten
serves 5-6

1 1/2 pounds sweet Italian pork sausage
1 1/2 pounds hot Italian pork sausage
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 1/2 pounds green or red grapes, removed from stems (about 5 cups)
5 tablespoons good balsamic vinegar
4-5 tablespoons red wine, such as Chianti

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add sausages and simmer for 8 minutes to remove some of the fat. Remove to a plate.

Melt butter in a large (12 x 15-inch) roasting pan on top of the stove. Add the grapes and toss them to coat with the butter. Over moderately high heat add the wine and simmer until liquid is reduced by half. Transfer the sausages to the roasting pan with tongs, nestling them down in the grapes in one layer. Place in the oven and roast for 20 to 25 minutes, turning the sausages once, until they're browned and grapes are tender.

Transfer the sausages and grapes to a serving platter with tongs and a slotted spoon and cover with aluminum foil to keep them hot. Keep all juices in the bottom of the roasting pan. Add the balsamic vinegar to the roasting pan and cook over medium-high heat for 1 minute until it reduces slightly. Pour all juices over the grapes and sausages and serve hot.