Tag Archives: sausage

Tuscan Sausage With White Beans and Sage

Seasoned to Taste: Tuscan White Beans and Sausage

The more I look into pantry cooking and “peasant fare,” I find that the combination of beans and pork fat are a comforting mainstay across many cultures. From the purple-hull peas and ham hocks we make in The South to this simplified version of an Italian staple – pork sausage with white beans and tomatoes.

I altered the original recipe significantly, based solely on what I had on-hand. Canned beans instead of dried cannellini soaked overnight; one large, over-ripe fresh tomato instead of canned.

The one-pot dish creates a thick gravy as the beans cook and the starches swirl with white wine, hot garlic and melting bits of tomato. Simple and easy enough for a weeknight meal. I used pork sausage, but next time I will try chicken or turkey sausage, as we found the pork a bit rich.

Tuscan Sausage with White Beans and Sage

Ingredients:

  • 2 T EVOO
  • 5-6 sweet Italian sausages (1 package)
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 c. crisp white wine (or to taste, depending on liquid level)
  • 1 can cannellini beans, with liquid
  • 1 large ripe tomato, or 1 can diced (drain a bit of the liquid if using canned)
  • 4 fresh sage leaves, sliced
  • S&P to taste

Heat oil in large skillet over medium. Brown sausages on all sides, 3-4 min. Add garlic and pepper flakes, continue to cook 1 min. Add wine and stir until bubbling. Add beans, tomato and sage, stirring to combine. Simmer 5 min, adding liquid as necessary so sausages are submerged 1/3 way, until sausages are cooked through. Uncover, simmer to thicken the sauce, if needed. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Seasoned to Taste - Tuscan Sausage and White Beans

I recommend serving with a crusty bread and simple green salad. And a glass of that white wine.

Seasoned to Taste - Tuscan Sausage and White Beans

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

 

Advertisements

Buttermilk Biscuits with Sage Sausage and Gravy

Sunday was wet and cold and the worst day for a 2-hour run. As Grant and I jogged through downtown, Old Salem and past churches emptying pious citizens, all I could think about was biscuits and gravy. That ultimate in comfort and soul – thick, peppery gravy spilling over spicy sausage and buttery biscuits. Knowing I had buttermilk at home, I couldn’t resist the temptation. And hey, we earned it after braving that weather.

I found a recipe in my trusty Best Recipes cookbook, although I altered it a bit. The result was a delightfully buttery biscuit that deeply pleased my Southern boyfriend.

Buttermilk Biscuits

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 3/4 c. buttermilk, plus 4 T
  • 2 T butter, melted

Preheat oven to 450 degrees with your rack in the middle.

Place flour, powder, soda, sugar and salt in food processor and mix to combine in six 1-second pulses.

Distribute butter evenly over and pulse 12 times. Pour buttermilk over and pulse 8 to 10 times, until wet clump forms.

Transfer dough to lightly floured surface and pat into a ball. Using floured rolling pin, gently roll out to 1/2 inch thick. Use floured biscuit-cutter to cut 8-9 biscuits. Grant had a fab antique biscuit-cutter:

Place biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet and brush with melted butter. Bake until tops are light brown, 10-12 min.

Meanwhile, make the sausage and gravy…

If we’re going authentic, I only use one kind of sausage:

While biscuits bake, heat large nonskillet over medium and add hand-formed sausage patties (size and shape don’t matter, just make sure to cook through). Cook until browned on all sides, then cover and let steam until fully cooked, 5-8 min. Remove to paper towels to drain.

To drippings, add 2 T flour and whisk until well incorporated, 1 min. Whisk in about 1 c. milk and a splash of cream (if you have it – I find the all-cream kind way too rich). Reduce to low and whisk until thickened. Add a bunch of cracked pepper and salt, to taste.

To serve, you may butter your biscuits, or not…

Grant likes to put mustard on his, but I go plain, with  my sausage on the side and gravy all over. We added salted and peppered tomato slices up top, along with some hot sauce for extra flavor.

The combo was yummy and so satisfying on a dreary day.

Enjoy your next comfort meal, friends! xoxo

Pesto lasagna

Got cheese?

For the person who is usually unimpressed by traditional lasagna, this one is a winner. It is simple and easy, and allows a lot of variation. For example, adding mushrooms or sun-dried tomatoes or sausages. It is hard to go wrong with homemade pesto melted into creamy, cheesytown with fresh mozzarella and ricotta cheeses.

We thoroughly enjoyed this meal for two dinners and two lunches. Just delicious. And I LOVE pesto.

WriteGal’s Pesto Lasagna

Ingredients:

  • 1 package lasagna noodles
  • 1 pound chicken sausage (or other flavorful sausage)
  • 1 tub of part-skim ricotta cheese (about 1 c.)
  • 10-16 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced (Whole Foods has the best deal on this, I think)
  • 1 large bunch fresh basil (about 2 cups), leaves and stems (those soft stems have flavor! Use them!)
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1/2 c. Parmesan cheese, plus another 1-2 c. for layering
  • 1/4 c. pine nuts
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 325.

Put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta. While that heats, brown your sausage in a nonstick skillet until well-cooked. Set aside. Add salt and lasagna noodles to the water and cook per the box’s directions. You want them with a little bite, 6-8 min.

In a blender or food processor, add the olive oil, pine nuts, garlic, basil and Parmesan. Process until combined, adding salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a bowl and mix with ricotta. Set aside.

To assemble lasagna, grease a glass baking dish and layer the lasagna noodles, then pesto mixture (dollop a few spoonfuls and spread as best you can), then add some sausage, then some Parmesan cheese, then mozzarella. Repeat until you are out of pesto, ending with mozzarella and lots of Parmesan on top. It will look uneven and not exactly like something that will turn out well. Trust me…

Place in oven and bake until melted, bubbling and slightly browned on top, roughly 20 min. Let stand for another 20 min.

Cut into large pieces and serve! I love how the ricotta makes everything creamier and the mozzarella is salty and stringy. And of course the pesto, with that bite of flavor. I was pleased to see that a little went a long way, and I only did five or six layers. Even if you have two layers, this will be good!

Please enjoy, friends! xoxo

French lentil soup with sausage

IMG_4359

So far, it seems The South goes kicking and screaming into fall. A cool week, then an 80-degree weekend. We’ll have rain, then we’ll have sun to make everything muggy. The honeysuckles are still blooming, but the maple leaves are turning into their own kind of brilliant flower.

All of this brings me to soup. Thick, spicy, hearty, fill-that-tummy-up soup. We really don’t eat enough of this economical food in my home, so we recently decided to change that. What immediately came to mind is a soup that I love but never have made: lentil soup.

I browsed a few recipes on FoodNetwork.com, and decided on Ina Garten’s recipe, after reading glowing review after glowing review (tip: always read reviews of Food Network recipes – it is a rare luxury to hear others’ experiences of online recipes). She combines dark green French lentils with a ton of onions, leeks, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, cumin, tomato paste and red wine. Oh, and kielbasa sausage (for the Polish in me).

It was a great combination of flavors, although I must say that  my Dutch oven was too small to fit all the chicken stock she asks for. No worry, just fill the pot as much as you can.

Ingredients:

1 pound French lentils

1/4 c. EVOO

3 large yellow onions, diced

2 leeks, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 T kosher salt

1 1/2 tsp. black pepper

1 T minced thyme

1 tsp. cumin

5 stalks celery, diced (I used hearts)

5 carrots, diced

3 quarts (boxes) chicken stock

1/4 c. tomato paste

1 pound kielbasa sausage, sliced into half-moons

1/4 c. dry red wine (I used a cheap Malbec)

Parmesan cheese

Method:

Cover the lentils with boiling water and let sit for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In large Dutch oven over medium heat, add olive oil and saute onions, leeks, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme and cumin for 20 minutes. Add celery and carrots and saute 10 min. Add stock, tomato paste and lentils and cover. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook uncovered for 1 hour. Pour yourself a glass of wine and relax.

Once the lentils are tender, check for seasonings and add the sausage and wine. Simmer until the kielbasa is heated through.

To serve, drizzle olive oil over the portioned soup and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Add a great loaf of bread and simple salad and you have a complete and healthy meal.

This will definitely make enough to freeze the leftovers, so I wouldn’t recommend doubling the recipe. It was a truly satisfying combination of flavors – exactly what we were looking for on a drizzling, gray autumn day.

IMG_4355

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Pumpkin-ginger waffles

Pumpkin challenge No. 3!

A sweet brunch

A sweet brunch

I found this recipe in Country Living. It takes less than 30  minutes to make and is surprisingly healthy, according to the nutritional info in the magazine. I also like this recipe because it only uses 1/2 c. canned pumpkin puree, which is all I had left. The original recipe includes chopped up crystallized ginger, but I decided that I didn’t need it. It is still QUITE gingery without those chewy pieces.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 c. flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

2 tsp. ground ginger

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

2 large eggs

1/4 c. buttermilk

1/2 c. canned pumpkin puree (about half a can)

1/2 c. sugar

1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

3 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Get out your waffle iron and heat it.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger and cinnamon in a large bowl.

In another bowl, whisk eggs, buttermilk, pumpkin, sugar, vanilla. Whisk in flour mixture until combined. Stir in butter.

Scoop about 1/2 c. of the batter into the waffle iron and cook to your desired doneness. Keep the finished waffles in the oven at 200 degrees to stay warm.

With these, I browned up patties of chicken Italian sausage that was 50% off at Harris Teeter’s a while back. Horray for the discount meat bin! The sausage was a nice addition to the waffles, which totally smelled like pumpkin pie. They weren’t too pumpkiny, but were more spiced tasting.

Both Jesse and I  really, really liked the waffles. They were very sweet, especially with all the maple syrup we poured over them. You’ll definitely need a glass of cold milk to wash it down, and this recipe made enough for two mornings’ worth of breakfast (stretching those $$$).

Enjoy, friends! xoxo