Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Sausages and Grapes

Like Molly at Orangette, I must confess an inordinate and undying love of sausages. Perhaps it's my Mennonite heritage (we're famous for it, among other things); perhaps it's a Freudian thing (how embarassing). But whatever the cause, I love sausages, brown and crisp and bursting with juicy fatty goodness. Thank goodness I've never seen them being made (you all know that old axiom), but I doubt that even THAT spectacle could dissuade me from my sausage-loving. I will eat them in any form; on pizza, with sauerkraut, on a roll, in pasta, in slices, right from the fridge (assuming they're cooked) - I've yet to meet a sausage I didn't like (and my roommate tells me that even blood sausage [eep!] might be worth checking out).

We all know how well pork goes with fruit. The traditional accompaniment is apples, of course, or applesauce - but I've seen recipes for pork with peaches and pork with apricots, too. Something about the pig makes it particularly amenable to fruity sweetness. Well, it turns out that pork (at least, pork sausage) goes really well with grapes, too. I have made this recipe a few times, and it never fails to disappoint. It's wonderful with a side of mashed potatoes and some vinegary cooked greens. On top of that, it's dead easy.

Sausages and Grapes

adapted from Orangette, Matthew Amster-Burton, and Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything

2 hot sweet Italian sausages
1 T. olive oil
1/2 lb. grapes (more or less)
2 T. balsamic vinegar [optional]

1. Heat the oven to 475 degrees (or thereabouts).
2. Brown the sausages well on the stove for a few minutes.
3. Clean the grapes.
4. Put the olive oil in a square glass baking pan.
5. Toss the grapes with the olive oil.
6. Stick in the browned sausages.
7. Cook for 25 min., turning the sausages about halfway through.

This is where I stop, because I've found that I love the flavor of the roasted grapes, and I don't feel the need to go any further (additionally, I hate to dirty extra pans unnecessarily). But if you like, you can keep the sausages warm and put the grapes and vinegar in a saucepan. Cook at a lowish heat until the mixture gets syrupy or until it tastes right to you.

Serves 2


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