To all of the dedicated bloggers out there; Bravo! I’m only on my second entry and this is really challenging. If you know me, you know that I’m not one to be short on things to talk about, but I really want this blog to be a place for people who want to cook on a daily basis, using what they can easily find and afford, and I really want to help people learn about and enjoy food. If I wanted to post a compilation of my most complicated and well assembled dished in a wave of self congratulations for so many meals well done, then this would be easy. So for this entry I really wanted to hit some of the approachable gourmet themes by preparing a tried and true recipe from my family, using familiar,summer ingredients. I also wanted to be able to demonstrate a technique that will come in handy for meals in the future. So I’ve struggled a bit to find the right first recipe.
I also was a bit delayed in writing because my first attempt at a recipe turned out to be kind of a flop. I’m sharing this because it really does happen to the best of us. I had what I thought was a fantastic recipe in mind, and it was similar to meals I have successfully made, but it just didn’t come out the way I intended. The meal was edible and it was fine for a weeknight meal, but it really wasn’t blog worthy. To be honest, by the time I was done, I had essentially made something akin to a Pasta-Roni package from scratch. This is no judgment on anything in the “Roni” category. I am a big fan of those little pasta/rice packets with the seasoning already in them. It is amazing what you can do with those packets when there is very little food in the house, and dinner needs to be ready before the exhaustion of the day leads to a break down of will that can only end in a greasy take-out smorgasbord in front of the TV, leaving you with long felt feelings of regret and literal heartache.
All of my issues aside, I finally just went back to what I know. I guess I should follow my own advise. DUH! Low and behold I have not one recipe, but two for you. I made Italian Sausage with peppers and onions. I like to make sausage and peppers all year long with various side dishes. I serve them alone or in a sandwich, and I even vary up the kind of sausage. This is a great thing to have in the back of your mind for weeknight meals because sausage cooks in no time and there are so many varieties available in the supermarket that you could change up the type or sausage and the sides and have a different meal every time. This is also the technique I would like to share because it can be applied to all kinds of sausage.
I think I should note that reading my recipe might look daunting, but the first line in each step is what you are supposed to do, and the rest is answers to the questions I think you might have as you go along. It may also look like a lot of steps, but I really just broke down everything that should happen. If you are a more experienced cook you should be able to read through and then do it without really referring back to the instructions. However, if this is your first time making this, I wanted to take the guess work out of it.
Cooking Italian Sausage (with peppers and onions)
Italian sausage is a product that really require no additional seasoning. You really just need to find a brand that you like the flavor of, and then they are cook and serve kind of food. The technique for cooking the perfect sausage is really simple, and when you are done the casing should have a nice browned appearance to seal in the flavor and the center should be really juicy.
Prep time: 5min Cook Time: 20min
1 Package Italian Sausage
1 Onion (Yellow, White or Red) You can use any kind you like or have on hand
1 Green Bell Pepper
1 Red Bell Pepper
Seasoning is for the onions & Pepper
1tbsp Olive Oil
1tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
Salt & Pepper
- Start with a 10-12 in skillet on medium-high heat. You want to make sure your pan is hot because you are going to sear the sausage casing and make sure that all the juices stay in side. Lay the sausage in the pan with plenty of room to maneuver.
- Cook on the first side for approximately 2min and then turn and cook on the other side 2 min as well. You are not looking or the sausage to be thoroughly cooked at this point. All you want to see is that you have browned the casing on each side.
- Now add water to the pan. There is no specific amount as each of our pans is different, but you want to make sure that all but the top of the sausage is covered.
- Bring the water in the pan to a simmer and then turn heat down to medium. You will cook them this way for about 10 minutes or until your water evaporates. In order to ensure I have a fully cooked sausage I usually poke a knife or fork into one of the sausages when the water is close to all gone. If The juice should come out nice and clear. You can also use a meat thermometer. If you like to do this you should be shooting for 165degree. If you find that your sausage isn’t fully cooked you can just add a little more water and give it more time.
- Remove sausage and set aside for later.
- While your sausage is cooking you should prepare your peppers and onions by washing them and cutting them into long strips.
- In the same skillet you cooked the sausage, add your olive oil and toss in your pepper and onions.
- Add the salt and pepper to the vegetables and let them cook. Every few minutes move then around the pan to make sure they aren’t burning and that you are getting all of the vegetable close to the heat.
- The onions should cook until they are translucent and soft, and the peppers should be soft but not so cooked that they lose their color. Luckily peppers tend to take longer to cook than onions so you can throw everything in together and they should be ready at the same time.
- When the onions look just about done add your vinegar. I put red wine vinegar because that is my favorite. White Vinegar or Apple Cider Vinegar are great substitutions if you fin that is all you have. Balsamic will also taste really good, but it will taste sweet and is easier to burn so keep an eye on it. In the end you may find you like these other vinegars better and that is great. Cooking is not like ordering the family meal at a Chinese Restaurant; “NO SUBSTITIONS”.
- Take your cooked Sausage and cut it into thirds or quarters and return them to the pan of peppers and onion to warm through.
A few thoughts and tips
You should turn the fan on over your stove when cooking sausage. In fact you should turn the fan on when you are cooking almost anything on the stove. It will prevent the steam that is carrying various fats from floating all over the place and depositing those fats ie. grease in every corner of your kitchen.
There are other ways to cook sausage generally. This way is the best way to do full flavored sausage inside your house. You could definitely BBQ it and German sausage like bratwurst is great boiled in beer and onions and then browned. Needless to say this is not the last you’ve seen of sausage on this blog. (I tried to avoid a phrase just like that for the entirety of the blog because I didn’t want to indulge your childish sense of humor, but it made me giggle. So enjoy!)