So I know it's spring and all (though judging by the cold, wet snow that blew in on Saturday, you might not have known), and that means the transition from bubbling comfort foods to green salads is well under way. But on Friday, when the sun was still shining after coming home from work and I threw open the sliding glass doors in the living room, instead of dusting off the grill for some outdoor cooking, I braised.
It felt a little wrong, I'm not going to lie. Especially since there were Italian sausages involved, which I absolutely love on the grill, paired with green peppers and onions and slathered with red sauce. I really can't explain my reasoning here, except that it seems I've woken up from some kind of deep winter sleep, during which I lost all motivation to cook anything new and survived simply on old stand-bys and leftovers and a great deal of eating out.
Now, as I blink open tired eyes and fumble around the kitchen, while everyone else is waiting on the edge of their seats for the radishes and the asparagus and sausages on the grill, I'm just a few steps behind, braising. But the way I've been cooking all weekend (three trips to the grocery store in the last three days!), I'm sure it won't take long for me to catch up.
These sausages are simple and satisfying. And easy, which is exactly what I'm looking for in a Friday night meal. The potatoes simmer with the sausages in the braising liquid to soak in all the flavor, and in the end, the liquid is cooked down into a rich, thick sauce. There's beer involved, too, which -- let's face it -- is welcome any season of the year.
Beer-Braised Sausages with Warm Potato Salad
(from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds Italian sausages (original recipe calls for sweet, but I used hot)
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced into half moons
12 ounces pale ale beer (I used New Belgium Mighty Arrow)
1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes, halved
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper
In a large heavy pot, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add sausages and cook until brown on all sides, about 8 minutes. Add onion and cook until softened, about 7 minutes. Add beer, potatoes, and 2 cups of water; season with salt and pepper and press to submerge the potatoes in the cooking liquid. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to medium. Cook until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
Transfer the sausages to a serving platter and keep warm. In a large bowl, stir together 1 tablespoon oil, vinegar, and parsley. With a slotted spoon, transfer the potato and onion mixture to dressing, reserving cooking liquid, and toss to combine.
Return pot to high heat and boil cooking liquid until reduced to 1 cup, about 12 minutes. Return sausages to pot and cook until heated through, 2 minutes. Serve sausages with sauce drizzled over top and the remaining sauce on the side.
Makes 4 servings.
Calories per serving: 484