We actually liked everything we made this time! Take a moment to let that sink in.
I wasn’t expecting to like 3/4 of it, and very nearly skipped making the salad, but it’s true, this one is a winner, and it’s Martha’s simplest, least expensive meal (it helped that we had some of the ingredients already). Of course, some of it doesn’t go together very well, but that is but a small trifle. At least it all tasted good. Hallelujah.
Meal No. 12: Italian Sausage with Red-Onion Gravy; Rosemary Yorkshire Puddings; Shredded Tuscan Kale Salad; Spiced Prunes in Red Wine
Schedule: Make pudding batter and let rest; cook prunes, shred kale and mix dressing; bake puddings, cook sausages and make gravy; add dressing and cheese to kale.
It should not surprise you that I am not that fond of Italian sausage due to the fennel seeds. I used turkey Italian sausage, made in a factory, because the local farms only seem to make pork Italian sausage. Speaking of local meat (and other food delights), I highly recommend joining this farm coop
Here is the recipe, adapted from M. Stewart’s Dinner at Home:
1 T extra virgin olive oil (I used a bit more, since I was using turkey sausage)
8 sweet Italian sausages (2 lbs total)
1 lb red onions, sliced 1/2″ thick
1 T flour
1 1/4 c chicken stock (low-sodium)
2 T red wine vinegar
Heat oil in a large skillet over med-high heat. Add sausages in a single layer and brown on one side, about 4 minutes. Turn sausages, then add onions, nestling them between the sausages. Cook until browned, then reduce heat to med-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until sausages are cooked through and onions are tender (8-10 minutes). Transfer sausages to a plate.
Raise heat to med-high, add flour to pan and cook, stirring, for one minute. Whisk in stock and bring to a simmer, then stir in vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.
This was quite tasty, and I had expected to hate it. The gravy helped disguise the what-I-consider-overwhelming fennel taste. The Husband said it reminded him of something he’d enjoy eating in a pub, with an ale.
Speaking of ale, we went to an English beer and cheese tasting class at Ellwood Thompson’s last night. I think the Samuel Smith organic ale or Oatmeal Stout would be amazing with this.
(No photo–the one I took with my camera phone looked really gross. It looked like sausage with onions on it. Sexy!)
I have never had Yorkshire pudding before, but these were quite easy to bake. I overcooked them a tad, I think. The rosemary flavor went quite well with the sausages and gravy, which we sopped up with the pudding. Again, pub food=yes! I could have fainted.
Since you have to make these to eat with the snausages, here is the recipe:
3/4 c all-purpose flour
1.5 t finely chopped rosemary
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 c milk
1 T olive or safflower oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Whisk together flour, 1/2 t salt, and rosemary in a medium bowl. Make a well in the center, and add eggs and half the milk. Use a fork to gradually combine ingredients, working from the middle out; continue until the flour is incorporated and batter is smooth and stiff. (Note, mine never became stiff). Stir in remaining milk, cover with plastic wrap, and lest rest 20 minutes.
Divide oil among 4 8-oz ramekins or custard cups, swirling to coat and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Heat in the oven until very hot, @ 5 minutes. Divide batter among ramekins and bake, rotating sheet halfway through, until batter is puffed and golden brown, 25-30 minutes. To unmold, run knife along the edges and underneath. Serve immediately.
The recipe called for Tuscan kale, but that didn’t look appealing at the store, so I got curly kale. I was reticent to make another bitter salad, and at first I was going to skip the salad after tasting a bit of the kale raw. But, when I went to put the cleaned kale away after we finished dessert, I decided to give the salad a go after all. The dressing involved mixing up 2 T of olive oil, a minced clove of garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and the juice of one lemon. The dressing sat for a while to blend, then I poured it over the kale; Parmesan cheese was then grated on top.
Wow! The lemon and the cheese totally transformed the kale, and it was refreshing and lemony, with a hint of bite from the garlic. We both ate a big plateful, even though we had already had the dessert. I had some of the left over dressed kale for lunch the next day, and it hadn’t gotten soggy. Well, done! I don’t know that it necessarily goes, flavor-wise, with the sausage and gravy (would be great with fish), however. At this point I was just so glad it wasn’t bitter that I didn’t even care.
Martha must not have gotten the memo that prunes don’t exist any more; they’ve been replaced by “dried plums.” Check out the dried fruit aisle–it’s true!
Of course this dessert involved floating some fruit in alcohol. Good Lord, woman, what won’t you drink for dessert?
This time we simmered prunes in a pan with some red wine (we had a tasty Cabernet Franc, from Loire, open so we used that, although she suggested a merlot or pinot noir), a cinnamon stick, cloves, and peppercorns. I don’t mind prunes, but I don’t go out of my way to eat them, ever, although The Husband buys giant bags at Costco. He is not 85, I swear. It just sounds like it most of the time.
They turned out quite nice! The prunes were soft and the liquid (which she warned not to reduce to a syrup) was very flavorful, like a mulled wine you might serve at the holidays. Too bad it was 65 and sunny when we ate it. Also, since the main course seemed like it would go really well with beer, I don’t think a wine-y dessert works well with it.
This was the most successful overall meal, even though the sausage wasn’t my favorite dish so far. For example, I liked the Hoisin chicken and ham sandwiches better, but those meals were handicapped by the desserts. Don’t get me wrong, I would make it again, especially on a week night. If you are a fan of Italian sausage you will really appreciate this dish, I think.
It took about an hour to cook, with minimal prep work.
Sausage and gravy: A
Rosemary Yorkshire Pudding: A
Kale Salad: A