Hard-Cider Soaked Apple-Sage Sausages
If you can't find the pre-packaged "gourmet" sausages, use a sweet Italian sausage and add chunks of apples (about 2 apples) and 4 to 5 fresh sage leaves to the simmering liquid. Serve with frosty mugs of hard apple cider and homemade hash browns.
Start to finish: 45 minutes. Serves 8.
AP Photo - - Hard-Cider Soaked Apple-Sage Sausages take front and center in a sandwich featuring apple slaw.
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 to 4 large sweet onions, sliced
8 uncooked apple-sage chicken sausages
Two to three 12-ounce bottles hard apple cider (regular apple cider also can be used)
8 hard or French rolls, warmed
Spicy honey mustard or German mustard
Apple-fennel sauerkraut (see recipe below)
In a large stockpot over medium-high, heat the oil. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium then continue to cook until fully caramelized, about 20 minutes. If the onions dry out too much, add several teaspoons of water.
Meanwhile, heat a gas grill to medium or prepare a charcoal fire.
Place the sausages directly on the cooking grate and grill over indirect heat for 15 to 20 minutes, turning occasionally to brown all over. Alternatively, you can pan fry the sausages.
If you are serving the sausages the next day, let them cool to room temperature and cover before refrigerating overnight. Otherwise, pour the cider into a large stockpot. Add the sausages, making sure they are covered.
Bring the cider up to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat. Simmer over a medium-low heat for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the sausages have been flavored by the hot cider.
Place the sausages in the warm rolls, spread with mustard and top with caramelized onions and sauerkraut.
Apple Fennel Sauerkraut
Start to finish: 1 hour. Serves 10.
1 large fennel bulb
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large Vidalia onion, chopped
5 Granny Smith apples, grated
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 to 1 cup hard (or regular) apple cider
2 tablespoons caraway seeds
Ground black pepper
Trim off the frilly top of the fennel bulb, then finely chop it and set aside. Slice the fennel bulb itself into long strips (julienne).
In a large heavy-bottomed sauce-pan over medium, heat the oil. Add the onion and several pinches of salt. Cook until the onion begins to brown. Add the fennel strips, stir and cook, covered, for about 5 minutes, or until the fennel begins to wilt. Reduce the heat to medium-low.
Meanwhile, in a bowl mix the grated apple with the lemon juice, then add it to the pan. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Add the butter, mixing well. Add the cider, reserved fennel tops and caraway seeds. Cook for an additional 10 minutes, uncovered, or until the mixture is soft and cooked down. If it needs more liquid, add more cider. It will look like sauerkraut. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to allow the flavors to blend. The sauerkraut can be made up to 2 days in advance and kept covered in the refrigerator until ready to use. Warm just before serving.