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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Roasted Italian Sausage And Grapes

Tuscan Style Roasted Sausage And Grapes (19)

A classic Italian combination is a slice of meat paired with fruit like prosciutto with melon or even figs. Roasted Italian Sausage And Grapes (seedless green, red, or both) is a roller coaster for your taste buds combining flavors and textures.

Seedless green or red grapes, when in season, are bursting with sweetness.

This dish is usually served with a loaf of crusty bread for dipping. I’m changing up the traditional Roasted Italian Sausage And Grapes. I’m going to be adding potatoes, a perfect accompaniment to this dish, a complete one-pot meal. Potatoes were a huge part of my mom’s recipes. I suppose this is where my English influence comes into play.  I’m not stopping there, for some added color and flavor, roasted sweet bell peppers, YUM!

There are a couple of different ways you can make this dish, you can choose to use half hot and half sweet Italian pork sausage, that’s traditional. You could even substitute Italian style turkey sausage or Italian style chicken sausage. I’m going to use a leaner and less fatty option, mild Italian chicken sausage for this recipe.

If you’ve never tried roasting grapes, well… you don’t know what you’re missing. They add amazing sweetness to this dish. A perfect harmony of savory and sweet flavors. Let’s get started.

Tuscan Style Roasted Sausage And Grapes (20)

Tuscan Style Roasted Sausage And Grapes (1)

You can see above how much leaner the Italian chicken sausage is from the traditional Italian pork sausage.

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Tuscan Style Roasted Sausage And Grapes (19)

Tuscan Style Roasted Sausage And Grapes (18)

Tuscan Style Roasted Sausage And Grapes (20)

Tuscan Style Roasted Sausage And Grapes (1)

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Yields: 4-6 servings
Equipment: large 11 x 13 baking dish

Ingredients:
2-packages (10 links) Italian chicken sausage (substitute 1/2 hot and 1/2 sweet, Italian pork sausage, or Italian style turkey sausage)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 2-pound bag petite red potatoes, cut in half
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 yellow bell pepper, julienned
6 cups of seedless green grapes, halved
1 sweet onion, sliced thin
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoon dry Chianti (red wine)
1 quart plus a 1/4 cup unsalted chicken broth
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
2 teaspoons of freshly cracked black pepper
3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, plus 4-6 sprigs for individual servings, to garnish

Balsamic Glaze:
1/4 cup good balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup pan juices

Directions:
Note: Cooking Times may vary slightly. If any or a few of the potatoes are larger than most, cut the larger ones into quarters. The potatoes need to be similar in size.
First, slice the potatoes in half.
Add the halved potatoes into a large pot, cover the potatoes with cold water. On medium-high heat. Bring the potatoes up to a boil. Continue boiling the potatoes for 12-15 minutes, or until just fork tender. They’ll finish cooking in the oven.

Note: Cooking times may vary slightly.
Using a fork prick each of the sausage links 3 times on each side. Pour 1 quart of unsalted chicken broth into a large sauce pot, similar to the one in the picture above. Place the 10 sausage links into the pot (make sure the liquid covers the sausage links, add water if needed), turn the heat to medium, and cover. Parboil the sausages until grey throughout, about 12-15 minutes.

The parboiled sausages and potatoes should be done around the same time.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
While the potatoes and sausages are on the stove being parboiled, prep the grapes, peppers, onion, and garlic placing them into a large mixing bowl. Add  1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, and 1/4 cup of olive oil, tossing to coat with oil and seasoning.

Next, using tongs, transfer the sausage links to a plate lined with paper towel. Drain the potatoes and transfer them back into the same pot. This will allow (because the pot is still very hot) any excess water to evaporate from the potatoes. Set the pot aside for a minute. Once the potatoes are free of any excess water, move onto the next step.

Place the potatoes into the baking dish first. Add 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, and 1/4 cup of olive oil, toss to coat all the potatoes. Add the grapes, peppers, onions, and garlic mixture to the baking dish. Using a pair of tongs, place the Italian chicken sausage links on top. Pour the chicken stock and red wine all over the top. Finally, place the 3 sprigs of rosemary on top.

Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Turning the sausage links halfway through the cooking process. This allows for both sides to brown really well.

Remove the baking dish from the oven. Remove the rosemary sprigs. Using a ladle remove 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid from the bottom of the baking dish. Cover the baking dish to keep everything warm.

Directions For Balsamic Glaze:
Using a ladle, remove the cooking liquid from the bottom of the baking dish to a measuring cup. In a small sauce pot, pour in the cooking liquid. Next, add the balsamic vinegar. Turn heat to medium-high, whisking occasionally, cook allowing the vinegar and juices to reduce and become thick and syrupy around 5 minutes.

Pour the Balsamic Glaze over the sausages and grapes. Garnish with fresh rosemary sprigs.

To serve:
Bring the baking dish right to the table Set on a using a trivet. Serve hot and family style.

 

 

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Balsamic, Cilantro-Lime, And Lemon Vinaigrettes

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I used to think there was no way I could ever make my own dressing. I learned that’s so not true. Watching cooking shows and reading cookbooks taught me how easy to make your own vinaigrette. I thought I’d share my three favorites with you, Balsamic, Cilantro-Lime, and Lemon Vinaigrette.

I mix all the ingredients for the Balsamic and the Lemon, right in their own 8-ounce jelly jar. The Cilantro-Lime takes an additional step of first processing the cilantro leaves. It’s simpler, for this vinaigrette, to be made in the food processor and then transferred to a jelly jar.

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Agave Nectar, Honey, and Granulated Sugar.jpg

Agave nectar, honey, or granulated sugar are a few of the sweeteners you can use when making your own vinaigrettes.

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Yields 8 to 10 ounces of vinaigrette
Equipment: Food processor, blender, or an immersion blender, four 8-ounce jelly jars, small bowl

1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice (3 juicy lemons)

Ingredients For Balsamic Vinaigrette:
Yields: 8 ounces
2 tablespoons of finely chopped shallot
1 tablespoon of freshly grated garlic
1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard (substitute spicy mustard)
1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon of Agave nectar (substitute honey)
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup of good balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup of *E.V.O.O.
1 tablespoon of freshly chopped Italian flat leaf parsley (optional)

Ingredients For Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette:
Yields: 10 ounces of vinaigrette
1 cup of fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 tablespoon of garlic, freshly grated
2 tablespoons of shallots, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons of Agave nectar (substitute granulated sugar)
1/4 cup of low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
1/4 cup of fresh lime juice
1 cup of *E.V.O.O.

Ingredients For Lemon Vinaigrette:
Yields: 8 ounces of the vinaigrette
2 tablespoons of shallot, minced ( optional)
1 tablespoon of garlic, freshly grated (optional)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
2 tablespoons of Agave nectar
1/2 cup of *E.V.O.O.

Directions:
Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette:
Start by placing cilantro leaves into a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add 2 tablespoons of *E.V.O.O. (the remaining olive oil will be added through the feeding tube) and pulse the leaves until they’re finely minced. Remove the processed cilantro and transfer to a small bowl. Back in the food processor add the ginger, garlic, shallots, fresh lime juice, Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, cayenne pepper, Agave, and low sodium soy sauce. Pulse all the ingredients just enough to combine everything. Once combined, add the processed cilantro leaves back into the food processor. Place the lid and feeding tube on. Turn the processor to the ON position and slowly add the remaining *E.V.O.O. through the feeding tube until combined. Remove the lid, add the red wine vinegar and using a spatula, stir once. This recipe yields 10 ounces of vinaigrette so you’ll need 2 jars. Transfer the vinaigrette to the jars, place the lids on tight and give a good couple of shakes to combine everything.

Balsamic And Lemon Vinaigrette:
Add all the ingredients for both of the vinaigrettes into their 8-ounce jelly jars. Finish with the *E.V.O.O. Place the lids tightly on the jars and shake really well.

Note:
The Balsamic and Lemon Vinaigrettes I add all of the ingredients to the jar, finishing up, by adding, really good extra virgin olive oil. I prefer my vinaigrette to be one part acid to two parts oil. Give the jars a really good shake.
Note:
Place the dressing in the bottom of the bowl first. Right before serving the salad, add the lettuce/greens and toss.
Note:
It’s important to wash and then dry the leaves really well so the dressing will adhere to the leaves.

*E.V.O.O. is extra virgin olive oil.

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Grilled Chicken Caprese Tarts

Grilled Chicken Caprese Tarts

 

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My Grilled Chicken Caprese Tarts were inspired by remembering my grandmother’s Caprese salad. She used tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, and a little balsamic vinegar. I thought I’m going to take that idea a step further.

I’ve found the grocery store offers a lot of great products that make life in the kitchen easy and fun. Puff Pastry is definitely one of those items that’s a staple in my house. Puff Pastry is available in the frozen section of the grocery store. If you plan on using Puff Pastry for any recipe, transfer the box to the refrigerator the night before. The dough needs to stay cold until your ready to use it. All you need to do after that is to follow the directions on the box.

Grilled Chicken Caprese Tarts

Yields: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Equipment: 6-inch plate, rolling pin, 2 rimmed baking sheet pans, indoor grill pan

Ingredients:
1 package (using 1 sheet) of Puff Pastry, cut into 4 6-inch circles, 1/4-inch thick
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, *butterflied (Yields 4 chicken breast cutlets)
3 vine ripe tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1/2 a red onion, thinly sliced into half moons
1 cup of fresh basil leaves
4 tablespoons of your favorite store-bought fresh-made basil pesto (usually found in the refrigerated section)
1 8-ounce package of fresh mozzarella, sliced 1/4-inch thick
8 tablespoons of good olive oil
2 tablespoons of kosher salt, to season the tarts
2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper, to season the tarts
a good balsamic vinegar, to drizzle before serving (optional)

Directions:
Preheat oven 400-degrees F.

Directions For Chicken:
Preheat an indoor grill pan on high heat for 2-3 minutes.
To start, *butterfly the two chicken breasts. Lay the 4 chicken breasts out onto a plastic cutting board.

Pat with a paper towel all four chicken breast cutlets completely dry. drizzle both sides with olive oil and season with Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste.  Reduce the heat to medium-high heat. Place the chicken on the indoor grill pan in a single layer and spaced out (depending on the number of chicken breasts you’re cooking), depending on the surface area of your grill pan.

Grill 4 minutes per side. Test if the chicken breasts are done using an instant-read thermometer. Internal temperature needs to read 165-degrees F. Transfer the chicken to a clean serving plate, cover with foil to stay warm.

Line 2 rimmed baking sheet pans with parchment paper.
While your chicken is grilling, dust a flat surface with all-purpose flour. Roll out one sheet of Puff Pastry to a 1/4-inch thick. Using a 6-inch plate and a paring knife, cut out 4 circles.  Place two circles of pastry on each sheet pan.

Using the paring knife again, score a margin a 1/4-inch from the outside of each circle. This will allow the outside of the circles to puff up slightly and give a tart-like look to the pastry. Take a fork and prick the inside of the circles. This will allow steam to escape and the center of the pastry circles will lay flat.

Arrange the tomatoes, sliced red onion, and mozzarella slices in the center of each tart. Sprinkle Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper over each tart. Drizzle each tart with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Brush the outer rims with *egg wash.

Follow the cooking instructions on the Puff Pastry box. Usually bakes for 15 minutes. While tarts are baking, slice the chicken on the bias. Transfer the sliced chicken to a mixing bowl. Add the basil pesto and toss to combine.

Once the tarts come out of the oven, add the pesto marinated sliced chicken evenly divided over the top of each tart. The heat of the tarts will warm up the basil and it will smell so good.  Finally, a few freshly torn basil leaves over the top.

This recipe could easily be a vegetarian dish.
Serve hot.

*Egg Wash: 1 beaten egg whisked together with one tablespoon of water or milk.

*Butterfly Chicken Breasts. Place the chicken breast on a plastic cutting board and, with your hand flat on top of it, use a sharp knife to slice into one side of the breast, starting at the thicker end and ending at the thin point. Open out the breast so it resembles a butterfly. Where the breast meets at the center, (open book-like piece of chicken), slice down the center giving you two equal breast pieces, 1/2-inch thick.

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