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Monday, August 8, 2011

Home Sweet Home

(Johanne Killeen)
As I have mentioned in my blog, Charlie stayed at Carleton this summer to work for a professor.   I have also mentioned that, much to my surprise, he and his roommates have been cooking.  I still can't believe it, since when he was living at home, Charlie's kitchen prowess extended only as far as the microwave where he could heat up Stauffer's macaroni and cheese.

But Charlie has managed to feed himself this summer quite impressively so I have to be on my game now that he's returning.  I can't just throw a broiled chicken breast on the table and call it dinner for his first meal at home.  I need to make a good showing.

Now, I'm at a disadvantage because I am simply not in the cooking mood.  I mean that I am seriously not in the cooking mood to the point that a bowl of Frosted Flakes for dinner would be fine with me.  But, like many things in life, maybe if I pretend to be in the mood I'll actually end up in the mood.  So here goes.

Charlie loves sausages.  Perhaps that's because the natural accompaniment for sausages is  beer. Being both a college student and an accomplished beer pong player (yes, I'm so proud...), it only stands to reason that sausages would be a favorite.  Now, while I will not be serving my gourmet sausage dish on a dismantled dorm room door alongside a red Solo cup, I am sure it will be well received by my son.

This is not just any sausage dish.  This recipe for Roasted Sausages with Grapes is sausage at its best.  You can make it with any kind of Italian sausage you like -- chicken, turkey, pork -- but mix it up using half sweet and half spicy sausage.  I also mix the grapes so that half are green and half are red.  If you only have one color don't worry.  It all ends up a little brown anyway.

This recipe is easy too.  It takes just minutes to put together and looks very impressive when you bring it to the table.  It's very rustic and is so satisfying.  You can up the amounts and it would be a great dish for a crowd too.  And, having not cooked for my very tall son in several months, I had almost forgotten that cooking for him is almost the same as cooking for a crowd.

Recipe:  Roasted Sausages and Grapes
(Johanne Killeen)


1 1/2 pounds Italian hot sausage
1 1/2 pounds Italian sweet sausage
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 to 6 cups (2 pounds) red or green seedless grapes, stems removed
2 to 4 tablespoons dry red wine, preferably Chianti
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Fresh Foccaccia or Ciabatta bread, to serve


Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

Parboil the sausages in water to cover for 8 minutes to rid them of excess fat.

Melt the butter in a large heatproof roasting pan, add the grapes, and toss to coat. Over moderately high heat add the wine. Stir with a wooden spoon for a few minutes until the wine has reduced by half.

Using tongs, transfer the parboiled sausages to the roasting pan and push them down in the grapes so the sausages will not brown too quickly. Roast in the oven, turning the sausages once, until the grapes are soft and the sausages have browned, 20 to 25 minutes.

Place the roasting pan on top of the stove over a medium-high heat and add the balsamic vinegar. Scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the roasting pan, and allow the vinegar and juices to reduce until they are thick and syrupy. With a slotted spoon, transfer the sausages and grapes to a serving platter.

Pour the sauce over the sausages and grapes and serve immediately, accompanied with fresh bread.

This recipe was provided by professional chefs and has been scaled down from a bulk recipe provided by a restaurant. The Food Network Kitchens chefs have not tested this recipe, in the proportions indicated, and therefore, we cannot make any representation as to the results.

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